Ribbon Flowers

Ribbon Flowers

Crafting Time:
  • Varies
Skill Level:
  • Intermediate
Project Courtesy of: Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores
Print Project Description Download Project PDF Add to Project List

Additional Information



  • Crinoline
  • Needles
  • Ribbons
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Stamens
  • Thread
  • Thread-covered wire
  • Wire cutters



  1. During the 1920s, ribbons were often used to make flowers for ball gowns, boxes, hats and many other beautiful items. The ribbon can be gathered, ruched, pleated or embroidered for flower trimmings. To make petals and leaves for ribbonwork, you need to know only two stitches—the backstitch and the running stitch. The beginning and ending stitches are always backstitched, and gathering is done with running stitches. All the petals and leaves are individually stitched. The assembly of the petals into flowers is also done with stitching; in some cases you can use hotmelt adhesive for this process.
  2. Getting Started (refer to PDF):
  3. Folded Rose -- Photos A and B
  4. Photo A-1: For the rose center, fold down the right end of the ribbon.
  5. Photo A-2: Fold this end across itself.
  6. Photo A-3: Roll the ribbon into a cylinder (forming the flower center) and secure with stitches.
  7. Photo B-4: Fold the ribbon down on the right end so that the cylinder is horizontal and a 45-degree angle is created at the fold.
  8. Photo B-5: Fold the flower center down as shown.
  9. Photo B-6: Roll the cylinder until the ribbon on the left becomes straight again. Secure with stitches.
  10. Photo B-7: Repeat the folding and rolling steps until the rose is the desired size.
  11. Photo B-8: Stitch the raw edge into the base of the rose. Note: For a bud, roll only once or twice.
  12. Coiled Ribbon Rose -- Photos C, D, and E:
  13. Photo C: If the ribbon is wired, remove the wire at the bottom edge by gently pulling it out. Add a running stitch from the upper edge down and across the bottom. Make a ribbon center by referring to the steps for folding a ribbon to make a rose.
  14. Photo D: Gather the remaining length of ribbon and secure the gathering with stitches.
  15. Photo E: Coil the ribbon on itself until all the ribbon is coiled. Stitch the end of the ribbon into the base of the rose.
  16. U-Gathers for Petals -- Photo F:
  17. Photo F-1: A single U-gather makes a petal for a poppy or a tea rose. If the ribbon has wire in the edges, remove the bottom edge wire. Stitch the pattern as shown, using a simple running stitch. Gather the ribbon tightly to form a petal shape. Secure the gathering with stitches.
  18. Photo F-2 and F-3: For multiple petals, divide the ribbon equally and create the appropriate number of U-gathers as shown. Use 4- and 5-petal U-gathers for roses. Roll a coiled flower center or use stamens. Stitch the gathered petals around the rose center.
  19. U-Petal Pansies -- Photo G:
  20. Photo G-1: Make one two-petal U-gather for the back two petals of a pansy. If the ribbon has wire in the edges, remove the bottom edge wire. Divide the ribbon into two equal sections with a crease. Stitch the two-petal pattern as shown. Gather tightly; secure the gathering with stitches and sew the petals to a small piece of crinoline fabric.
  21. Photo G-2: Make a three-petal U-gather for the front three petals of a violet. Remove the wire from the bottom edge; divide the ribbon into three sections with creases. Stitch the three-petal pattern and gather tightly. Secure the gathering with stitches. Join the first and last petal together at the gathering line. Stitch the three-petal clusters to the two petals attached to the fabric. Add a bead for the flower center.
  22. Dipped Corner Petal -- Photo H:
  23. Photo H-1: Fold the ribbon in half and take a few stitches at the edges as shown.
  24. Photo H-2: Turn the ribbon inside out and keep the corners tucked in.
  25. Photo H-3: Pleat the bottom of the petal and secure it with stitches.
  26. Note: This ribbon example is used for the tea roses.
  27. Stamens -- Photo I:
  28. Photo I-1: Wrap purchased stamens with thread or wire. Fold them in half and secure with thread-covered wire.
  29. Photo I-2: Attach to the flower petal with stitches or glue.
  30. Tent Leaves -- Photo J:
  31. Tent leaves are basic ribbon leaves. Use them for any type of flower.
  32. Photo J-1: Use 3 inches of 11/2-inch-wide wired ribbon to make one leaf. If the ribbon is wired, remove the wire on the bottom edge.
  33. Photo J-2: Fold down the ribbon on one side. Fold down the opposite side of the ribbon. Sew across the base of the triangle, catching all the layers of ribbon in the stitching.
  34. Photo J-3: Pull the gathering stitches tight; then wrap the thread around the base of the leaf and secure with stitches.
  35. Note: If stemming the leaf, glue a 3-inch piece of wire to the inside of the base before wrapping the thread around the leaf base. Wrap the wire with floral tape.
  36. Boat Leaves -- Photo K:
  37. Boat leaves are so named for the shape of the stitch pattern. Use these leaves with any flower.
  38. Photo K-1: Use 5 inches of 1-inch-wide wired ribbon to make one leaf. Remember to remove the wire on the bottom edge. Fold the ribbon in half.
  39. Photo K-2: Fold up the bottom corners of the ribbon to form a boat shape. Stitch the ribbon as shown.
  40. Photo K-3: Gently pull the gathering thread until the boat shape disappears. Open the leaf and adjust the gathering to the desired shape. Secure the leaf with stitches. Trim the ribbon tabs at the back of the leaf and crimp the edges, if desired.