Creating and Using Edge Dyed Ribbons

Stephanie Novatski 2004

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 There are many different ribbons available today for Silk Ribbon Embroidery. Widths from 2 mm up to 24 mm and wider are available, the most common being 2mm, 4mm, 7 mm, and 13 mm. Colors range from solid, variegated, over-dyed, space dyed, painted and edged dyed. Other ribbons are available with wire edge, picot edge, bias cut, and edge dyed. With all these listed, I am sure I missed a few too! The same flower done in different ribbons can give it an entirely different look. One of my favorite types of ribbon to use are edge dyed.

Edge dyed ribbons can be purchased in a wide range of colors and effects. If you don't want to buy or can't find the colors you need, you can very easily make your own. There are a variety of products readily available to make this quick and easy to do. Depending on the technique you use, you can also achieve different effects. I experimented using various permanent markers, dye pens, crayons, and liquid dyes on wet and dry ribbons. I used these tools to achieve a red edge on a yellow ribbon. The ribbon used was some I dyed myself and was 13mm wide.

First I used a red Sharpie Marker on dry and wet ribbon. It made a very sharp edge on the dry and did run or blend a little on the wet ribbon (examples 1 and 2). Second I used a dye stick on dry ribbon which gave a softer color, although the raised edge of the ribbon picked up more color making it distinct. Third was a pigment pen used in scrapbooking on dry ribbon. It was a very pale color and the effect was a slight shading along the edge. It wouldn't write on wet ribbon. Fourth I used a Fabric Marker on both dry and wet ribbons. The effect was similar to the Sharpie, but the edge was not quite as distinct. Fifth was a standard wax crayon. The dye stick and crayon had to be set and ironed between paper towels. Sixth I used liquid dye and a fine brush on dry and wet ribbon.

The edge treatment can be applied to one or both sides of the ribbon. Following is a chart of some examples showing the different effects using the ribbons. Samples 1 and 2 are rolled ribbon roses, Samples 3 are 5 petal posies, the first with the colored edge in the center, the center has the colored edge on the outside, Samples 4 are gathered 1/3 of the ribbon width from the edge with the colored edge first in the center, second on the outside, Samples 5 and 6 are done by folding the ribbon 1/3 and gathering along the folded edge, Sample 6 is following the steps for the camellia, Sample 7 is a French Knot roses.

I hope my experimentation will encourage you to try some yourself! I only used 13 mm ribbon. Imagine what you use 4 mm or 7 mm and use different surface stitches, such as Japanese ribbon stitch and Lazy Daisy! If you do, please share your results with us!

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