How to Make a Punchneedle Ribbon Flower Pin

Allison Aller © 2010

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These flower pins can combine lots of different fibers, not just ribbon, so gather a nice selection for your flower. You won't need more than three yards of each. I've found that the finer fibers, such as floss, or even doubled up metallic sewing thread, logically belong in the flower's center, with gradually increasing widths of ribbon forming concentric circles from the center outwards. Ribbon sizes of 4mm, 7mm, and 13mm work well.

To accommodate these different sized fibers, I use differently sized punchneedles. You can purchase a needle punch with interchangeable needles that will handle all but the 13mm ribbon. For that you will need one specially manufactured for this very purpose (see Sources, below).

For the leaves there are many options: you can use vintage millinery leaves, large bead leaves, or create your own with fabric that you can embroider. I love to use wool felt for this.

So let's get started!

You will need:

For the Flower:

  • 4" hoop, for holding the punch fabric very taut
  • 1.0mm crochet hook
  • 7" X 7" piece of Weaver's cloth, linen, or other fabric with a distinct weave
  • Punchneedle with small, medium, and large needle tips
  • 3 yards (or so) each fine and medium width fibers; 4mm, 7mm, and 13mm ribbon (you will need the Dancing Needle if using 13mm ribbon)

For the Leaves:

  • Six 4" X 4" squares of wool felt
  • Two 7" lengths of thin floral wire, for shaping leaves
  • Embroidery supplies of your choice

For Constructing the Pin:

  • (2) 2 1/2" squares of Timtex or other stiff interfacing
  • Pin Back
  • E6000 glue
  • Strong thread
  • 4" square ultrasuede

Directions for Assembly: 

Make the Flower:

1. Gather your fibers, ribbons, punchneedles, hoop and punching fabric.

Punchneedle flower supplies.

2. Place punching fabric in hoop, and secure it as tightly as you can.

3. Thread your punchneedle, according to instructions that come with it.

A small punch needle threaded with quilting and machine metallic threads.

4. Flower Center: Adjust your punchneedle to the length of loop that you wish, (the longer the needle, the longer the loop) and begin punching the center of your flower. Some like to outline circle shape of the center area first, and then fill it in with their punchwork, others begin in the center and punch outward in a spiral. Fill in any gaps with extra punching. When your flower center is dense enough, clip off threads. Switch needles if necessary to accommodate six strand floss for the next circle of your flower center. If you have any trouble threading the needle, move up to a larger one. This will enable the floss to travel freely through the punchneedle. Punch around the circle two times with the floss.

The floss is punched into place.

5. Using the thickest fiber, punch around the circle just once.

I used Kreinik unspun "Soie Noppee" thread for this. Lots of knitting yarns could work as well.

6. Now for the ribbon! I am threading two colors of 4mm in my punchneedle at the same time, using the largest needle, but you only need to use one at a time if you prefer. Punch around the circle twice.

Tip: It is a good idea to hold the ribbon loops out of the way with the hand you use to hold the hoop as you punch. You don't want to be stabbing through any of the loops you've already made, but watch your fingers. You don't want to stab them either!

Two colors of 4mm silk ribbon were punched together in a single row around the circle.

7. Thread punchneedle with the 7mm ribbon, and punch around the circle two times. Adjust the needle to a longer loop, if desired.

A single row of 7mm silk ribbon has been added.

8. If using 13mm silk ribbon, switch to the Dancing Needle, and adjust needle length to make slightly longer loops than those formed by the 7mm ribbon. This wide ribbon needs to be "unfolded" once it has been punched. Just carefully open up each loop with your fingers. If any of your loops come out, insert the crochet hook through the punchfabric where your "oversized" loop is from the back. Catch the ribbon in the hook, and pull to the back again. This will reform the loop to its proper size.

Tip: You can rotary cut 1/2'' strips of very lightweight silk to use instead of the 13mm ribbon. There will be some fraying, but not that much. It's a cheaper way to go, for sure.

The back of the completed punched ribbon flower.

The front of the completed flower.

9. Cut away the excess foundation fabric, leaving 1/2" of fabric completely around the punched flower.

Make the Leaves:

1. Trace around each template twice so that you have the top and bottom of a large and a small leaf.

Leaf templates.

2. I find it easiest to embroider my leaves on the wool felt before I cut them out. After you've completed your embroidery, cut out your leaves, leaving about 1/8" outside your stitching.

3. Shape floral wire to fit inside the leaf and couch into place on the back of the top leaf.

Cut out embroidered leaves with wire shaped and couched to the back.

4. Pin leaf top and bottom together, and Buttonhole Stitch around the perimeter of the leaf in 2-ply floss.

Construct the Flower Pin:

1. Cut two round pieces of Timtex the diameter of the punchwork on your fabric. Glue a pinback to the center of one of them.

2. Place the other Timtex circle against the back of your flower. Run a line of gathering stitches 1/4'' inside the perimeter of the punched fabric, and pull it tightly around the Timtex.

The punchneedle fabric has been gathered around the Timtex on the back of the flower, and the pinback is glued to the second Timtex circle.

3. Mark ultrasuede and make slits so that it may fit over the pin back. Smear some glue on the ultrasuede and fit it over the pinback onto the Timtex.

The ultrasuede is glued in place.

4. Run a gathering stitch 1/8" inside the perimeter of the ultrasuede with strong thread. Pull thread to gather the ultrasuede snugly against the Timtex.

5. Pin your leaves to the gathered back of the flower, and sew in place.

The leaves are sewn into place on the back of the flower.

6. Now sew the pin back to the back of the flower, Whipstitching around the edges. Be careful not to catch any of the ribbon loops as you do this.

Stitching the pin back to the back of the flower.

7. Your pin is finished! Shape the leaves to give them a slight curve...then wear and enjoy!

The finished pin.

Some other punched flowers and leaf options. The white flower uses 1/2" strips of silk habotai instead of ribbon in the outside and widest row. The orange leaves are vintage Lucite.

This 18'"X 18" piece has several needlepunched ribbon flowers appliquéd onto it.

There are many ways to use these versatile flowers. I hope you'll give them a try.


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