The Making of Ribbonwork Flowers

The Making of Ribbonwork Flowers

Posted by Christen Brown on Jun 15th 2015

I am thrilled to present my new book  Ribbonwork Flowers, where I will show you how to create 132 flowers, leaves, and garden extras. A few of the techniques are basics that you may already know, a few are revised versions of vintage techniques, and others are techniques that I have developed over the many years from playing in my room.

I have been working with ribbons, trims, buttons, beads, and threads for as long as I can remember. I am often asked where I found this ribbon or that, and usually I know exactly where that special treasure came from. For instance, many of the ribbons that were included in the Red and White Vase were purchased at a local craft shop. However, the white grosgrain ribbon that was used for the Flip ‘N Fold flowers in the center of the bouquet came wrapped around a box of bath soaps that was a gift from my daughter.

Often I will combine a variety of textures and types of ribbon in a project. I feel that this gives the piece some character and dimension. In the Strawberry Scissor Fob and Red Rosette Pincushion, I wanted a design that looked vintage, and would compliment the pair of antique scissors my dad had given me. I used rayon velvet ribbon for the rosette and pincushion; picot-edge taffeta ribbon for the leaves; double- and single-sided satin ribbons for the strawberries; and a jacquard ribbon for the rosettes with stamens.

I often pair vintage with new: items that I have collected at thrift stores or garage sales with contemporary components that can be found in retail stores. In Geisha Delight, I gathered together a length of black silk velvet ribbon that came off of a hat that I found at a garage sale; a length of red silk satin ribbon I found at an antique mall; and a bit of sage green satin ribbon that I found at a thrift store. I paired these with the newer jacquard, taffeta, double-sided satin, and cotton grosgrain ribbons. I often include vintage buttons in my work, and here you will find French glass and crochet buttons with vintage stamens. I also like to use unusual components for the vases–note the handle from an old sterling knife.

Color and themes are also an important part of creating for me; I start a project by collecting components that are similar in color and shape. In Mariposa Fall, I started with the vintage celluloid and Bakelite mustard- and brick-colored buttons. I gathered ribbons from here and there, some old, some new, and even used some of my own hand-dyed ribbons. I used silk bias ribbon for the pansies and amaryllis; vintage grosgrain and new double-sided satin ribbon for the rosettes; hand-dyed silk satin ribbon for the roses; and jacquard and hand-dyed silk bias ribbon for the leaves. I also included a collection of butterflies that began with the center pin that was a gift from my friend Gail.

When I create a design, I like to include unexpected items, such as the vintage scissors and wooden spools that form the base for the wreath in Spools and Tools. The patterned ribbons, the vintage celluloid buttons, and the tin butterflies also give the piece some character. Though not easily seen, the four sections of flowers in the middle of the wreath are actually “planted” into vintage plastic thimbles.

Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to share the background, thoughts, beginnings, and endings of some of the gallery pieces that you will find in Ribbonwork Flowers. I hope you will find inspiration for your own creations and I wish you many years of joy working with ribbon.

Happy Stitching!






FYI: You can purchase Ribbonwork Flowers here!