Ribbon Weaving Can Create Your Own Fabric

Ribbon weaving example

The Spruce Crafts / Debbie Colgrove

Ribbon weaving is a popular way to embellish and add color to areas of a garment. Pockets and vest yokes are small areas that are often embellished with ribbon weaving. The procedure is similar to the loom potholders, so many of us are familiar with. Appliques can be embellished with pieces of ribbon weaving. This apple basket applique is done with strips of fabric but could also be done with ribbons instead of fabric.


  1. To start the process, find a piece of fabric such as the fabric for the item or muslin fabric that is a bit larger than the size of the area you need to back your ribbon weaving. Preshrink the fabric before you begin, so it remains flat when the project is complete.
  2. Attach lengths of ribbon that are a bit longer than the fabric, to two edges of your fabric by basting them in place. Butt the edges of the ribbon next to each other, to prevent gaps in your design. There are no rules. Mix colors, repeat a color pattern or vary your ribbon sizes, for various finished results. The possibilities are endless.
  3. Get a smooth finish and keep the ribbon flat, by pinning the piece to a semi-firm surface. You can even pin the fabric to a flat pillow to work on while you watch TV!
  4. Weave the ribbon in and out, over and under, starting at the corner where they are attached. Work through all the ribbons. Baste the other two edges to hold the ribbon in place.
  5. Trace the edges of your pattern piece on to the back of the base fabric. When you need a left and right piece, remember to turn the pattern piece over, so you don't end up with two left or two right pieces.
  6. Machine baste just inside the outline of the pattern to hold the ribbon.
  7. Cut out the pattern piece and continue making your garment according to your pattern directions.

Note: To hold your ribbon securely to your fabric, apply fusible web to your fabric before you attach and weave the ribbons. Once you are done weaving, press the finished weaving so it will be fused to the fabric. Since most ribbon is made with synthetic fibers, press from the wrong side of the fabric or use a press cloth to protect the ribbons. If you are making a fusible applique, apply fusible web to both sides of the fabric and maintain the paper backing to prevent ironing the fabric to your ironing board.

Use Your Imagination

Use ribbon weaving to create pillow tops, curtain tie backs and more. Sewing your own home decorating and clothing are just the tip of the iceberg for the many sewing projects that you can add ribbon weaving to individualize your sewing projects. Imagine bags and pocketbooks with special pockets made by weaving ribbon. Ribbon weaving is a great way to bring in just a touch of color, a splash of color and add texture at the same time.