Ribbon Embroidered Floral Bouquet

© 2000 Janet R. Stauffacher of Vintage Vogue

Contact her at vintage01@earthlink.net

These instructions for an easily embroidered floral bouquet.

This is my signature look in silk ribbon embroidery.  I use this bouquet for a lot of things; on vests and jackets or on a crazy quilt block.  It's very easy to embroider.  The directions are below.

You'll need:  Silk buttonhole twist or another embroidery thread for the vine and leaves, 4mm silk embroidery ribbon for the flowers and leaves, 7mm silk embroidery ribbon for the flowers and leaves, 11/0 seed beads to accent the bouquet, size O Nymo™ bead thread, size 7 embroidery needles for the buttonhole twist or embroidery thread, size 22 chenille needles for the ribbon and size 9 milliner's needles for the beads.

Let's start with the general instructions...


A few basic embroidery stitches...

Begin by embroidering a vine with buttonhole twist or embroidery thread using a feather stitch.  Make rolled roses out of both 4mm and 7mm silk ribbon.  I always use solid ribbons for the roses.  I've found that the roses sometimes just look like blobs when they're made with variegated ribbon.  Sew the roses down with one strand of bead thread.

Embroider one lazy daisy stitch with the buttonhole twist or embroidery thread on either side of each feather stitch.  Sew one seed bead to the end of each feather stitch with a double strand of bead thread.  Sew through each bead twice to secure it.  If the beads are spaced more than 1" apart, knot off after each grouping of beads to secure them before moving to another area.

Using both 4mm and 7mm silk ribbon, embroider some leaves using the ribbon stitch.  I often use variegated ribbon here or  use at least two colors of green and sometimes I use more.  You need to look ahead in your mind's eye to place the leaves.  Imagine where you'll embroider the French knots to fill in the bouquet.

Using the same colors that were used for the roses, make some clusters of both large and small French knots and some Montano knots with 4mm ribbon throughout your bouquet.  This helps to unify the bouquet.  Make them larger near the center of the piece and smaller as you go out towards the edges.

Using a variegated ribbon, finish the piece by filling in around all the flowers again with both large and small French knots and some Montano knots.  Use a ribbon that has some of the colors that were used for the roses; but use one that also has some additional colors.  It will brighten up the bouquet if the ribbon is not all in one or two shades. 

Complete the bouquet by sewing a green seed bead at the base of each leaf. 

The four basic embroidery stitches that I use in my bouquets are the feather stitch, lazy daisy stitch, ribbon or Japanese stitch and French and Montano knots.


The feather stitch is used to make the background vine in the bouquet.  Begin by bring the needle up through the fabric, then pierce the fabric again with the needle to the right and a little below the other stitch.  Bring the needle out of the fabric again, this time moving down and back in between the two stitches.  Make sure the thread is under the needle.  You are making a V here with the thread.  Alternate the stitches to the left and right.  I vary the length and direction of the stitches; I don't want a uniform look here.

The lazy daisy stitch is used to make the leaves on the vine.  Bring the needle out of the fabric and then pierce the fabric again very close to the original stitch.  Bring the needle out of the fabric again a short distance away and wrap the thread under the needle.  Pull through.  Make a short tack stitch to complete the lazy daisy.  I vary the length and direction of these stitches also when I embroider them along the side of the feather stitch.

The ribbon or Japanese stitch is used to make the leaves in the bouquet.  Bring the needle out of the fabric, lay the ribbon flat on the fabric and then pierce the ribbon with the needle a short distance away.  The rule of thumb that I use is to pierce the ribbon about twice the width of the ribbon away.  This gives you a nice length and a good shape to your finished leaf.  As you begin to pull the ribbon through itself, pull gently while holding a pin or an awl for the ribbon to fold itself over smoothly.  Pull the pin away and then gently pull the ribbon through itself to create the curl at the edges.  DO NOT pull too tightly or the curl will disappear .

French and Montano knots are used to fill in the bouquet.  To make a French knot, begin by bringing the needle up through the fabric, wind the ribbon around the needle a few times and pierce the fabric again very close to where you

originally brought the needle out.  Pull gently and a knot will form.  The Montano knot is made in the same manner escept the ribbon is wrapped very loosely around the needle 3 to 8 times.  This will give you a fuller knot.

Making the rolled ribbon roses...

The sample shown here was made with a size 3 double-faced satin ribbon for easier viewing.  These roses can be made out of just about any size and type of ribbon, but you will find that using silk ribbon for the roses will result in a fuller, softer rose because of the way the silk ribbon with compress and gather as you sew it.


I don't cut the ribbon into pieces when I start.  I just work from one end of a piece of ribbon and cut the excess off when the flower is complete. 

Begin by folding down the right end of the ribbon diagonally.  Leave enough of the ribbon hanging down for a "tail" tto hold for the next steps.  This will give you something to hang onto as you're rolling and stitching.

Make the center of the flower by rolling

the diagonal fold to the left.  Whenyou've rolled the diagonal fold to the selvedge edge of the ribbon, take a few stitches to secure it using a milliner's needle and a single strand of bead thread.  The secret I've found for successful flowers is to roll and stitch and roll and stitch.  This secures your flower as you're making it.

The next step is to fold the ribbon to the back and down and then roll the center of the rose to the edge of the ribbon again.  Once again, take a few stitches to secure.  Do this as many times as necessary to make the center as large as you want.  Be sure to secure the center with a few stitches after each roll.  You can use this center as a bud or make a larger rose by finishing it with a ruffled edge.

When the center is complete, finish the flower by gathering some of the ribbon up around it.  I've found the easiest way to do this is to run a few stitches along the selvedge, gather up the ribbon and secure it with a few stitches.  Then run another short length of stitches, gather and secure.  Do this several times until the rose has the look that you want.  It's much easier to gather short lengths to the center than to try to gather 3" or 4" at one time while it's curling up and twisting.  To finish off the flower, when you get to the end of the gathers make your running stitches along one side of the selvedge and then curve the stitches up diagonally to the other side.  Cut the excess ribbon off about 1/4" away from the running stitches and then make the final gathers.  This will pull the raw edges under and towards the center of the flower.  Make the final stitches to secure the gathers and your flower is finished.

These other pieces were made using basically the same techniques but with just a few variations.  Click on any picture to see a larger view...


Jacket right lapel

Jacket left lapel

Jacket front




Tee shirt


Crazy quilt block


Jacket back

Jacket right front

Jacket left front


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