Ribbon Crafting

In Millinery Class #7 we worked on fabric roses, and were supposed to work on ribbon flowers in class #8, but we ran out of time.  Once a number of my hats were constructed, I kind of felt at a loss sometimes on how to embellish and decorate them, so I decided to do a little ‘research’ on ribbon work, to see if I couldn’t get inspired.


First off I found another blogger who loves ribbons; Kate O’Brien has a quick post with some great links.  That being said, I can’t imagine ordering ribbons online – I need to touch-and-feel things that are new to me.  (I could totally see myself ordering broadcloth or something though – something where I know what it will look and feel like, and where a slight colour discrepancy won’t really matter…)

She recommended the Artful Ribbon – now.. I’m not entirely eager to buy a book sight unseen either – especially about a subject like this, where it could be all fluff and pretty photos… OR could be really good useful instructions.  So, my first stop was the Calgary Public Library… hahaa, yes, they actually have this book in stock, so I placed a reserve and took a look when it came in.  My intention was that if it was super-useful I could purchase it, but unfortunately it wasn’t quite what I was looking for…

Linked to and from the source. Sorry if this link breaks in time! Click for source.

Kate O’Brien also mentioned being inspired by the ribbon on the House of Nines millinery designs.  They have an Etsy store  with gorgeous mini top hats, mini wellingtons, derby hats – all very Victorian-inspired but at the same time very modern.  Beautiful!  They also have a blog – click the link for the cockade-specific thread… and then go back and take a look at the blog in general!

Another Etsy seller of note for beautiful ribbon cockades (or Cocardes, which I guess is the French term) is Monsiuer Cocarde.  I especially love the swirly ones (I hesitate to name or link, because by the time anyone reads this, they’ll no doubt be sold out…).  The really nice part – he has some really clear, up-close photos so you can really get an idea of how much work goes into all of the pleating (not to mention the yards of ribbon required!)

Another (very) notable Etsy seller is Clytemnestra’s Closet – there are some amazing designs here – and it turns out I am pretty sure that the artisan is the author of the Artful Ribbon – because I found the same photos being used in a class she taught as are displayed on the Etsy page.  Hmmm I wonder if the book will have some of the designs like the Nautilus?  (My favorite, by far!)  One thing though, she really takes advantage of different ombre-effect ribbons, striped ribbons, etc… and I find them very hard to find locally.  I don’t have a trip planned to Vancouver any time soon to hit Dressew, but perhaps a visit to one of the specialty fabric stores in town is worth consideration. Perhaps after I pick up the book….

Finally, as far as inspiration, I found this instruction image on Pininterest, and followed it to the source – How Did You Make This? It’s a very neat visual instruction to make a lovely feathered brooch with a ribbon cockade accent – what fun!  I’ve copied the image, but please click the link to get all of the instructions as well!

From How did you make this. Click for original source

So now what?

So I’ve had the chance to look at a number of different books, but none of them are really giving me what I want!  The topic seems to be a bit too obscure, because there aren’t a lot of Google hits on the search term either, and I’m not really close enough to Berkley, California, to go to a class held at Lacis.  (Ok.. the class was in 2011, but presumably at some point there might be another..)

So – dear readers… do you have any suggestions?  I want to make something more complicated than the photo above… but I just don’t know how, and can’t seem to find any instructions.  Help!

12 comments on “Ribbon Crafting

  1. kateobrien says:

    The Artful ribbon didn’t have exactly what I was looking for either, however because it *is* such a obscure craft I find you kind of have to take the information in the book and adapt it to your own ideas.

    • Dawn says:

      Good to know – I’ve looked at a few books so far, and no luck. I almost wonder if I should be looking at something from the early 1900’s that is out of print or something – because it certainly doesn’t seem to be popular enough to be in the books I’ve looked at thus far! I suppose I’m also overly ambitious – wanting to do something like the Nautilus cockade or the Poof cockade.. rather than just the cut-and-folded ribbon cockade in the picture above. I did fuss around with some ribbon mind you, and it might just take some time of fooling around to discover something interesting…?

  2. Hi, Dawn & Kate. I, like y’all, have been obsessed with cockades/cocardes for quite a while now (I created my first attempt Thanksgiving of 2010). I too am frustrated by the lack of info, but am encouraged by finding your post. 🙂

    Here’s a link to the book that got me started: http://www.amazon.com/Ribbon-Hundreds-Vintage-Practical-Ribbons/dp/1934268739 Note: as a reviewer states, the instructions are not very clear. You’ll probably recognize images from some of the backgrounds of Clytemnestras Closet on etsy (that’s how I discovered it).

    Please let me how if you’re interested in sharing Pinterest Boards & good luck in your continued searches!!!

  3. Brigitte Poltpalingada says:

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    genuinely understands what they’re talking about on the net.

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  5. Terri Gower says:

    I too have been looking for natuilus directions and have only found pictures in the many ribbon/trim books which I have purchased. Someday I am going to figure this one out. I was pleased with my books from Camela Nitschke. I used the directions in her Christmas book to make a galette (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/338051515750801617/) , a cocarde (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153283416420548&set=pb.519710547.-2207520000.1395385132.&type=3&theater (Nicholas Kneil has the same style cocarde in his new book) and a pin wheel and I made some variations of the cocarde (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153318544065548&set=pb.519710547.-2207520000.1395385132.&type=3&theater) .

    I have made enough of the standard cockades that have instructions online that I developed my own technique to speed up time – rather than pinning, I have cut card stock to the width of the loops. I wrap a few loops and stitch the edges, then wrap a few more and stitch, repeating until all of my loops are done. Then I sew the ends together and flatten while spacing the points out. I really should write a tutorial with photos as the spacing is so much more consistent than pinning.

    • Dawn says:

      HI Terri,
      Your examples are beautiful! I love the skull/gear button too from your Galette – I have the same button from a little specialty shop in Vancouver! 🙂
      Thanks for the book reference – I’ll have to take a look for that when I get the opportunity. When and if you ever come up with a tutorial for your technique I’d love to take a look and give it a try.. I did try pinning a version, and frankly became quite frustrated with it… it might have had something to do with my surface not being quite firm enough… (I have so many works-in-progress at any given time, that abandoning a not-working project becomes so easy after a few frustrations…)

  6. Jane says:

    Oh my, I just came across this post and I wonder if anyone will read this after so long. I am Jane, owner of Clytemnestra’s Closet on Etsy. I am not the author of The Artful Ribbon, although I know Candace and am a devoted student of hers. Everyone seems to love the nautilus cocarde, it’s quite involved to make and you need a pleater board to complete the task. These can be found at Clotilde.com. I have thought about doing tutorials, but have no idea how to get started. Good luck to everyone in your cocarde pursuits!

    • Dawn says:

      Thanks for commenting Jane 🙂 Tutorials are hard sometimes – there are just some things that are better to learn in person.

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