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Making pleated silk shibori ribbon flowers - part one

I've been promising you tutorials on making pleated silk shibori ribbon flowers for awhile now, and I have finally made the time to figure out which are the most useful and the best to share with you.  The problem is, I went down a LOT of rabbit holes in the process of coming up with just a few that I really liked!  So this week and next, we'll take a look at the styles that I think will be the most useful for everyone.

Hollyhock or Rose

1. Cut approximately a 10" length of silk ribbon.  With right sides facing, stitch the short ends together.

2. Baste along one long edge, leaving thread tails.

3. Gather the stitching and fluff the flower out.  As is, it makes a fine hollyhock.  To make a rose, make another flower the same way, but with a shorter piece of ribbon.  You can layer as many as you want to make a full rose.

Single Petals

1. Cut as many pieces as you will need petals.  I make mine from 1" to 1 1/2".  Stitch a U-gather, starting at a bottom edge and stitching around three sides as shown.  Leave the thread tails long.

2. Using one tail, gather up the side and whip stitch around the bottom edge.

3. Use the other tail to gather up the other side and whip stitch it.  These petals, in various sizes and colors, can be used to form lots of different types of flowers.  I'll show you two next week!


1. Cut a piece of ribbon 3 to 5".  Fold in half crosswise with right sides facing.  Starting at the fold, stitch along one long edge through both layers.  Take tiny stitches, keeping the ribbon flat.  Do not pull to gather, but rather, anchor the thread at both ends.

2. Turn the ribbon right sides out with the stitched seam in the middle of the front as shown.

3. Pull the back edge of the ribbon down to meet the front edge.  Stitch from the middle seam out to one edge through both layers as shown, and gather.

4. Stitch back to the middle seam and then stitch out to the other edge.  Gather and anchor it.

5. Stitch through the corners and gather tightly.


1. Cut 1" lengths of ribbon.  Starting in the middle, anchor the thread on the back and stitch through the folds out to one edge.  Gathering the pleats, wrap the thread underneath and back to the center, anchoring it again.

2. Repeat for the other side.

3. Using small sharp scissors, snip into the flower, creating ragged petals.  Use one of the thread tails to add beads for the centers.

Next week, I'll show you how to assemble some petals and leaves into a Wild Rose and a Pansy.

Copyright 2014 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Cherie Burbach said…
I'm blown away... I never knew how to do this. Such great instructions! I love when you head down the rabbit hole! LOL
I can't believe the dimensionality you've achieved, Cyndi. Especially with the leaf. These are amazing!
Cyndi L said…
Thanks guys! Eileen, the petals look really pretty when you put them together...not much to see on their own :-)
Becky Pancake said…
Thanx Cyndi for sharing. These are really beautiful.
Cyndi L said…
Thank you Becky!
Unknown said…
Wow! You are a true sewing hero. You make it look so easy. Thank you so much for teaching such a wonderful tutorial. I am feeling very inspired now. I am totally blown away.
Cyndi L said…
That's very kind of you, Michelle. I just noticed that I failed to put the link to the tutorial where we put them all together. I've added it now to the post, but here it is as well: LINK
Nellie said…
where can I buy this kind of ribbon? It looks so pretty and delicate. Thank you, Nellie
Cyndi L said…
There are lots more sellers now than when I first started buying it. I would recommend going on Etsy and searching on shibori ribbon. I bought some of from "ShiboriGirl"
Unknown said…
It's September 2019. Pinned your tutorial a long time ago and finally watched it - should have done it way sooner! Thanks for the clear way of showing how to do it!

Cyndi L said…
Thank you Margaret! In art world, 5 years is *nothing* goes by like a flash :-D
Cyndi L said…
For the anonymous person who decided to complain about the post, that it doesn't have clear enough "step by step" photos and instructions for you, you might want to take note that it was a labor of love given freely to my readers. If you want something more detailed and better, please feel free to buy yourself a book or watch some YouTube videos that have become much more available since 2014 when I wrote this post. How brave of you to complain anonymously.
Leslie said…
Hi and thank you for this beautifully creative way with ribbons. Question: the leaf, does the ribbon come pre-crimped? I've never seen this before and the leaf is spectacular!!!
Cyndi L said…
Hi Leslie! Yes!! You can crimp it yourself I suppose, if you are really really patient (I'm not). Search on pleated shibori silk ribbon on Etsy or just in google, and you'll find sellers of all sorts of gorgeousness :-)