Ruched Ribbon Flower

Ruched Flower (Step 11)Last week at my monthly quilting class, we were taught how to make ruched flowers.  They will eventually find their way onto yet another Christmas quilt that I have started (pictures coming soon…I hope!).  We made them with a strip of fabric, and because of possible fraying, had to do a few folds to hide any raw edges.  The whole time I was thinking I could definitely come up with a better, easier way to make these.  And of course, I was also sitting there wondering what else I could use them for.  It hit me last night.  Why not use ribbon?  No folding necessary since there are no raw edges to hide!  I played around with some pink and green ribbon, my two favorite colors, Greeting Card with Ruched Flower Embellishmentand that led me to the very large stash of pink and green papers that I have accumulated, and before I knew it, I had a cute card with a ruched ribbon flower embellishment.  (Don’t you love when you find a completely different purpose for your newly found favorite technique?)  Below you will find a tutorial on how to make the flowers.  Feel free to ask any questions, and if you can think of any other uses for these goodies, please share!




Nikki, In Stitches


36″ of 5/8″ wide ribbon


Coordinating embroidery floss (1 strand) or any heavy thread that will not break when pulling to ruche ribbon

*Note:  I used black embroidery floss in the pictures below so it would stand out.


Ruched Flower (Step 1)1.  Mark the wrong side of your ribbon, moving from right to left.  Along the bottom edge, mark every inch.  Along the top, first mark 1/2″ in, then mark every inch the rest of the way across.  If you’ve done this correctly, your marks should be evenly staggered the entire length of your ribbon, as shown in the picture provided.


Ruched Flower (Step 2b)2.  With a long piece of thread (approximately 36″), hand baste from mark to mark, creating a zigzag pattern, stopping occasionally to gather (“ruche”) the ribbon.  Stopping every eight to ten inches to gather your ribbon is recommended.  Any longer and you risk breaking your thread.  Also, put a hefty knot at the start of your thread so that as you pull to gather it doesn’t pull through your ribbon.

Ruched Flower (Step 2a)*The trick to the hand basting is to be consistent in your stitches.  If you look at the picture provided, I always do three stitches along each diagonal, and I was always sure to start by inserting the needle from underneath the ribbon and to end with the needle coming out the top.  I found this method made it easiest to gather the ribbon.
3.  Adjust your gathers so that your finished piece of ribbon is now ruched to about 17″.  Leave the long tail of thread in case any adjustments need to be made while assembling your flower.
Ruched Flower (Step 4)
4.  With a new piece of thread, baste across (from side to side) the first six “petals” of your flower.  Again, put a hefty knot at the start of your thread so you don’t pull it through when gathering.
Ruched Flower (Step 5)5.  Pull the thread tight to form a circle of petals.  Knot the thread, but do not cut it, to hold the center loop of petals in place.
6.  Move gathered tail from the front of the flower to the back.  Use the before and after pictures provided below as a reference.
Ruched Flower (Step 5)Ruched Flower (Step 6)
7.  Insert needle through the center of the flower to move the working thread from the front to the back.
Ruched Flower (Step 7a)
Ruched Flower (Step 7b)
8.  Spiral your gathered tail around and around, creating the layers of your flower.  Tack the flower together to keep the tail in place by coming up in the crease of each petal and back down in the same crease, being sure to catch the layer underneath.  The folds, or creases, in your petals will hide your stitches.
Ruched Flower (Step 8a)
Ruched Flower (Step 8b)
Ruched Flower (Step 9)9.  Continue until you have tacked the entire tail in place.  Take a few extra stitches on the back of your flower to hold your ribbon end in place.  Knot and cut the working thread.
Ruched Flower (Step 10)10.  Knot and cut the gathering thread.
Ruched Flower Greeting Card11.  Embellish center with a button!
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16 Responses to Ruched Ribbon Flower

  1. Great idea to use the ribbon. They turned out great!

  2. This would look cute pinned on a sweater, like a broach, or at the waist on a plain skirt.

  3. Chris says:

    Nice job! I wonder what the effect would be if the material (fabric in this case, of course) started out thinner and then widened. Do you think that the finished flower might have wider petals around the perimeter than those in the center? Hmmmm, going to have to play with this. I think another option for the ribbon would be the organza style that is one shade on the left edge and it transforms to another shade on the right side….that could give further give dimension to the perception of depth in the flower…..How cool!!! Thanks.

    • nikkiinstitches says:

      You and I are always on the same page! I used the pink and green ribbon because it was what I had in my stash, but I was thinking the whole time how beautiful it would look with a variegated silk ribbon!
      And you have my wheels turning with the idea of making the band wider as it gets longer. Yes, you would definitely get the look of bigger petals in the background. I’m also thinking what if you stopped with one piece and then picked up another coordinating / contrast piece for the background layer of petals?
      Send me pics if you try any of these!!

  4. bbsforbabies says:

    Thanks for posting this – was this was exactly what I was needing for project I’m working on!

  5. Lynn says:

    I really like this!

  6. Magda says:

    Hello Nikki! Thanks so much for your comment! I hope you aren’t bother that I linked your tutorial and I didn’t tell you anything, but it’s just that I find all those great tutorials online and it’s personally easier for me to add them somewhere in the blog… =) By, the way, congrats on the tutorial, very easy to follow, and neat!
    As for the fair, it’s already tomorrow… I will surely tell you how it goes. I’m a bit nervous, but I’ll share my stand with my mother (as the blog) and we’ve been checking a few details. I still need to get some bags to give the costumers with their shops… I didn’t have much time to prepare the fair and being my first time I really don’t know if I am missing something… oh well… tomorrow we’ll see…

  7. hifa says:

    wow..I really loved this!
    added it to my favourites and will try it surely. I hope you can post more ribbon embroidery tutors.
    thank you

  8. Debbie says:

    Nikki-may I post this to my Tuesday Tutes in the near future? This will work wonderfully on the projects I an my readers do….Children’s clothing.

  9. Debbie O says:

    WOW – that flower is so fun ! TFS

  10. Annmaree says:

    HOW gorgeous is that, thanks so much!

  11. Pratima kapoor says:

    thanks Nikki for this beautiful flower tutorial. i am going to try it out.
    best wishes

  12. Elmsley Rose says:

    Thankyou for this tutorial 🙂 🙂

  13. Booklover says:

    Mine are just beautiful! I sewed a black purse and made three of these flowers, one of bright pink, two of a lighter pink, and overlapped them slightly with a sparkly button on the top (bright pink) one. I get loads of complements and it was a hight school project (got 100%!!!!) Thanks for the awesome idea!

  14. Pingback: Five Snazzy Details to Add Pizzazz to Your Victorian Costume | The Pragmatic Costumer

  15. Rose Rader says:

    Wonderful thank you so very much for sharing.

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