Project Tutorial: Stitch a Beautiful Silk Ribbon Angel

silk ribbon angel

Silk Ribbon Angel Seraph by Margaret Land

This beautiful silk ribbon angel project designed by Margaret Land would make a wonderful Christmas gift for someone special! Featured in our Nov/Dec 2012 issue of Sew Beautiful, it’s easy to make even if you’ve never worked with silk ribbon before.

What You Need:
• One 2-yard packet each of silk ribbon in two colors [Margaret used Thread Gatherer Silken Ribbons in: 004 The Lavenders (7mm), 055 Camouflage Green (7mm)]
• DMC Six Strand Embroidery Floss (#680 old gold, #610 drab brown, Blanc)
• #24 chenille needle
• Size 8 sharp needle
• 1-1/4-inch piece tatting
• 1/8 yard white piqué
• 1/8 yard white muslin (for lining)
• 8-inch embroidery hoop
• Air-erasable marking pen
• Fray Check
• Flat head straight pins
• 5- x 7-inch frame
• Light spray sizing (not starch)
• 8- x 10-inch foam core board (Margaret does not recommend buying a 5- x 7-inch pre-cut piece of foam since the size of the opening of every frame is slightly different. Buy the larger size and use the glass from your 5- x7-inch frame as a guide to trim it to fit.)


Angel Template – Click to Enlarge, then simply right click and choose “Save Image As” from the menu to save to your computer. Or, on a Mac, control-click and “Save As” – You can then print the template from your computer and trace.

1. Pull threads to mark off a 7- x 9-inch rectangle on both piqué and muslin. Cut along thread lines, apply Fray Check to edges and let both pieces dry before handling. Set aside muslin until embroidery is complete.

2. Mark vertical and horizontal centers with air-erasable marking pen.

3. Trace angel template onto prepared piqué with marking pen. Use intersecting lines from step 2 to guide design placement on fabric.


Figure 1

4. Using one strand of #680 (old gold) floss and embroidery needle, work angel’s wings and chin line in stem stitch (fig. 1).


Figure 2

5. Using one strand of #610 (drab brown) floss in embroidery needle, work hair in stem stitch (fig. 2). NOTE: See photo for detail of hair. Template provides an outlined area in which to stitch hair strands. Using a freestyle approach, fill in area with stem stitch strands as shown. Do not stitch the outline.


Detail of hair

6. Use Fray Check on both ends of tatting or lace and let it dry completely before handling. Press well and bend into gentle curve required for halo shape above angel’s head. Pin lace into position on fabric; couch in place using one strand of #680 floss in embroidery needle. Make a French knot at tip of loop atop each circle. Attach cord at base with a widely spaced stem stitch, and make five or six blanket stitches around each circle to add extra gold color (fig. 3).


Figure 3

7. (Optional) In stem stitch, add your initials and the date to lower right corner using a single strand of #680 floss in embroidery needle.

8. Air-erasable ink will disappear in a day or two. Do not attempt to wash out. Once marking has disappeared, press well, using sizing spray to give fabric more body. Re-trace outline of angel’s gown using air-soluble marker.

9. After removing silk ribbon from cards, spray with sizing and press out wrinkles. Cut nine 6-inch lengths of purple ribbon and six 6-inch pieces of green ribbon. Snip both ends of each piece at a 45-degree angle to prevent raveling. Try to make sure cuttings include entire range of variegated colors.

10. Center and stabilize work area in an 8-inch hoop. NOTE: The positioning of each ribbon piece is provided on the template (small lines at top of gown area), but there’s no specific rule for exactly where each ribbon should be inserted. Just make sure ribbons cover triangular-shaped area of gown and colors are well mixed.

11. Thread chenille needle with one short length of ribbon, but do not knot end (place ribbon on skirt one strand at a time). Instead of drawing ribbon through fabric from back side, insert each piece from front side of fabric; this prevents wear and tear to ribbon and helps preserve smooth surface. Start with a ribbon positioned lowest and work your way up to strands at neck area. Leave a short tail end on back side of fabric and long tail on front side, letting each piece dangle free on front until all 15 pieces have been inserted into fabric.

12. Working with one strand at a time, secure remaining ends of ribbon on bottom edge of skirt. Thread chenille needle with remaining end of each long ribbon tail. Twist and curl ribbon strands to create a pleasing three-dimensional shape for gown (may take some trial and error). Insert end into fabric to secure position of each strand. Twirl needle in fingers a turn or two and insert needle into fabric somewhere along hemline. Repeat process one ribbon at a time. Twist some pieces to right and others to left, and let ribbons twine over and under each other. Insert a few upper strands higher than hemline in order to fill in midsection of gown. Reposition ends of some strands if necessary as gown begins to take shape. Any needle holes left visible when you move ribbons can be smoothed over in pressing-and-stretching process of framing.

13. Once pleased with ribbon placement, turn fabric over and trim any long ends down to 1/2 inch. Thread embroidery needle with one strand of #680 and tack down the short ends. Stitch them to each other and/or tack them to fabric as long as stitches don’t show through on other side.

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We pray for the men and women serving our nation in harm’s way, and for all of you.

Much Love to You All & May God Bless,
Kathy McMakin


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