Spider Web Rose Tutorial


“Heidi” by Kathy Dykstra

Designed by Kathy Dykstra, this charming silk pinafore dress, “Heidi’s Christmas,” is an adorable choice for Christmas portraits and special holiday occasions. Featured in issue #81 of Australian Smocking & Embroidery, the ruched and ruffled dark jade silk dress is ornamented with bands of vertical smocking and silk satin roses. A cream peasant blouse and wide legged pantaloons in ivory cotton sateen are trimmed with lace edging to complete the look inspired by everyone’s favorite little girl of the Swiss Alps.

Below, follow the tutorial from AS&E on embroidering the silk satin ribbon roses that decorate the trellis peaks of the smocking and the flat hem band on the lower edge of the skirt. Named the “Spider Web Rose,” this pretty embroidery technique can be applied to a variety of projects year-round:


Ribbon Embroidery on Pleats – Spider Web Rose:

  • No. 8 crewel needle (smocking and embroidery)
  • No. 20 chenille needle (ribbon embroidery)
  • 3/16-inch (4mm) silk ribbon
  • DMC stranded cotton

This textured rose is created by weaving ribbon through a framework of straight stitch spokes, worked with matching thread. It is important to always use an uneven number of spokes. Use the crewel needle for the thread stitches and the chenille needle for the ribbon.


1. Mark a dot on top of a pleat for the rose center. Mark another dot 3/16 inch (4mm) above on the same pleat and two more the same distance below on the third pleats left and right of the center pleat. Place another two dots on the fourth pleats left and right above the center.

2. Using one strand of DMC stranded cotton, bring the thread to the front at the top mark. Take the needle to the back at the center.

3. Embroider four more straight stitches in the same manner, working from the outer marks towards the center each time. Secure the thread on the back, leaving it hanging.


4. Leaving a small tail on the back bring the ribbon to the front in a valley between two spokes, close to the center.

5. Working in an anti–clockwise direction, weave the ribbon over and under the spokes until one round is complete.

6. Pull the ribbon firmly so that the framework doesn’t show at the center. Repeat steps 5 and 6, until the framework is covered. Take the ribbon to the back in the next valley, trim the excess and secure both tails using the hanging thread.

Hints on Ribbon Embroidery:

1. The easiest way to begin and end is the same whether you are working a single stitch or a group. Leave small tails of ribbon on the back of the work and then secure with matching sewing thread.

2. As the ribbon is being continually passed through the fabric, it wears easily. Use short lengths to minimize the damage. Cut ribbons no longer than 12 inches (30 cm).

3. Use a needle with a large eye to make it easy to thread the ribbon. This will help the ribbon pass through the fabric easily and minimize fraying.

Complete pattern (sizes 3, 4 and 5 years) and instructions for “Heidi’s Christmas” are included in issue #81 of AS&E. The project includes a matching doll outfit designed to fit an 18-inch “American Girl” doll!


Happy Sewing,



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