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Embellishing with Ribbon and Beads

Vogue 8651

A few months ago, Fabric Mart had 50 meter spools of ribbon available for $2.50 and a bag of 30 beads for $1.  I don't usually sew with ribbon or beads, but on a whim, I bought a spool of ribbon in coral pink and a bag of beads.  I thought I would probably use them for my after school sewing club to make drawstring bags, but then Covid happened, and we haven't had a sewing club meeting since.  So, as I was walking by them multiple times a week, I started to get some ideas on how to use them in my own sewing!

My first project was this handkerchief hem knit t-shirt from Vogue 8651.  This is an out of print pattern, but there are plenty of newer patterns with similar style lines.   I made View B out of a coral pink rayon knit.

I decided to use the ribbon to make an attached necklace combined with some gold beads.  How I created this look was by taking three lengths of ribbon, and then spacing the gold beads on the ribbon until I had a pleasing arrangement.  To hold them in place, I put a dot of hot glue on the inside of each bead.

To make sure that I didn't get any hot glue on the shirt, I stuck a heavy canvas bag in between, as I left the top on the dress form.  I then sewed the ribbon into the shoulder seam, and I reinforced the shoulder seam with a piece of twill tape.  The beads are actually pretty heavy.  I imagine that I will have to hand wash this one.  But I don't mind- I like how it turned out!

My next project was a skirt from out of print McCalls 6126, View A, using a floral peachskin.  I really love this pattern- it's very easy, yet has some very dramatic looks.  You get a lot of bang for your time!

For this skirt, I accentuated the handkerchief hem by adding the coral ribbon around the perimeter.  I used Steam-a-Seam strips to do this, rather than sewing the ribbon in place. You just put the strips where you want the ribbon to go, press the ribbon on top, and then iron it in place.  It's very sturdy and from my experience, washes up well. 

This reminds me of some Gunne Sax skirts that I had as a teenager.  Anyone else remember those?  They used ribbons and lace galore!

 A quick Google found one of the Gunne Sax skirts that I owned.  Look how small the waists were back then- they won't even button on the dress form!

I used the ribbon again as a drawstring for a hooded jacket with the beads at each end.  I also put the ribbon on the hood seamlines.   I used Butterick 6533 for the jacket, with modifications of putting in zippered pockets, ribbed knit cuffs, and elastic waistband.

 Be aware- the sleeves on this pattern run very short.  I had added additional length, but found I was still a couple inches short!  That's one reason why I went for the ribbed cuffs.

So, even after using this ribbon on three projects, I still have meters and meters of it left!  And I still have half of the beads left too. What a fun and easy way to spice up some basic sewing. 

Do you ever embellish your sewing projects?  What do you like to use?

Happy Sewing!



  1. What fun uses you came up with for beads and ribbon! I think you used them well, and I especially love the necklace! Better yet, everything flows well together.


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