September 18th, 2012 Last Updated on: June 2nd, 2020
The form of ribbonwork in this tutorial is an art used in Straight Dance and Southern Cloth outfits. This style is done by several tribes including Osage and Ponca.
This tutorial is for the cut and tuck method with a template.
Making the design and cutting the template is probably a whole tutorial by itself! For my ribbonwork, I use metal templates. The pattern shown below is done using 2 different metal templates.
When I first attempted ribbonwork, I was in awe of the details of the designs. After you learn the basic concepts of how ribbonwork is make, however, the process is quite simple.
You are layering or singling stripes of ribbons on top of each other to product a design.
Above is the base design I started with. As I progressed the design did change slightly.
Using this design I was able to cut the 2 metal templates needed to make the ribbons.
These two templates are cut out of metal flashing. You can find this material at your local home improvement store. Ask for the metal flashing used in roof repairs.
With these templates you can create the individual ribbons that will be layered to create the pattern. It is helpful for me to break the design down into each ribbon.
Now that you have your design and templates made, you need to get your fabric. My ribbonwork is made fro moire taffeta. I buy it by the yard and cut it into stripes. There are some suppliers that sell fabric pre-cut.
To begin cutting the fabric, I wet the ribbon, then place it on a board.
Clamp the template on top of the fabric.
The use a razor blade to cut a line from the bottom of each template valley to the end of the fabric.
After each cut is made, fold the fabric back onto the template and iron down.
The above photo shows how the fabric will look after ironing.
Remove the clamps and set the fabric to the side to dry. I usually let mine dry overnight.
Next step is to begin sewing.
You will sew down each piece one at a time. I use fabric glue on the tips of the fabric to hold it in place while I sew. You will sew along the edge of the new fabric using the same color thread.
Leave the last piece's edge to mount that to the wool.
Here is a photo of the finished set.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
Have you made any ribbonwork suits? Please share your work!
Here is the finished suit being worn!
Design was done by Orville Gates.
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