Bead Embroidery with Shibori Ribbon

Dec 30, 2013

Even the name sounds exotic: Shibori ribbon is the newest craze to hit the bead embroidery world, thanks to bead artist Sherry Serafini who began incorporating this hand-dyed silk into her bead embroidery pieces.Shibori ribbon is created by twisting, folding, stitching, and binding silk ribbon or fabric during the process of dyeing to create a pleated, vibrantly-colored piece of silk or satin that can be used to add an incredibly soft and organic look to your bead embroidery projects.

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I'd been admiring bead embroidery using Shibori ribbon from afar (mostly on Facebook), until Lisa Kan sent me a sample of some of this intriguing new material so that I could experiment with my own projects! I have to admit that I was a little bit intimidated with the idea of working with Shibori for bead embroidery, but I got some great tips and help from some of my favorite beading friends before I started. Are you ready to dive in and try working with Shibori ribbon?

Shibori silk is usually woven loosely to show off those lovely silk fibers and colors, and that loose weave can get caught on things like rough hands or beading needles with rough surfaces or burrs. Spend a few minutes moisturizing your hands before you start working with Shibori, and use a new beading needle each time to prevent catching your ribbon.

Which beading thread should you use? I experimented with FireLine, Nymo, and Silamide beading threads and found that Silamide and Nymo worked the best with Shibori, resulting in less pulling and puckering of the ribbon as I tacked it down on my bead embroidery medium.

Begin by tacking down one end of your ribbon to your bead embroidery medium, using tiny stitches that you can hide in between the pleats and folds of the ribbon. If you want your ribbon to open up a bit more, you can "iron" it by passing it very gently over a warm light bulb. If you heat the ribbon up too much, you'll lose all of the pleats.

As you twist and turn your ribbon, you can temporarily hold down the twists using clothespins or small alligator clamps. Take care that the tips of your clamps and clothespins are smooth, or buffer them by sticking a small piece of bead embroidery medium between the clamp and the ribbon.

Once you love the way your ribbon looks, you can gently fold the ends of the ribbon under themselves and start tacking the ribbon down to hold it in place. Use a simple running stitch, using tiny stitches, to secure your ribbon to your bead embroidery medium. I took the advice of my friend Beki Haley of Whimbeads and adopted a "take no prisoners" attitude while tacking down my ribbon -- if I made a small mistake or a stitch didn't come out exactly right, I made a mental note to just cover up that spot with some bead embroidery and kept plugging ahead!

The edges of Shibori ribbon are "raw", or unfinished, so I folded them under as I worked. You also have the option of leaving them exposed in your finished piece of bead embroidery, but remember that raw edges will fray and come apart over time.

I decided against using any kind of glue to attach my Shibori to the bead embroidery medium. When attaching my bezeled crystal rivolis, I decided to also forgo the glue and instead stitched the beads in the peyote stitch bezel to the bead embroidery medium through the Shibori ribbon.

I had a great time laying out the rivolis I wanted to use as design elements in my Shibori ribbon bead embroidery cuff. I wish I had had more time work on this piece before my deadline, but that led me to my most important discovery about using Shibori ribbon: don't do it on a deadline! Seriously, though, using Shibori ribbon for bead embroidery takes a lot of time! It takes time to tack the ends down, time spent twisting and turning and adjusting your ribbon, and time spent laying out each element of your finished piece. My best advice for using Shibori? Don't rush it. Slow down, enjoy the process, and let your imagination take over!

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Looking for more innovative ways to do free-form bead embroidery? Kelly Angeley's fantastic book, Explorations in Beadweaving: Techniques for an Improvisational Approach will take your bead embroidery and bead weaving to new places with her innovative and awesomely creative projects. Learn techniques for incorporating found objects into both bead embroidery and bead-weaving, get inspiration for using some of today's most popular bead shapes like spikes and long drops, and let yourself play with color in each of these 19 beading projects. Get your copy of Explorations in Beadweaving and learn how to "bead" in the moment.

Have you tried working with Shibori ribbon yet? What are your questions or concerns about using Shibori ribbon in your bead embroidery projects? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog, and share your tips, advice, and questions with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

A huge thank-you to Lisa Kan for providing me with the sample of Shibori ribbon; to Betcey Ventrella of Beyond Beadery, Beki Haley of Whimbeads, Nikia Angel, and Adele Recklies for cheering me on with their great advice and tips on how to use and handle Shibori ribbon! You can purchase Shibori ribbon from Lisa Kan (Aria Design Studio), Beyond Beadery, or Shibori Girl Studios.


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Comments

on Dec 30, 2013 6:26 PM

The Shibori ribbon fascinates me.  Where can it be purchased?  I was also wondering if a product like Fray Stop or Fray Check (not sure of the name) would work on the raw edges of the ribbon.  I use it on the edges of some of my regular fabric in applique techniques.  I am anxious to see your completed bracelet.  I know it is going to be amazing.  Linda

Shiborigirl wrote
on Dec 31, 2013 12:18 PM

Hello Linda and Jennifer-

Perhaps I can be of assistance here on a few things.

The ribbon can be purchased directly from me ( I dye the ribbon) or from one of the wonderful folks who are designing with and reselling the ribbon- Lisa Kan, TandZsupplies, Sonoran Beads, among others. Throughout the upcoming year you will see it at many more shows thanks to Lisa, Nora, Michelle and the others that are selling it in person which allows me to spend more time in the studio dyeing.

In regards to the "raw edges"- the shibori ribbon is made with a silk satin bias fabric which means that it is cut on the bias and every couple of yards there is a diagonal seam.  Fabric cut on the bias doesn't fray unless you intentionally distress it (as I sometimes will for effect as in the fringed shibori flowers). Also, the ribbon has a "right" and "wrong" side.  Not that you have to use it that way unless you are working with a section with a bias seam. The right side has more of a sheen than the back side which is more matte.  This is a result of the weave (more silk floats on the font side).

In regards to stitching and beading with it- I am new to beading myself but have of course worked with the ribbon extensively in various ways and here is what I have found worked for me when beading- i like to use milliners needles size 10-12. Usually, i use a clear thread- my spool says "whisperthread" and I use it because at a show somewhere I acquired a giant lifetime size roll of it on a closeout table for a couple of dollars.  I think it was meant for longarm quilters.  So something fine and invisible.  The above article talks about avoiding puckering and pulling.  When I work with the ribbon I enjoy creating a lot of texture with the ribbon by doing just that- creating puckering and pulling the stitches in various directions to needle sculpt the hills and valley of the ribbon.  The pleating of the ribbon is very forgiving so just relax- and go with the flow.  

Enjoy, create, and wonder...

floozette wrote
on Dec 31, 2013 10:46 PM

Hi Jen

I love this stuff and have coveted it for a long time.  Now seems as good a time as any to take the plunge and buy some.

I am interested to know what you mean by your 'medium'.  Since I am not primarily a beader but use them in embroidery this is new to me.  Can you please let me know what it is?

Thank you.

Chris

on Jan 2, 2014 4:03 PM

Thanks for chiming in, Shiborigirl!

Chris, the bead embroidery medium that I refer to in the blog is a stiffened, colored felt called Nicole's Beadbacking that I use as my "canvas" for bead embroidery. It's the fabric that I use to stitch my beads. Some people use a product called Lacy's Stiff Stuff, others use regular fabric with some kind of pellon interfacing to stiffen it.

chrissi@3 wrote
on Jan 2, 2014 4:43 PM

now I am going to show my ignorance - I like to use velvet or velvet ribbon as a base for my own bead embroidery -it is usually quite firm by the time I have finished so I  don't use backing all the time - but would like to try other textural fabrics so what is a pellon interfacing

on Jan 2, 2014 5:03 PM

Hago Bisuteria, pero las cosas que veo aqui son super elegantes y bellas.Lo que pasa es que vivo en Costa Rica y cuando he viajado a USA no he logrado ir a ninguna exposicion de ese tipo.Me gustaria saber como hago para trabajar con ustedes via internet, que me enseƱen.Gracias.

SharayahS wrote
on Jan 6, 2014 1:36 AM

Sharayah's Tips in  using Shibori Ribbon

1.  Tack it down with very small stitches to get it to hold the shape you would like.

2.  Personally I wouldn't cut a slice in the ribbon since it frays, and is cut on the bias. You'd be asking for more problems.

3.  I would avoid bugle beads and sharp objects as well since they can cut into an snag the ribbon.

4.  Play, play, play!!

5.   Let the piece flow, twist it , play with it and tack it down either with stitches or clasps.

6.  I've glued and bezeled cabs, and have also bezeled them separately and then stitched them on. This is a free-form style........so don't get too hung up on the "how-to's" ..............just do it.!

7.  Just treat it like any other thing you use. Sew on it or not. Yes, tack it on Lacey's and go to town. It's fun to play. You can cover some or almost all of it......it's your party

8.  It's so difficult to duplicate the design, esp. with shibori,

9.  don't touch it too much it will pill and will also snag on your hangnails or needles. Have to be careful. Also, make sure your unfinished edge is either beaded over or tucked under and tacked down.

10.  I also found that if you're doing a cuff, the silk will snag if too much is showing and if all you show is ribbon, it will get dirty and is very difficult to clean. So, yes I encrust mine to ensure long life with my cuffs.

11.  I try to make sure I use a lot of hand lotion the day before working with it but NOT the day I work with it because it frays so easily. I will not wear mine often. In Sherry's class, the samples were pretty frayed from people passing them around. It was sad because they were stunning.

12.   I used tweezers to roll the rough end under and then tacked it down along the way. Worked really well.

13.  The best option for the ribbon if yoi do not like the eyelash edge is to sew a rolled hem. I was told by all tonever use fray check or any type of glue in order to maintain the integrity of the fiber and dye.

My Notes to the team

1. The edges fray.........that's natural. So as you are laying out the ribbon, tack it down. Use can always remove that later if you want to change the direction of the ribbon.

> 2. Think " FREEFORM" If you're one that has to be very precise with placement of beads, this will be an additional challenge. LOL

> 3. I make sure my fingernails are trimmed with no rough edges...........you will snag the ribbon.

> 4. As much as possible, insert your needle directly down from top to bottom.

> 5. If you glue a cab down, and decide to change it, in my experience, your can remove the cab and place it elsewhere. Just make sure you bead over the surface that has the glue on the ribbon. It works.

> 6. Let the beauty of the ribbon show through.

> 7. You can decide how much embellishment you want to use. I would avoid beads with sharp, jagged edges.

> 8. I use fireline.

SharayahS wrote
on Jan 6, 2014 1:37 AM

1.  Tack it down with very small stitches to get it to hold the shape you would like.

2.  Personally I wouldn't cut a slice in the ribbon since it frays, and is cut on the bias. You'd be asking for more problems.

3.  I would avoid bugle beads and sharp objects as well since they can cut into an snag the ribbon.

4.  Play, play, play!!

5.   Let the piece flow, twist it , play with it and tack it down either with stitches or clasps.

6.  I've glued and bezeled cabs, and have also bezeled them separately and then stitched them on. This is a free-form style........so don't get too hung up on the "how-to's" ..............just do it.!

7.  Just treat it like any other thing you use. Sew on it or not. Yes, tack it on Lacey's and go to town. It's fun to play. You can cover some or almost all of it......it's your party

8.  It's so difficult to duplicate the design, esp. with shibori,

9.  don't touch it too much it will pill and will also snag on your hangnails or needles. Have to be careful. Also, make sure your unfinished edge is either beaded over or tucked under and tacked down.

10.  I also found that if you're doing a cuff, the silk will snag if too much is showing and if all you show is ribbon, it will get dirty and is very difficult to clean. So, yes I encrust mine to ensure long life with my cuffs.

11.  I try to make sure I use a lot of hand lotion the day before working with it but NOT the day I work with it because it frays so easily. I will not wear mine often. In Sherry's class, the samples were pretty frayed from people passing them around. It was sad because they were stunning.

12.   I used tweezers to roll the rough end under and then tacked it down along the way. Worked really well.

13.  The best option for the ribbon if yoi do not like the eyelash edge is to sew a rolled hem. I was told by all tonever use fray check or any type of glue in order to maintain the integrity of the fiber and dye.

My Notes to the team

1. The edges fray.........that's natural. So as you are laying out the ribbon, tack it down. Use can always remove that later if you want to change the direction of the ribbon.

> 2. Think " FREEFORM" If you're one that has to be very precise with placement of beads, this will be an additional challenge. LOL

> 3. I make sure my fingernails are trimmed with no rough edges...........you will snag the ribbon.

> 4. As much as possible, insert your needle directly down from top to bottom.

> 5. If you glue a cab down, and decide to change it, in my experience, your can remove the cab and place it elsewhere. Just make sure you bead over the surface that has the glue on the ribbon. It works.

> 6. Let the beauty of the ribbon show through.

> 7. You can decide how much embellishment you want to use. I would avoid beads with sharp, jagged edges.

> 8. I use fireline.