Wednesday, 7 May 2014

New Book: Ribbon Embellishments



How to Make 100

Ribbon Embellishments:

Trims, Rosettes, Sculptures, and Baubles for Fashion, Décor, and Crafts

By Elaine Schmidt

Creative Publishing International  2014

Paperback, £16.99 UK ($24.99 US)

ISBN 978-1-58923-790-2



Star rating: ****



Ribboncraft is very important to papercrafters. A ribbon embellishment on a card, gift, or scrapbook page often provides a show-stopping  finishing touch. Here’s an ace new ribboncraft book that is chock-full of inventive ideas. Lots of construction techniques are employed    there are stitched, woven, and cut-and-glued designs – so there’s something for everyone. This is a book of woven-textile ribbon techniques (lots of grosgrain) – but for crafters who think beyond the ribbon reel, many of the designs can be interpreted in paper. 


If you are a fan of fabric manipulation (Colette Wolff’s book on the subject is a perennial bestseller), then this book will tick all the boxes for you. I have several vintage ribboncraft  titles in my personal book stash – and there are tricks in Elaine Schmidt’s book that I’ve never seen.  


The book is divided into four sections: Trims and Braids, Rosettes and Leaves, Ribbon Sculptures, and Beads and Baubles.  


The Trims and Braids section is a masterclass   lots of fancy moves. Some sewing experience is recommended for many of  these designs – your  stitchery efforts will be rewarded. Some star turns: Wrapped Candy Ribbon Trim – a row of bonbons! Shell Smocking: undulating ripples. (Having said that, there are a few folded trimmings    such as Diamonds and Squares   that I am keen to try using strips of paper.)  There are also several woven designs that could be interpreted in paper using quilling strips: Woven Ribbon Band, for example. In this section, you will also find how-tos for woven lanyards (familiar from summer camp). These work a treat in ribbon (although too dimensional to adorn greetings cards, they could be used to decorate 3-D projects).


Paper flowers are mega-popular at the moment, so the Rosettes and Leaves section is right on trend – why not ribbon blooms?  Here, you will find medallions, cockades, and magnificent bows. Standout designs include The Ribbon Medallion (spiralling loops with a gathered rosette centre and notched ribbon tails), and the Fan Rosette. Some of non-gathered designs could be worked using strips of paper.


Like amigurumi? –  the Ribbon Sculptures section will appeal to you. Here, you will find a collection of ornaments created by “folding, looping, and gluing ribbons into shapes that represent objects, characters, and animals.”  Looking for an ornament for a kid’s card? – Your quest is over! Although many of the designs are too twee for my taste, there’s no denying that this is genius material. There’s a loopy Butterfly with a spiral-ribbon body, a fun goldfish, and a cute Beetle Bug (ladybird/ladybug).  The folded ribbon Strawberries are delightful. 


The Beads and Baubles section contains lots of fun material. Corkscrew curls in the Korker Pom-Pom, the origami-like Paddlewheels, tassels, Rolled Ribbon Beads, and a Knotted Ribbon Star. All of these ideas have legs!  If you are into beading, then there are several attractive methods for incorporating ribbon into the beaded construction of a strand. 


Lover of fabric manipulation that I am, I‘m surprised at myself for even thinking this – the book might have benefited from containing a few more conventional bows.  Most of the featured  bows are rosettes, so a few more linear designs would have provided variety. There’s another book there, perhaps.


The intros to each section are well-written, entertaining, and informative. The author is knowledgeable and has a good handle on her ribboncraft history.  Her great appreciation for the subject is clearly visible (bet she has a massive ribbon hoard in her sewing cupboard). The how-to photography is clear and to the point.


The book does seem a bit pricey for a paperback    but good things come in small packages. You get plenty of clever ideas for the money. 


Note:  I was provided with a review copy of this title.