For more than a decade, designer Nicholas Kniel has been making the most exquisite ribbon flowers and embellishments. His flowers have been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, and have been adored by bridal designers and milliners all over the world. In this extract from his incredible book, Creating Ribbon Flowers, he teaches us how to make a ribbon rose.
How to Make a Ribbon Rose… The Nicholas Kniel Way
This is a very easy ribbon rose to make. Bias-cut silk ribbon is essential for achieving the right look for this simple, yet elegant creation.
- 2 yds. (1.8m) of 2″-wide (5cm-wide) bias-cut silk ribbon
- Matching thread
How to make a ribbon rose
1 Lay out the ribbon, and fold it widthwise, taking care to enclose the ribbon’s dull side, if it has one. Secure with pins so you can stitch through both layers easily. Thread a needle with double threads at about 25″ (64cm).
2 Place a knot on the fold just in from one raw edge and stitch the pattern below. Take care to catch both layers and gather as you go along.
3 Once you have stitched the length of the ribbon, lay it out and gather it to a final length of about 19″–20″ (48cm–51cm), turning all the ruffles to one side. When you have reached this length, knot the thread securely. The next step is to rearrange the gathers. This is important, as the distribution of gathers determines the final shape of the flower.
4 Start at one end of the ribbon and spread the gathers out thinly, allowing them to get thicker as you move down the length of the ribbon. Make the transition as gradual as possible so there isn’t a sudden clump of gathered area next to a thinly gathered area. The thinly gathered part of the ribbon will be the centre, so you’ll need to coil this section more tightly than the rest of the ribbon.
5 Once you have arranged the gathers, begin rolling up the ribbon, starting with three full turns. Tack at the bottom as you go along to hold the rolls in place, then roll in half-turns and tack. Make sure the bottom of the rolled gathers remain even with one another. With silk, it’s easy to let the tacked area underneath slide and become concave or convex. This causes the centre on the front of the flower to either pop up too high or sink down too low. Roll as evenly as possible, holding the bottom of the gathers firmly in your hand. Once you’ve finished rolling and tacking, check the front to see if you need to pull the centre in with a few stitches, then knot off to hold.
Once you’ve learned how to make a ribbon rose, you can use them to decorate all manner of items. Think bags, hats, accessories galore! The stunning sash shown below gives a great DIY twist to any posh frock.
Once you’ve mastered the rose, just think what else you could try! Creating Ribbon Flowers is such a dreamy book – not only is it full of incredible projects, the photography is absolutely stunning. I want to try making them all! Here are some of my favourite images from the book. Try not to drool too much…