ribbon and binding and tape and trim


One of the things I’m most frequently asked is where I source the ribbons, binding and tape that I use as facings for the inside front bands and / or steek edges of designs such as Epistrophy or Ursula.

(on the Epistrophy cardigan, the raw steek edges are covered by a decorative facing. I found the bee tape somewhat randomly in the furnishing section of Plumo)

I don’t have much of a yarn stash at all – in fact, apart from a few precious precious skeins of this and that, and a bag of self striping sock yarn (with which I churn out vanilla socks in my non-thinking knitting time) I only retain the yarn I’m about to use in a specific design or group of designs. But as well as a sizeable hoard of buttons, I also have a reasonable stash of ribbons and tapes and bindings. These things don’t take up much space, and I really like having several options for finishing touches to choose from at the end of my design process. Stitching on the perfect ribbon or buttons really is like wrapping up the design! Anyway, after having a good poke through my ribbon collection this morning, I thought I’d share some of my top trim tips.

1. Salvage


Many things come wrapped in ribbons, and it may surprise you to learn that quite a few of my favourite ribbons were salvaged from things like cakes and gift boxes. The three examples above are all from cakes, while this webbing was once the handle of a bag that has long since worn out . . .


. . . and this ribbon was once tied around a Clothkits purchase.


So if something comes tied with a ribbon, I never throw it away, and I now have a shoebox full of ribbons which remind me, in a rather pleasant way, of the treats and gifts they once adorned. It is also rather satisfying to eventually be able to put them to good use – as we did with the ribbon we used on the inside facing of Fintry, which once adorned a delicious package of baked goods from Betty’s.


I was thrilled to find the ribbon was such a perfect match for the yarn and worked so well with the finished garment!


2. Seek them out in person

Self explanatory, really. Wherever I go, I seek out haberdashery. As ribbon and trim doesn’t take up much space, its no problem to transport or store, plus, its a nice souvenir.


From Millie Moon, in Frome.


From A Rubenesque, in Dublin. (Eventually used on Ursula cardigan, and Scatness tunic)


From the Peerie Shop in Lerwick.

3. Seek them out online


If you need tape or binding in a specific style or colour, often a simple keyword search on eBay or Etsy will turn up what you are looking for. And the interweb is chock full of terrifically tempting emporia, such as Clothkits or Rosa Pomar’s shop. . .

(I just love these chickens)

4. Gifts

If you are a haberdashery obsessive like me, there is no better gift than some ribbons or trim!

Mel gave me these lovely ribbons

and this superb owl trim was a gift from Suzanne.

5. Prepare to retain your haberdashery stash for a while
This morning’s brief investigation of my stash revealed items that have been there for seven years or more, including this delicious linen trim from the Japanese shop, Linnet (warning! that link leads to Japanese haberdashery heaven!). Frankly, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest that this tape has been in my stash for 7 years, or indeed if stays there for another 7. Its purpose is bound to be revealed at some point, and at such time, I will be prepared. . .

I actually purchased the (drool, sigh) Linnet tape in a couple of shades, and used the other (which has a greenish hue) when finishing Deco.



So: 1. Salvage; 2. Seek out in person; 3. Seek out online; 4. Receive trim and ribbon as gifts; 5. Be prepared to keep hold of your ribbon stash for a while and, if all of these tips fail you can always:

6. Make it yourself
If you find you still lack trim or binding for the inside of your cardigan, you can always make some lovely bias binding yourself (in the same way as you’d produce the binding for a quilt), either by hand (with care, with your iron) or by using one of the many different bias tape-making devices that are now available.

Now I’m off to put my ribbon box away. Have fun!