Some embroidery supplies are easy to find. Stranded embroidery floss and pearl cotton can be found at just about any craft store. Hoops and needles are also pretty easy to find. But once you start getting deeper down the embroidery rabbit hole (perhaps doing stump work) you start to need more specialized supplies (like a hoop holder). One thing that can be hard to source is silk ribbon. I found it a bit overwhelming when I first started, so now I’m going to gather all my favorite resources together so you know where to buy silk ribbon for embroidery.

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What is Silk Ribbon?

Silk ribbon is a flat woven tape used for decorative embroidery. It usually is a plain weave, often similar to habotai fabric, which looks the same on both sides. True silk ribbon is only made using mulberry silk fibers, which makes it very thin and light. These ribbons have a small amount of sheen or lustre, but they are not shiny to the degree that the same yarns woven in a satin would be. For more on silk vs satin, see this article.

Some ribbons are a perfectly balanced weave which looks just like thin strips of fabric. These often have a very narrow selvedge edge, which makes them less prone to damage during use. Others have slightly larger yarns used for the warp. These look like very, very small petersham ribbons (often used for inner hat bands and waste stays in evening goes). Like petersham, this type of ribbon is a bit better at forming curved shapes. But both can generally be used interchangeably.

Of course, this standard silk ribbon isn’t the only product sold under the name “silk ribbon”. Strips of thin silk yardage like habotai or charmeuse cut on the bias can make lovely ribbon for embroidery. Bias cut ribbons will always have an unfinished edge, which in most cases shouldn’t unravel too much, but might not be the look you’re going for. They also can only be cut so thin (I’d recommend no less than .5″). However, if you happen to have scraps left over from another project, cutting your own may be an economical way of getting ribbons to work with. Even if you buy bias silk ribbons pre-cut, they usually are less expensive than traditional silk ribbons.

A pile of silk ribbon for embroidery on a table with an hour of focus image of a woman behind.

Where to Buy Silk Ribbon For Embroidery

I’ve limited this list to places that carry the standard woven silk ribbon, but most cary other embroidery supplies as well. It’s never a bad idea to brows around and see what your other options are when special ordering supplies.

The resources below are a mix of places I’ve shopped or places I would totally shop from, but haven’t gotten around to yet. Yes, there are affiliate links included (disclosure above), but that didn’t have an impact on who I included. If I’m missed a great retailer, let me know so I can add them!

In Person

Specialty Embroidery Shops

Silk ribbon for embroidery is generally difficult to find at in-person shops, but it’s not impossible. And I always recommend shopping for ribbon in person if it’s an option for you. If you’re lucky enough to live within reasonable distance from a specialty embroidery or needlepoint shop, they likely carry at least some. These shops rarely list all the products they stock on their website and even fewer of them have online ordering. So, if you’re not sure if it’s worth the trip, the best thing to do is call.

Other Fiber Arts Stores

Some fabric stores and yarn stores will also carry a small selection of specialty embroidery supplies like silk ribbon. Quilt stores are especially likely to stock it, as silk ribbon is often used in crazy quilt designs.

Trade Shows, Expos, Conferences, and Conventions

I also try and keep an eye out for conferences, conventions, and trade shows in my area. Check the vendor list for any fiber art related event and there’s a chance you’ll find an embroidery vendor. I’ve run into House of Embroidery at more than one show and love their products. The last place I saw them was an industry only expo (H and H Americas), but even if you can’t get into something like that, most manufacturers list their distributors on their website. Sometimes you can get lucky and find out about a new local shop that way!

Etsy

There are more than a few silk ribbon sellers on Etsy, but The Thread Gatherer is by far my favorite. I’ve ordered from them several times, getting both silk ribbon and other embroidery supplies (I’m a little obsessed with their silken pearl), and have always been very, very happy. The colors are constantly gorgeous and the ribbon is high quality. Like, just go browse and try not to buy a dozen!This is also a true small business with real people on the other side. And you can defiantly tell that they care by their great customer service. Honestly, this is my first choice whenever I need ribbons.

Silk ribbons in color Tessie’s Song 368 (available in 4mm and 7mm widths). Image from TheThreadGatherer via Etsy.

But there are also lots of other silk ribbon sellers on Etsy. If you’re just starting out and want a lot of colors to play with, consider a grab bag from SandysLace or this set of 30 colors from CraftingFolk. I also love this set of pink and green ribbons in mixed sizes from SweetGirlStudio. You can also find unusual sizes of ribbon, like this 1.5″ wide silk ribbon. Or silk ribbon sold in increments as small as one yard, so you buy exactly the amount you want. If you’d rather have a fully thought out project, embroidery Artis Lorna Bateman has over a dozen kits in her shop, including this adorable daffodil design and this stunning wreath.

Mary Jo Hinney

Embroidery artist Mary Jo Hinney sells a wide range of silk ribbon for embroidery and other silk ribbon related supplies on her website. It looks like most of her color ways go up to 32mm (a bit over 1″) in width, which is fantastic! There are several kits, ranging from beginner to advanced. She also has a great looking class Embroidering with Ribbon on Craftsy.

Treenway Silks

The website for Treenway Silks may look like it needs an update, but they’re a solid source for all things silk. Their dyed silks come in a wide range of wonderful colors in widths of 3.5mm, 7mm, 13mm. They also offer undyed silk ribbon in sizes 2mm, 3.5mm, 7mm, 13mm, and 26mm. These can be purchased in 5 yarn increments, but for the serious dyer are also available in bulk hanks.

The French Needle

One of my go-to embroidery resources, The French Needle, carries a limited range of Gibb and Hiney silk ribbon on their website. They can be a little expensive, but they often are one of the only legit looking online source for specialty embroidery supplies, so I could never leave them off my list. If you’re shopping for a bunch of unusual supplies, it’s worth taking a look at their in-stock ribbons.

KC Needle Point

New-to-me retailer KC Needle Point has a great looking selection of River Silks silk ribbon. They also have so many other thread and fiber options that it makes my head spin a little. They’re clearly needle point specific, and not a general embroidery shop, but that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t easily fill a online shopping cart to the brim with supplies!

SilkRibbon.com/Cam Creations

The owner of Cam Creations seems to have scored an SEO win by snagging the address SilkRibbon.com, but they’re clearly not just parking on that domain. They have some beautiful hand dyed silk embroidery ribbon as well as an assortment of other related supplies. This site is defiantly worth a look.

Amazon

As with everything, you have to pay very close attention when ordering silk ribbon off of amazon. Otherwise, you risk getting sent inferior quality products, or worse, polyester. However, there are a few listings that look legit. ThreadArt has single spools and value packs in 2mm, 4mm, and 7mm sizes.

In a pinch, I might take a chance on ThreadNanny, which offers a few different packs of ribbon, ranging from five colors to twenty colors. The product looks like it might be the same ribbon as ThreadArt, just packaged differently, but the listing photos are not great (pixilated, too few, or badly photoshopped), so they defiantly wouldn’t be my first choice.

A few different third party sellers look like they’re selling collections of ribbons from River Silks. This brand only sells wholesale on its website, so in order to price compare, I found a small embroidery shop (Benzie Design) that had some in stock on their website. When I looked they had 4mm at 5.50$, 7mm at 8$, and 13mm at 15$ for 5.5 yards. Based on this info, it doesn’t look like (most of) the Amazon sellers are price gouging, but since the sellers all seem to be selling collections of ribbon colors, this is one of the most expensive options.

Last, every so often a 3rd party seller will have a listing for YLI silk ribbon. This is a legit brand of ribbon, but you generally have to search for it by name for it to show in the search results.

Dharma Trading

If you want undyed silk ribbon, Dharma Trading has several sizes, from 1/8″ to 1″ wide. They also cary rolls of bias cut silk satin and habotai in white as well. While it may seem intimidating at first, silk ribbon is actually quite easy to hand paint (I’m currently working on a tutorial!), so it’s worth considering for the cost savings and ability to customize.


Do you have a favorite resource for silk ribbon? Let me know in the comments or over on Instagram!

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