In New York’s Garment District, there are two stores that take the prize for the most comprehensive selection of embroidery ribbons: Mokuba Co., Ltd and Tinsel Trading Company. At Alabama Chanin, we happen to purchase the cotton tape that we use for embroidery from Mokuba, who supplies us with gorgeous ribbons and other notions made in Japan. I have visited Mokuba many times in search of the perfect ribbons and always found a more than exquisite selection.
This week for DIY Thursday, we would like to share instructions on the ribbon embroidery used as an embellishment in our newest book. In Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, we introduce ribbon embroidery with 100% Cotton Tape as a beautiful way to add delicate dimension to your projects and garments. (Color card available here.) We have been using this technique since 2002, when I began using ribbon embroidery for our collections. This ribbon creates a sophisticated, old-world effect and gives the garment a unique sculptural quality. Below, we share the steps to create this detail, using the Climbing Daisy stencil.
Like The Physics of Sewing, understanding how our Button Craft thread (the strongest thread we have found in the world) works with our cotton-jersey fabric is also important physics when embarking on any of our DIY Projects.
Included in Chapter 3 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, I think you will also find my Grandfather’s story an important one for life and design:
We purchase many of our seed and bugle beads online from Fire Mountain Gems as they provide a selection of colors and sizes: http://www.firemountaingems.com/
In New York City, a company called Trims de Carnival also offers a wide selection of beads, sequins and other trims. I normally stop in to see what is new on all of my trips to New York:
Tinsel Trading Company is one of my favorite shops for trims in the world:
And, Mokuba offers the most beautiful trims in the world and has several areas of distribution. The New York Store is worth the trip. We purchase our fold-over elastic trim for our skirts from Mokuba. It is a great product that comes in lots of colors.
To make it easier for you to shop all of these products in one place, we now offer all of our special trims and notions from our online store.
We are lucky enough to have a “Traveling Sharpener” who goes from community to community with his tools and sets up one day a month at our local fabric store to sharpen scissors.
The scissors that I prefer to use are Gingher, in Model G-4 (4” Classic Embroidery Shears) and G-5 (5” Knife Edge Sewing and Craft Scissors). They are available through our online store. You can also view the wide selection of Gingher products here: http://www.gingher.com/
I recommend that you test every scissor before purchasing. Each pair sits differently in your hand and a good pair of scissors should last a lifetime. Our local fabric store carries the entire Gingher range which is great as you can test the individual pairs to see what fits best to your way of working.
For larger cutting projects, everyone in our office uses the Fiskars Soft Touch scissors which you can find in most every fabric store or in our online store.
These scissors have stood the test of time in our office and continue delivering excellent performance without tiring the hand like conventional scissors:
Use your old sewing scissors for paper scissors when you replace them with the Fiskars Soft Touch scissors (above) for cutting garments.
It might seem that all seam rippers are created equal; however, my favorite is this
Clover Needlecraft White Seam Ripper which is also available in the Alabama Chanin online store.
Craft knives are readily available in every community; support your local merchants.