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Materials Monday: Ribbon!

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If you've read any of the instructions in my patterns, you know I usually include tips and tricks beyond "sew sleeve to front," but only tips that are specific to each pattern. 

I thought it might be useful to do a new feature, Materials Monday, where I pull out an item and discuss how it's useful for dolls.  A lot will be sewing related, but some will just be general doll-useful items, like UV blocking film for doll room windows (so you can keep your dolls on display without worrying about fading!)

So... here we go!

This week I'm going to focus on the thing I bought most recently because it's still shiny and in the package: 100% Silk Ribbon.

Backstory: I like to hunt for old doll clothes at flea markets and yard sales.  Not just old fashion doll clothes, I also like finding old handmade doll clothes.  It's like a window into what was available in the past, vs what kind of things are available now. 

My main takeaway is that fabric quality used to be much higher (which makes sense when a lot of women were still making some of their own clothing) than what I can find in fabric stores now.  Occasionally I can find stuff of similar quality, usually in indie fabric stores, but one thing I've never been able to find is the really nice quality ribbon in narrow widths.

Until now!  A bud was doing a doll craft project of tiny doll bouquets and bought some silk ribbon to use as decorations.  I recognized it immediately as the fine, soft stuff I had seen on old doll clothes but hadn't spotted anywhere, even Japan.  She said it was used in bridal bouquets and ribbon embroidery, so I immediately tracked some down online and ordered a bunch.

I hope this picture demonstrates why I was so excited to get some!

Spool 'O Ribbon is basically what you get when you need fine ribbon in the USA.  You can get some wider ribbon in higher quality, but for very small stuff, this is it.  The top is 1/8" ribbon, off of a 10 yard spool which was $1.99 USD

The 100% silk ribbon I got is is 4mm, also came in a 10-yard spool, and varied from $3-6 USD, if bought singly depending on the store/shipping.  I bought the 24-spool bundle because I was a little overenthusiastic and that worked out to $2.08/spool. 

The difference is that the poly/satin blend ribbon I can get in a store is straight.  If I make it into a bow, it makes a little X shape, not a rounded bow.   I can't gather it, I can't loop it, the loose ends don't trail delicately.  It doesn't behave like human-scale ribbon behaves, so if I want to use it, I can only do very limited things with it. 

Silk ribbon on the other hand behaves just like human-scaled ribbon in miniature. A world of trim options just opened up. 

So that's this week's Materials Monday!  If you like adding trims to your doll clothes, it's worth tracking down.  I'm not going to be dramatic and say I'm throwing out all my Spool 'O Ribbon spools.  That would be silly and wasteful.  However, when the spools run out, I will not be replacing them.