How to Decorate a Girl's T-Shirt with Ribbon

Turn a tee into a designer fashion with ribbon.
Turn a tee into a designer fashion with ribbon. (Image: Images)

With a little time and a couple yards of ribbon, your girl's plain T-shirt becomes a designer tee. Recycle old T-shirts or decorate new ones with ribbon for a personalized, one-of-a kind top. Use grosgrain, satin, silk, Petersham or sheer ribbon to make patterns or designs. From a simple ribbon bow tacked to the front of the neckline to sprays of roses or free-form ribbon designs, your imagination is your only limitation when decorating T-shirts with ribbon.

Things You'll Need

  • Straight pins
  • Pressing cloth
  • Steam iron
  • Eyelet maker
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Hand-sewing needle
  • Thread

Geometric Patterns

Decorate your T-shirt with geometric patterns using Petersham ribbon. Petersham grosgrain ribbon holds a shape when pressed, making it easy to use for design projects. Lay ribbon on T-shirt, folding it in various places to create your own geometric pattern.

Place straight pins at folds to hold the ribbon in place. Cover the ribbon with a pressing cloth and steam iron to make ribbon folds stay flat.

Hand stitch the ribbon at folds using back stitches. To make a back stitch, take a couple overlapping stitches to lock the thread, then stitch forward. Take the needle back over the space and insert the needle, bringing it out a space in front of the previous stitch. Make as many stitches as needed. End with overlapping stitches to lock the thread.

Eyelets and Bows

Mark evenly spaced dots around the neckline of your T-shirt, using your measuring tape and pencil. Punch a hole at each dot. Insert an eyelet in each hole. Follow directions supplied with your eyelet tool.

Thread ribbon through the eyelets, beginning on the inside of your T-shirt at the shoulder seam. Use several back stitches at the end of the ribbon on the shoulder seam to secure in place.

Run one piece of ribbon all the way around the neckline and fasten the other end at the shoulder seam, or run two pieces of ribbon, each beginning at the shoulder seam, and tie the ribbons in a bow on the outside of your T-shirt in the front or to one side. On the back side of the T-shirt, take a few back stitches at the ribbon knot to hold it in place.

Sheer Rosettes

Attach a sheer rosette, or a cluster of rosettes, in the corsage position on your T-shirt to turn a plain tee into a designer fashion. For a cluster of rosettes, use rosettes of various sizes for a pleasing arrangement.

Leave the ribbon on the spool until the rosette is the desired size. Begin the rosette by turning the raw end down and rolling the ribbon around three turns for a tight rosette center. Hand stitch the center to hold it in place.

Make a loop close to the rosette center and stitch to the base of the rosette. Give the ribbon a 360-degree twist at the base of the first loop and make another loop. Stitch the loop at the base of the rosette center. Continue making loops until five or seven petals encircle the rosette, depending upon the design pleasing to your eye. Make successive rounds of loops until the rosette is the desired size. Cut the ribbon and sew the raw end of the ribbon at the base of the rosette.

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