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  • The Language of Ribbons



    Ribbon Type Description  
    Brocade - a heavy fabric interwoven with a rich, raised design.
    Crown edge - a picot edge that is heat-pressed onto the ribbon.
    Cut edge - ribbon that is cut to size.
    Jacquard - a fabric with an intricately woven pattern

    Merrowed edge

    - the process of sewing a heavier thread around both the wire and the edge of the fabric for a finished edge.
    Picot - a small embroidered loop forming an ornamental edging on ribbon and lace.
    Tapestry - a heavy, decorative cloth woven into a rich, multicolored design or scene.
    Wired - ribbon that is made with a piece of wire sewn along both edges of the ribbon.
    Woven - ribbon ribbon that is woven to size.
    Ribbon Widths

    Ribbon is ordered by number. Each number corresponds to a width based on the French leighn system of measurement, which was developed by the French millinery trade and adopted internationally. Leighn units have no relationship to any other system of measurement. Leighn measurements have been approximated over the years. A modern #16 ribbon measured on a French or leighn ruler wouldn't be an exact #16. Widths can also vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer and from material to material.

    Following is a list of the standard ribbon numbers and their approximate corresponding widths.

    Ribbon Number  Approximate Width


    5/16 inch


    7/16 inch


    5/8 inch


    7/8 inch


    1 3/8 inch


    1 7/8 inch


    2 5/8 inch


    3 5/8 inch


    3 7/8 inch


    4 3/8 inch

    The widths most commonly used in flower shops are:

    #3 ribbon — used for corsage work

    #9 ribbon — used for plants and floral arrangements

    #40 ribbon — used for large plants and funeral arrangements

    Ribbon in sizes from #1 to #9 is typically supplied in bolts of 100 yards; larger widths of ribbon come in 50-yard bolts.


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