I opened the inside flap of Ribbons and Trims to read Refresh. Restore. Reinvent. OK I thought I could do with a bit of that! Then I realised Annabel Lewis was actually using ribbons, trims and cords, to revamp common items in the home which is possibly easier than revamping me. Since I am quite a greenie I settled back with a cuppa and read the book.
This is not the run of the mill book on recycling but if you want some contemporary DIY ideas Annabel Lewis, illustrates how curtains, blinds, bedcovers, cushions, throws, lampshades, and furniture can be given a fresh new look with a bit of imagination and the addition of ribbons and trims.
This book offers 25 projects with clear instructions. Regular readers will know I am not a great fan of project based books, or the fad for quick and easy projects that dominate the market. In fact I often simply don’t bother to reach for them on the book shelves as usually a book of projects means there is very little real information to be gleaned from between the covers. However, Annabel Lewis is the founder of Europe’s the ribbons and trimmings company, V. V. Rouleaux and her experience with passementerie shows and the reader gains as a result.
When it comes to actual information that can be applied to other projects the book is well balanced. About a third of the content contains useful information. This is much higher than most books that are project based. For instance there are clear illustrations of various ribbon types from your bulk standard satin to the more exotic like woven jacquard are listed beside their possible uses. Ribbon techniques such as fraying and ruching are covered as well as illustrated examples of making ribbon roses and rosettes. But that is not all you can do with ribbon as techniques for sewing, layering, and weaving ribbons are covered too.
In the cords and trims section reading became very interesting for I can now identify different trims and cords that I have often used but never knew the name of! Techniques in this section include wiring cord, knotting, creating decorative tufts and tassels. I think the techniques illustrated here is where the book comes into its own. If you have ever wanted to know how to create a turban style knot clear step by step instructions will take you through the process. Frogging and other knotting techniques are also covered clearly as well as a number of different tassels. Wiring Beads, you may be familiar with but have you ever thought of wiring shells, buttons and feathers!
As far as the eye candy goes it is beautiful. Ideas abound and imagination is stimulated. The ideas for revamping furniture and creating soft furnishings are the strongest part of the projects book. Ribbons and Trims is a paperback of 160 pages that unlike many project based books the information between its covers means it has a shelf life, as when the projects go out of fashion there is still content enough for me to refer to it again.