DIY: Put A Ribbon On It

A person is slightly lifting the hem of their skirt as they kick a leg forward, wearing tall white socks with light purple ribbons on the back and mid-calf black boots. It's been rainy, the pavement is wet and there is a frilly umbrella discarded in the background.

Originally published on the Sock Journal:

Adding ribbon to socks is a super simple DIY that is a fun way to get a little more comfortable with your basic sewing skills, while adding some flair to your socks! Sewing a long ribbon and other fancies to the cuffs of your socks adds a chance to inject some drama to your day (or finish off socks for costume and cosplay!).

A person is slightly lifting the hem of their skirt as they kick a leg forward, wearing tall white socks with light purple ribbons on the back and mid-calf black boots. It's been rainy, the pavement is wet and there is a frilly umbrella discarded in the background.


What you need

If you’re a little familiar with a needle and thread but find sewing DIYs a little intimidating, don’t stress: you basically only need to have a way you like securing your thread to your fabric, know how to do a running stitch and know how to backstitch. DMC Threads has a great video tutorial on the ever-useful running stitch on YouTube and another one for the backstitch!

Other than those two sewing skills, here’s what you’ll need to be-ribbon your socks:

A pile of things needed for this DIY: a pair of socks, two reels of light purple ribbon, small scissors, embroidery floss, a needle.

  • Your socks to fancy up! I’m using a pair of the Extraordinary Thigh Highs in White. Their wider cuff is perfect for adding things to.
  • Ribbon! I’m using a satin ribbon and this pretty sheer stuff.
  • Sewing stuff! Needle, thread, scissors. I’m using embroidery floss because I don’t have thread that’s the right colour.
  • Not shown, and optional: buttons

Okay, before we dive in, let’s look at the inspiration socks. We’re not quite sure where or when they came from, but one thing we do know is: we can totally do this. YOU can totally do this!

A hand holding the cuff of a black sock with a long, dark purple ribbon sewn to the cuff.


Let’s add ribbon to socks

Decide what length of ribbon you want, I went with about a yard. Err on the side of too much, you can always trim it later.

Find the center of your ribbon and place it on the cuff of your socks, at the bottom of the cuff itself. If you have a sock with a deep cuff, like the Extraordinaries, then you can put it right at the bottom of the cuff, before it turns into sock. If your cuff is shorter, place it just below the cuff. Although, really? Do what looks good to you!

I’m going to sew the ribbon to the back of the socks, in line with the heel. Once you’re happy with the placement, Pin that slippery ribbon in place.

Split image showing process of pinning ribbon in place on sock cuff. On the left, a hand holds a ribbon in place just above where the wide cuff meets the body of the sock. On the right, a green-headed quilting pin has secured the ribbon in place.


Now, secure your thread on the back of the sock, by your pin. We’ve all got knots and tricks we like, do what you like best, nobody is going to see it.

Split image showing the two main steps of sewing a ribbon to the cuff of socks. On the left, a hand holds the cuff of the sock to show the inside, where a knot has been made below the pin holding the ribbon in place. On the right, we see the outside of the sock, where a hand has begun making stitches to secure it to the sock.

Then, bring your needle to the outside and start stitching! I’m going to link the backstitch video from DMC again. This is a super great and simple stitch to learn that is a great one to have in your sewing toolkit. It doesn’t take that many stitches to get that ribbon secure! Bring your thread to the back again and knot it securely.

A white sock with a light purple ribbon hand sewn to the cuff. The stitches are a little rough, but look serviceable.

Now, your stitches may look a bit rough, satin ribbon likes to show every stitch as unflatteringly as possible. That’s okay! When you wrap the ribbon around your leg you can cover those stitches.

Of course, if you want to make them even fancier, we know what you can do.


Cover up those stitches

To make a simple ribbon flower, cut about a six inch length of ribbon (either the same as your long one or something complementary) and start sewing a running stitch along the bottom edge.

Split image showing the process of stitching a running stitch along the bottom of a short piece of ribbon to make a flower. On the left, the needle has been inserted along the bottom edge of the ribbon then brought back up, making one running stitch. On the right, multiple running stitches have been made along the bottom edge of the ribbon, weaving the needle in and out of the fabric.


Just stitch in and out all along that bottom edge, until you’ve got a dashed line of thread all along the bottom of your ribbon.

A short length of sheer ribbon, with a running stitch sewn just above the bottom edge. Its held by a finger and thumb, partially over a white sock so the sheer ribbon can be seen.


Grabbing the length of thread dangling from either side of your ribbon, use the running stitch to cinch it up, like a little drawstring bag.

Split image showing three steps of finishing ribbon flower. On the left, the running stitch along the bottom of the ribbon is being drawn up, while a hand pinches the loose ends of the ribbon. In the center, it's been fully drawn up, so the ribbon is tightly gathered at the center, with the loose edge ruffled prettily in a circle. On the right, the ribbon flower has been stitched over the stitches holding the long ribbon onto the sock.


Whaaaaat?! It already looks like a little flower! MAGIC. If you’re over sewing at this point, you can totally glue that bad boy over the stitches on the long ribbon you sewed to your sock, but since I had my needle and thread out, I sewed it on.

I decided it wasn’t quite fancy enough and added a fancy button to the middle. It not only hides the center of the ribbon flower and the stitches I sewed it on with, it looks awesome.

A hand holding the cuff of a white sock, with a long light purple ribbon sewn to the cuff, with a sheer, gathered ribbon flower covering the stitches. The center of the flower is a pearlescent light blue button.


Now strut your stuff!

I love how this simple DIY adds so much fanciness to a pair of socks. They’re fit for a springtime princess! I can see this also being really good with frothy black lace on dark socks, or checkered ribbon on bright red socks, or really: any combo of ribbon+sock!

Tight shot of the back of socks with a ribbon sewn on the back. There is a frilled ribbon flower with a button center above the loose and floppy light purple bows.


Now, go wild adding ribbon to socks! You can use pre-made pretties to cover your stitches, ditch the ribbon and just put pretty things on the cuff, or use stretch lace instead of ribbon (a great option for adding a bit more stay-up-ability!). Actually, if you want your ribbons to stay up when tied in front, using something stretchy is probably a must. We tried and it was so dang cute but lasted exactly half a step. Look how cute though:

A person is tying ribbon bows at the front of their socks. The ribbons look loose and won't hold when walking.


Remember, we LOVE when folks do DIY with our socks, so be sure to tag us on Instagram (we’re @sockdreams) so we can ooh and ahh over your skills and socks!!