Grosgrain Ribbon

What Is Grosgrain Ribbon & What Is It used For?

This is a question that we get asked on a very frequent basis!

In essence the simplest way of describing Grosgrain Ribbon is to say that it is a thick ribbon with a rib that runs across the width of the ribbon and

Repeats along the  length of the product.

It is this ribbing that gives grosgrain its unique look and heavier weight, as a result of its textured weave it has slightly more matt appearance compared to a ribbon which is flat and smooth like double faced satin.

Most of the time Grosgrain ribbon is woven from Nylon, Polyester or Rayon, however it use to be the case that this ribbon in its early form was made from wool, mohair and or silk.

The ribbing across the ribbon is created when woven and is made as a result of its weft being heavier than its warp.

What does this mean?

Well if you think of the Warp being the yarns that are held stationary under tension in the loam and run lengthwise the full length of the ribbon.

Then the Weft is a yarn inserted under and over these threads in effect running across the width of the ribbon.

So if you use a heavier thread for your weft then you will create a ridge across the ribbon and in effect make a grosgrain ribbon.

The image below shows a modern loom weaving at very high speed. We shot this and reduced the speed of the middle of the film in order to try and give you some idea of just how fast these machines have to operate and also to try and show the process of the weft being woven across the warp as described above.

Even in slow motion this is very difficult to see due to the speed !

So what it Grosgrain Ribbon Used For?

The simple answer is what ever you like. 

The ribbon is slightly stiffer and textured compared to a lot of other ribbon styles, as a result this means that it ties very well and holds its position due to the ribbing on the ribbon surface. It tends to be favoured by a lot of higher end packaging companies and luxury goods manufactures because of these properties and the textured look which makes it stick out from the crowd visually as most cheaper packagings are plain thin satins which can sometimes appear limp.

Like wise the slightly thicker weave of the ribbon means that it wears well and is durable, the nett result of this being that a lot of clothes manufacturers like to use this style of ribbon for feature trims.

Being made from man made fibre it can be dyed in an enormous range of vibrant shade which enhances its appeal it also results in the ribbon benefiting from great washing and care properties as well. Most of the Grosgrain Ribbons that we stock can for example, be machines washed, tumble dried

and dry cleaned!

They also come in a wide range of woven widths starting in most cases at 6mm and ranging up to around 40mm which in turn covers a wide range of uses. These ribbons also come on small 20m reels ideal for retail purposes as well as the much larger commercial sized 100m reels popular with 

manufacturers and packaging groups.

When next on the high street keep an eye open for Grosgrain style ribbon, you will be surprised just how many applications you see it being used for, from swing tags for cloths labels, to ribbon bands / bows on chocolate boxes and gifts to edging on garments to mention just a few.


The above images show three different types of grosgrain ribbon in order to help illustrate how flexible this style of ribbon is. 

The first shows a rainbow design which has been made by by printing the design on to the ribbon. The middle one is a stitched grosgrain ribbon where by a running stitch has been woven in to the ribbon as the ribbon was made!

The last is a plain one colour paw print design on the white grosgrain using a screen print.

This raises a question that we are asked by a lot of people, " Can you print on Grosgrain Ribbon?" The answer is of course yes you can, however due to the heavily textured nature of the ribbon you cant use all print styles.

For example hot foil print whilst can be done on Grosgrain will not look great as the print will not penetrate in to the recesses between the raised ribs on the ribbon which could make the print design appear broken and disjointed.

On the other had a screen print or sublimation print works very well and gives a stunning visual finish as these pictures help illustrate.

Our main image at the top of this article also helps show how different colour and styles of thread can be used in the weave to give a high contrasting effect ( red and gold grosgrain image).

One point made earlier is that this ribbon in the main is made from 100% polyester, even though this might not appear to be a very environmentally friendly we are pleased to be able to announce that most of the Grosgrain Ribbons that we stock now are in fact made from 100%

Recycled polyester. This recycle polyester comes from plastic bottles that have been ground down, melted and then extruded into polyester filaments again, these filaments are then twisted and ply in to yarn for weaving. In turn these yarns are then woven in to ribbon here in the UK.

To view our range of UK made Grosgrain RIbbons SIMPLY CLICK THE LINK HERE

If you have any questions with regards Grosgrain Ribbon or wish to discuss something that you are looking to achieve with this style of ribbon then please feel free to contact us at any time on 01691 780416 and we will be only to pleased to help in any way we can.