Most ribbons are made from silk, cotton, rayon, or nylon; it's the way they are woven that defines them.
Types of Ribbons
Satin ribbon's smooth, glossy look comes from a weave with a greater quantity of warp fibers -- the ones running the length of the ribbon; it's either single-faced, meaning shiny on one side, or double-faced.
Organdy ribbon is sheer and often iridescent -- look it gets from two contrasting colors of yarn being woven together.
Taffeta is all-purpose with a tight weave and almost always matte finish.
Nearly any type of ribbon can have a picot edge, a feathery effect made by tiny, twisted loops along the selvage.
Tightly woven velvet ribbon has a soft plush pile on one side.
Wire-edge ribbons rely on fine copper wire to hold the shape of bows or coiled blooms.
Sturdy grosgrain ribbon is woven with a greater quantity of weft fibers, giving it a crosswise pattern.
Metallic ribbon is made from thin metal fibers, alone or with other materials, giving the ribbon a sparkly look.
To create the shiny, watery appearance of moire, a heated roller is passed over the surface of the fabric.
Jacquard has patterns and images incorporated into the weave.