Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Ribbon Hair Bow Tutorial

This tutorial is for a 3 tiered ribbon hairbow attached to a metal hairband. You could attach this bow to a comb, or barrette if you choose.

You will need:
a long ruler
3" ribbon
7/8th or 1" inch ribbon
1/4" metal hairband
a hot knife or woodburner tool
an iron
a sleeve ham
sewing machine
matching thread or clear nylon thread
millinery hand needle

Using your long ruler measure and cut your ribbon as follows:
3" ribbon:
14 1/2"
10 1/2"

7/8ths or 1" ribbon:
16 5/8th"
3 1/2"

Using the hot knife sear the cut edges of all ribbon pieces.
When you sear your ribbon, be careful! The tool gets super hot and it's easy to melt through your ribbon. Also, do this in a well ventilated space. Open a window, and turn on a fan. :)
Next, you'll cover your hairband...
Using the 7/8ths ribbon cut to 16 5/8th"and your sewing machine, fold the ribbon in half, to make a casing and make a neat topstitch. I like to use clear nylon thread for this, as it virtually disappears.

Now run your hairband through the casing.
Now roll over the seared edges and using and sewing needle... I prefer a long millinery needle, whip stitch them down.

Now get together all 3 of your 3" ribbon pieces. I will refer to these as Small (S) Medium (M) and Large (L) in respect to their lengths from now on FYI.
Fold all 3" ribbons in half and using a 1/2 seam allowance make a loop of ribbon. I like to do this continuously to make the process go faster. This is helpful when making several bows at once... this way no pieces are misplaced and everything is kept together in a group.

Now it's time to press a center crease in your 3" ribbon as well as to press the seam allowances open. You really need to be careful and use a sleeve ham or clap board to make sure that your bows remain natural looking and not too stiff.

To find the center mark for your 3" ribbons, lay your ribbons flat on your iron board, with the stitched edges on your ribbons top edge, run your steam iron flat down the ribbon and at the other edge create a hard firm crease.

Use a sleeve ham, or some other narrow pressing tool... (a stuffed tube sock will work) and press open the seam allowances.

 It's important that you preserve the pleasant "fullness" that your ribbon will have when your careful to not press the ribbons outside edges... this is why using a ham is so important. When you match up the seam and the center fold there should be a definite tear drop shape.
Next match up the seams and center folds on all three 3" pieces. Stitch down the center of all three pieces. I use the center fold as my sewing line.

 Now stack the 3" pieces S, M, L. The S should over lap the M by half of it's width, and the Medium should over lap the L by half of it's width... like so:
The S should lay on top with nothing over lapping it.
Next, stitch down the center:

Next pleat... This isn't an exact science.... Just try to keep the pleats about 1/2" or so, don't let any of the ribbon edges show, and try to have 4 pleats visible from the front. Like this:

Now using a long Millinery hand needle and a strong matching thread insert the needle 1/4 of an inch from the center stitching line, and towards the front edge of the bow... Like this:
Pull the needle through, and then do the same on the other side of the stitching center line. Do this several times. Basically you are taking big chunky stitches all the say through the bow. Do this on the bottom edge as well... It should look like this:

You can see 2 lines of big stitches on either side of the bow.
Now make a mark on your hair band 4 inches from the bottom edge:
Match the bows stitching lines to the mark you made on your hair band. Whip stitch your bow to the band... do this securely so that both edges are sewn to the hair band.

Now you add the 3 1/2" piece of 7/8th or 1" ribbon. Sew it to the hair band using a whip stitch. 

 At this point the bow is done! yay! Keep in mind that you can add lace and bead or charms to your bows to customize them.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Partially Elasticized Waistband Tutorial

This Tutorial uses math and your measurements to draft a waistband. It closes with a system called a "Continuous Lapped Placket". This means that if you are planning on using a zipper, this isn't the tutorial for you. It can be altered to use a zipper, however at this time I'm not going to include that information. If you are interested in that, please contact me and I'll add it.


This waistband will replace the waistand on any skirt pattern that you may decide to use as long as the skirt has a side seam, and the skirt starts at your natural waist.

Find your natural waist

To find your natural waist, bend at your waist from side to side and front and back. The place where your skin creases is your natural waist. Using a soft tailors measuring tape, place your tape on your natural waist and measure around your torso.


Using your waist measurment, divide that number in half. One half is the front and the other the back.

The front is simple enough, you'll just need to add your seam allowances. I use 1/2" seam allowance, so 1/2" on the left and 1/2" on the right, equals 1" total of seam allowance. You will need to add that to each waist band measurement.

The back is a bit more complicated. You will divide half of the total waist measurment in 3rds. The placket side (wearers right) add 2" to the 3rd measurment. The side seam (wearers left) add nothing to the 3rd measurment. The center is a shirring panel, double the 3rd measurment. 

The only other piece you will need is the continuous lapped placket. That piece is 15" x 5".

Make sure you add 1" to each pattern piece for seam allowance.

At this point you have all of your horizontal dimentions. Each of these peices will be 5" wide.

An Example:

If your waist is 30"...

Your Front is 16" x 5"

(right side back) 8" x 5"
(center back) 11" x 5"
(left side back) 6" x 5"

These measurements include seam allowances.


Use iron on interfacing to front, side backs (right and left) and continuous lapped placket. For each of these pieces, cut interfacing 3" wide x your horizontal measurement. Apply the interfacing along one horizontal length to the wrong side of each piece. 2" of each piece will be uncovered.

After applying the interfacing, fold each piece including the shirring panel in half, so that the 5" measurment is now 2.5".


Shirring Panel

Mark your elastic casings

You will mark the casings as follows:

1 1/4"
1 3/4"
2 1/8"
2 1/2"

Fold the 5" length in half along your 2 1/2"mark, and using a method called "pin basting", pin along every other elastic casing. Make sure all of your pins are set the same way.

You will sew from pin tip to tip. You will pull the pins out as you go. Using this method ensures that the layers of fabric won't become skewed as you sew.

When you're done it should look like this:

Add Elastic to the Casings

You will cut three 1/4" pieces of elastic half the length of your shirring panel.

You can use many tools to pull the elastic through your casings. I prefer a bodkin, or a Fasturn. I suggest you try a number of different methods to see what you like the best. Just make sure your elastic doesn't turn and twist in it's casing.

When your elastic has been placed in the casings, stitch them in place along both ends... back stitch over them to secure them down. You'll use a 1/2 seam allowance.


Complete the Back Section

The most important part of this construction section is to make sure that you place the interfaced side of Left and Right Backs on the same side. The interfaced side is the inside. The plain the fashion side.

The shorter section goes on the wearers left and the longer on the wearers right. You will attach the sides to the center shirring panel the same way on both sides.

1. Match up the fold line of the side panel and the folded edge on the shirring panel. Matching right sides together, pin the side panel to the shirring panel on the un-interfaced side ONLY.

It's a good idea to use your stitch line that holds the elastic in place as your guide. I stitch just to the inside of the original stitches, just to make sure that no stitches will be visible once everything is turned right side out.

2. Now fold over the side panel at it's center crease. Pin in place, and stitch it to the shirring panel.

When your done with both sides it should look like this:

Attach Front to Back

This is simple enough... you'll join them, right sides together, matching center creases, interfacing side to interfacing side un-interfaced side to un-interfaced side.

 Evidently, I forgot to snap a pic of this step. sigh... I'm a human after all.

Finish off Opening Edges

The Right side edge front, and Right side edge back are the opening edges of your skirt, as such they need to be given a finished edge.

You will simply fold those two edges over itself on it's center crease line, right sides together. Using a 1/2 seam allowance, stitch the edge closed.

At this point your waistband is done. You may however decide to put a stay stitch line on the interfaced side of your waistband. Basically this line of stitches helps you attach the waistband to the skirt. It's not necessary however. You can also apply topstitching at the waistbands top edge.

Appling stay stitching

Top stitching applied

Finished Waistband

The next thing you'll do is to apply the Continuous Lapped placket. I'll make a pictorial tutorial for that eventually, but until then here is a great video tutorial... Lapped Plackets are great!

My skirt with the waistband attached.