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.

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