Making pretty bows had never been my strong suit. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t get them right. The loops ended up looking floppy, were different sizes and just ‘eh’. I’m convinced that one has to either have an innate knack for making bows, or be in a position that requires making bows regularly, resulting in practice, practice, practice.
Most of us don’t fall into either of those categories. So what to do? Ask a friend who’s good at it (inconvenient), buy a ready made one (too limiting and expensive), or just deal with ugly bows (ummmmm, no).
It doesn’t have to be that way. I spent some time looking on-line on how to make multi-loop bows, and although there’s lots of info, none of the instructions hit home. They were either too complicated to implement or not very clear.
Then I remembered Ann on Sutton Place has a tutorial on how to make bows that’s the best I’ve ever seen. The only problem is it’s for a simple, two looped bow, and I was searching for instructions on how to execute multi-loop bows.
Then it hit me. Why not expand on Ann’s instructions and add a couple of loops?
I cut three pieces of wired ribbon 24″ long and one piece 36″ long (same as Ann’s instructions). After stapling the ends of the 24″ pieces together, I simply laid them on top of each other as pictured.
The exact placement of the loops don’t need to be precise. Since you will be using a wire ribbon, you’ll have lots of opportunity to move things around at the end.
I then gave them a squeeze and secured the center with gauzy ribbon. Now, Ann’s instructions call for one more piece of fabric 6″ long to be folded lengthwise and stapled and used as the center piece. I decided not to do that for this ribbon and it turned out fine. (You’ll have to play around with the loops for a couple of minutes or so to get the poofy results you’re after.)
Notice the little ribbon ‘tail’ in the middle. That’s the ribbon I used to secure the middle and decided not to trim it. Totally optional.
As you can see, I like big bows on small packages ;).
I followed Ann’s specific instructions exactly for a burlap ribbon though, and was equally pleased with the results. This wreath is one I made a couple of years ago. (I spent HOURS cutting out these individual burlap and paper leaves and gluing them to a wire wreath form). I put this linen ribbon on it but always felt it was a little bleh.
I replaced it with a burlap ribbon that has a bit more oomph to it, and used two loops instead of three (only because that’s all the burlap ribbon I had). I really like the way it came out, and notice how it even covers the door knocker! Bonus!
I did come across an interesting video on YouTube about making bows which you might be interested in looking at. It involves using the side of a box as a tool for holding the ribbon in place and insuring you’re getting even loops. I thought it was a pretty interesting. You can see it here.
So now let’s get to the ‘wreath’ part of this post. On Monday two friends and I volunteered at the local Berkshire Botanical Gardens to make some wreaths.
This is the first wreath I made…
This next one was put together by Penny, and is a good representation of her style. Notice the ribbon and feathers and how they coordinate? And take note of the vine wreath placed on top of the evergreen. It adds depth and interest, don’t you think? (In case you’re wondering, the white tag on the wreath is required and indicates who designed the wreath).
This was my second wreath, and yes, I totally stole Penny’s idea.
This beautiful wreath was put together by Cheryl. Love the ribbon detailing!
And last but not least, Penny took a square wreath and manipulated it into a diamond shape. Simple, elegant and different.
Between the three of us we made ten wreaths but I didn’t get all the pictures. As you can see, a pretty ribbon can make or break a project, so it’s well worth the time it takes to figure out a method that works for you. If you’d like to see how Penny does her ribbons, check out this post from a few years ago.
In other news…
The other day it was so windy, the ribbon on my burlap wreath literally blew away (I found it and did a better job of securing it), but generally it’s been warmer than normal. Not so warm that I’m not looking forward to hittin’ the road with BAM in a couple of weeks :).