Well, after wrestling for 2 hours with the Adobe Illustrator that I downloaded for a free 30-day trial, I have absolutely nothing to show for it. I was trying to import the photos that I had taken for this tutorial so that I could have a nice, illustrated How-To for y'all, but I just couldn't figure it out. I really get frustrated with myself sometimes, because I am so non-intuitive in the computer department. To give myself a little slack, I have never, ever worked with Photoshop before these past couple months, and like I said I just started trying to learn Illustrator. Oh, if only I had taken some design courses in college along with my art studio major! Not that they were working with the fancy shmancy upgrades back then that they have now, but it sure would have given me a basic skill level to bounce from.
There is what I feel as a huge, HUGE learning curve that is almost insurmountable considering the amount of time (or lack thereof) that I have to teach myself these things and the many many projects that are on hold until I get it figured out. What I need is a PAC (Personal Adobe Coach) who can walk me through the exact steps of getting me started on my specific project needs, then let me run with it. If there is such a thing, please, somebody let me know! :-)
But anyway, enough lamentations....
I will just have to write out my tutorial here and those of you who have absolutely no interest in learning how can stop reading here.
1. SELECT YOUR RIBBONS: You will need 3 or 4 coordinating ribbons of varying widths ranging from 1" to 1/8". You will also need a cute button and a needle (with a small eye) and thread.
The middle layer (the pink gingham) was cut into 4 strips of 6" lengths.
The top layer (the green gauze) was cut into 3 strips of 4" lengths.
3. ALIGN BACK LAYER: Lay out ribbon in formation shown, then carefully pick up and stitch through all layers repeatedly to anchor position of all ribbons. Just make about 4 or 5 stitches at this point, they'll be anchored further with each additional layer. Make sure that the last time the needle goes up through the ribbons, it passes through the center of the formation so the next layer will be centered as well.
4. CREATE AND ATTACH LOOPS: Take one of the 6" strips, form a loop and center the bottom of the loop on the underside, with edges overlapping about 1/4" to 1/2". Send needle up through the bottom of the loop, trying to get as closely centered both lengthwise and width wise as you can.
Pull first loop down the thread to rest on top of the bottom ribbons, then repeat process for remaining 3 loops. When all are threaded onto bow, arrange so they are evenly spaced and create a nice circular arrangement.
5. CREATE AND ATTACH LOOPS OF THIRD LAYER:
Using the same technique, make loops from the top layer of ribbon strips.
Arrange and anchor the top layer of ribbon the same way, but make sure your anchor stitches do not extend beyond the area that your button will cover.
6. SEW BUTTON ON: Place button on top layer of ribbons in desired location and sew in place, through all layers of ribbon. Do this at least 4 or 5 times, so there is plenty of thread holding your button and ribbons in place.
Your bow will now look like this:
Then, carefully fold the end of each ribbon in half and snip off the end at a diagonal, with the edges of the ribbon being longer than the center. Don't cut the edges of the ribbon very much (remember, you just evened them all out), just cut the middle of the ribbon out at an angle. Clear as mud? Hopefully the photo will explain things.
8. APPLY STOP-FRAY: Immediately after the raw edges are cut, apply a little bit of a stop-fray product such as the Fray Check you see here to every exposed cut edge so your ribbon edges stay crisp. It will usually dry clear, but occasionally the Fray Check will be annoyingly obvious even when dry. This is especially true with gauze-like ribbons, which is why I don't have any exposed cut edges of the top ribbon layer. If in doubt, try it on a scrap piece before constructing your bow.
9. SEW BARRETTE CLIP IN PLACE: Take a plain metal barrette (you can buy a whole package of them at Walmart in the sewing section, where they're sold as quilting clips to keep quilts in place as you stitch them), position on back of bow, and stitch in place on both ends. Take care not to let your stitches show from the top of the barrette, but try to include the underside of some of the loops from the middle layer for increased stability.
There you have it! Your bow can now grace the hair of some lucky little girlie-girl, or you can attach it to a headband or hat using the method I described a couple of posts ago. Have fun experimenting with all sorts of variations in size, widths, and colors, and may your little one refrain from ripping it out of her hair long enough to at least get a photo of your creation. :-) I'd love to see what you come up with!