Thursday, October 25, 2012

How To Make A Very Simple Bow-Tie Bow With Side Tails

Howdy, Earthlings!  Long time, no blog?  As always, still here...sort of.  I'll explain later.

Anyway, today is a "harvest festival" at my girl's school.  Dress up as your favorite book character.  We decided to keep it simple and dress her up in jeans, a striped shirt, and a red long sleeved shirt tied around her waist--casual Strawberry Shortcake.  Topped off with quasi-matching "inspired by" hairbows:

I like to keep it simple and classy.  I handsew almost all of my bows so they last for years (I have yet to have any of mine fall apart, and some of them have accidentally been run through the washer and dryer!).  While this may offer up some limitations with regard to styling--depending on your taste--it absolutely enhances the quality!  Anyone can slap a bunch of ribbon and other random crap together with glue.  For an example of this, check out my awesome fascinator made out of trash!  But I get strangely irked when I see little girls and babies with ribbon and bottle caps and crystals and other crap stuck on the side of their heads in a mound bigger than their face.  Just looks weird, man.  Keep it simple so you don't look back on pictures in 20 or 30 years and go "what the hell is that mess on the side of her head?"

/end soapbox.

So.  These bows are a little over 3" wide.  Which means you start with a piece of 1.5" ribbon about 6.5" long.  Here, I'm using, grosgrain that's printed on both sides; it was a bit challenging to work with it because it was more like twill than grosgrain.  Grosgrain that's not a single solid color is almost always printed with a design, and almost always only on one side.  This grosgrain was more like woven.  And it frayed easily.  It was reminiscent of boat canvas to me.

And, of course, these nice strawberry buttons by Dritz.

I am going to sew this bow with one piece of continuous thread, knotted at the end of each juncture, but not cut.   Check it out as I go.

Fold it in half (there are no wrong sides to this particular material, but your mileage may vary) and whip stitch, but not too tightly so you can lay it flat.  Then smooth out the seam.

Fold in half, and mark off the mid-point on the other side. 

Next, sew together the mid-line and the seam you just sewed with a couple of tight straight stitches, nothing fancy.

Now here comes the crimping.  See how it's straight stitched above?  I suppose another way to crimp it would be to straight stitch it like above, but more evenly.  Then pull it tight and knot it off.  But I don't like relying on tension and knots with grosgrain because it's an unforgiving textile.  The whole thing could pop apart.  So we must crimp, my children!

I'm going to put in 3 even folds.  Notice I'm not measuring off in careful increments anywhere.   Hell, I'm not even sure if this ribbon is really 1.5" or actually 1.25" wide.  Whatever.  It's all proportional. And please excuse my ragged hangnails.

Fold it in half.

Fold up and out one side...

Flip it over and repeat.


On those mid-line marks, straight stitch it but leave a small gap at the edge for the button hole (and note that I'm still working off one thread, knotting my work as I complete a sequence, using a french knot).  

Then I'm going to add the strawberry button to the middle. 

I left a little gap for the loop of the button that drops down to attach it to something.  I get it started by doing 2 very loose loops, then very carefully pulling the threads to pull the loops through one by one, so all the thread passes out.  If you do more than two loops...well, good luck yanking all that thread through without any of it breaking.  Ask me how I know.... (face palm)

I could be done right here.  In fact, I almost was.  Then I took a better look at the picture I was copying and decided I could do it a smidge better by adding tails.  (And those tails are different in every picture, yo.)

I could have added tails from the start by using a longer width of ribbon, and instead of stitching a tube at the start, stitching from about the midpoint and leaving tails to flop to the side as I worked.  But that would have meant pushing a needle through many more layers of ribbon, which can be very thick.  Or, machine sewing the whole thing and having to crimp it by doing a basting stitch and pulling threads.  Aye, no.  Easier this way.

Cut another piece of ribbon about 2" longer than the bow.  Fold it in half, mark the mid-line along both axes (up and down, side to side).  

Carefully, fold that piece around the center, then fold the edges down to meet the center.  Below shows that fold pinned.

If you sewed last at the button, your thread should be flush with the edge closest to the button.  Using a straight stitch, sew to the outer edge.  Knot off at the outer edge of the bow.   

Left with straight edges, it looks nice too.  I added a slight v-cut and used Fray-Check instead of heat sealing it. 

Pro-tip: before cutting material that frays immediately upon cutting, and you don't want it to?  Apply Fray-Check, allow it to dry fully, then cut it.  Add more Fray Check to the snipped corner.  Much easier. 

Nice and simple.  Bigger is not always better, people.  And it doesn't look like you have garbage piled on your kid's head either...well, I suppose that depends on your taste....

Anyhoo, I have another legit reason for slacking this time.  I had me some gory invasive eye surgery on both eyeballs.  Finally, after a decade of begging, I was told that extremely nearsighted and large pupil'd people like ME can get LASIK.  I went to my eye doc for a formal evaluation.  They measured my eyeballs in every conceivable way.  I had to look at a red light while a black and white spinning spiral whirled around it (they had to do that one about 3 times; thanks, you stupid ADHD!), they numbed my eyeballs and tested their moisture level.  They took pictures with a fancy camera that showed my retinas or something.  The tech doing everything kept making "hmph!" sounds as she was doing it, which isn't a good sign.

When I met the doc, he said he can do LASIK on 95% of the people who see him.  Of course, I was in the 5% who risked out.  Turns out I have lumpy, cone shaped corneas, and doing any sort of trimming of the cornea would give me Keratoconus.  And, I don't want that!

But, people with dry and tit-shaped eyeballs have another option!  FINALLY ONE FOR US, PEOPLE!  Implantable Collamer Lenses.  Oh. My. Gawd. 

I thought about it...and after a day of deliberation and negotiating, I signed up.  And it was gross.  And I had some really super gross and minor (but fairly entertaining) surgical complications, became the laughingstock of the surgical team, and humiliated The Huz with my anesthetized antics; but here I am 2 months post op and....

20/"count fingers"    ------->     20/15!!!!

I'll save the gore for another time.  Ultimately, I'm superglad I did it! 

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