Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ribbon Leaves

These instructions are for a basic leaf.

These leaves can be made with or without the fine wire remaining in the edge. Without the wire, the leaf has a softer look to it. If the wire remains in the ribbon, the edges of the leaf can be shaped and you can get a more controlled, three-dimensional look to the leaf. Experiment with leaving the wire in the outside edge of the leaf, but remove it from the side that will become the center.

For purposes of illustration, these leaves were made using 6” of size 5 (1” wide) French wired ribbon. The sample was made with the wire remaining in the edge of the ribbon. They were sewn with black thread to make the stitches easier to see. When sewing ribbonwork, I use a size 10 milliners needle and size O Nymo bead thread.

· Cut 6” of ribbon and remove the wire from the edge if you want to. Fold the ribbon in half, and place the fold on the left as you're holding it in your hand. The color at the top of the ribbon will be on the outside edge of the finished leaf. Fold the left side up diagonally from the bottom. Slip the needle into the fold, and bring it out at the point. Take a small stitch to secure the thread, and to keep the knot from pulling through the ribbon.

· Sew close to the folded edge with small 1/8” running stitches, and sew down the selvedge to the cut edge with ¼” long running stitches.

· Pull the thread gently to gather. Take a few stitches to secure the thread. Do not cut the thread yet.

· Fold the gathered point down to the selvedge once, and then once again. This keeps this excess ribbon from peaking out at the point of your finished leaf. This ribbon ravels, so it's better to fold the excess down out of sight rather than trimming it off.

· With the thread still secured to the edge, open the leaf up. Sew 1/8” running stitches from selvedge to selvedge about 1/8” from the edge.

· Pull the thread to gather the bottom on the leaf, wrap the thread around the gathers a few times, knot off, and cut the thread.

· Open up the leaf and shape it. I hold my left thumbnail in the point to maintain a sharp point, while I pull gently with my right hand to shape the leaf. Tuck the finished leaves underneath rosebuds or other ribbon flowers.

Enjoy your beautiful leaves...

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