Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ruched Ribbon Violets

Use a Victorian postcard printed on fabric as the background for this bouquet of French wired ribbon violets.

This vintage postcard is just one of the more than 600 postcards that I have in my collection. Addressed to Mr. Ben Crim and postmarked August 18, 1910, this message on the back says, "Hello, I am having a fine time. Samuel". This image was printed on dyer's muslin with a freezer paper backing using a HP printer.

Violets are made using the basic ruching technique. These violets can be made with or without the fine wire remaining in the selvedge. Without the wire, the violets are softer and will spring back if crushed. If the wire remains in the selvedge of the ribbon, the violets can be shaped into a three-dimensional flower. You may want to leave the wire in one edge, but remove it from the other edge of the flower.

For illustrative purposes, these violets were made using 6¼” of size 5 (1" wide) French wired ribbon. The finished flower was made with the wire remaining in the selvedge of the ribbon. They were sewn with black bead 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 6¼” of ribbon and remove the wire from the selvedge if you want to. If you’re using an ombre (shaded) ribbon, the color at the top of the ribbon will be the top of the violet. There’s one fewer petal in the bottom of the flower.

· With a marking pen, make a mark 1/8” from the cut edge along the top selvedge of the ribbon and every 2” along the edge after that. The last mark will be 1/8” from the other cut edge. Turn the ribbon upside down and make a mark 1 1/8” from the cut edge and every 2” along the bottom selvedge after that. The last mark on this side will be 1 1/8” from the other cut edge.

· You can draw lines between the marks to sew on, use one of the many ruching tools that are available, or just “eyeball” the line as you sew. Starting at the top selvedge, insert the needle at the first mark and make a couple of very small tacking stitches to secure the thread. This will keep the knot from pulling through the ribbon, and will help to secure the gathering.

· Using a 1/8” running stitch, sew diagonally down to the first mark on the opposite edge of the ribbon. If your last stitch ends on top, loop the thread over the selvedge and come up from underneath to continue sewing to the next mark. Continue sewing to the last mark, making sure that the thread loops over the edge of the ribbon every time you change direction. Do not knot off or cut your thread yet.

· On both cut ends of the ribbon, cut off the excess ribbon about 1/8” from the sewing line. This ribbon ravels a lot, so you may want to FrayCheck the cut end.

· Pull the thread gently to gather. You’ll want to pull the gathers tight, but not too tight. Make each petal about the width of your finger. Take a few tacking stitches to secure the thread. With the thread still attached to one side, roll the ruched ribbon around your finger. Sew the beginning and ending knots together with a few small tacking stitches. Knot off and cut the thread. Turn the flower over and shape.

Enjoy your beautiful flowers...

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