Saturday, January 3, 2015

Adding Bows To Totes and Purses

I often use two styles of bows on my purses and totes, and have a few tricks to share.  I use a variety of gros grain ribbon, without wire, and prefer this over satin ribbons.  I have found my machines sort of eat the satin and twist it around easily, the gros grain is more forgiving.

First I apply the wrap around ribbon, I use monofilament quilting thread on the top, and sometimes on the bottom.  You can also use a cotton on the bottom in a matching color to the ribbon.  This way if the monofilament pulls the bobbin to the top it will blend with the ribbon.

  • Bag or item to be embellished
  • Ribbon
  • Fray check
  • Monofilament thread, I prefer quilting type, I find it thinner and stronger
Using a larger basting stitch, I hold the ribbon in place as I sew, I do not use pins as I like to reduce the amount of holes put into the ribbon, also it shifts so it does need adjusting along the way.  I sew on the top of the ribbon, and again on the bottom, two rows of stitching.  I also try to sew the top in one direction, flip and sew in the opposite the bottom row.  This helps to not have it twist and pull the bag out of shape.

Once you have the ribbon around the bag, you can decide on your style of bow, either a tied bow or a looped bow, I will start with the looped bow, for this will be using a different sample from above.

Start by looping ribbon back and forth, for this tote the bow is about 4 inches, pinching in fingers add 2 loops per side.

Once you have the loops finish off with a center loop, which will form a circle, cut end off and included in the center, fray check is a good idea on this open edge.

Pin bow, now it is ready to be added to your bag.  I remove my presser foot and use the "top" of my buttonhole stitch, but a zig zag stitch set at "0" would achieve the same result.  I tack this back and fourth about 6-10 times.  You can see the tack in picture 2 - remember this is a clear thread, but it is there.  Be sure to sew through and secure all layers. 

Repeat on the bottom, I just push the bow up to do the same at the bottom of the bow, now it is tacked on top and bottom, 

 Trim the thread, to release the loops, and admire you perfect looped bow.

Now for the tied bow.  I sew my length of ribbon, in this case I use about 20 inches, I sew it perfectly perpendicular to the ribbon installed on the tote.  I fold the edges inward to the center, then I simply sew back and forth 6-10 times to secure it in place. 

Using what I call the Martha Stewart method of time a bow, I simply tie it starting like this then looping as if tying a shoe.

Trim ends, and treat with fray check, your bow embellishment is complete.

Examples of each on a completed tote.

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