Making ribbon

I got a few questions about how I made this ribbon the other day and in my usual style, instead of just answering what kind of machine it was, I decided to tell all about how I made it.

This is some I started this morning with that silky purple lining and some red embroidery thread. I decided this would be easier to handle if I made two strips at a time. Always seems that 4 inches of fabric is easier to handle than 2 for something exact like this. Anyway, i pressed a half inch under on both sides and I pinned it to strips of paper. I used the strips of paper as a stabilizer. you could use an actual stabilizer, but whatever you use, stabilizing the fabric is very important. VERY important. A single layer of regular fabric can't hold up to the tension of stitches that don't go in a straight line and the fabric will roll up on itself inside the stitches.

My "fancy" machine is a Pfaff 7550. You guys know that I collect vintage straight stitch machines. But, everybody needs a good machine to do things that the engineers of those old machines only dreamed about. I thought that since Sydney was sewing on modern, stretchy heavy fabrics, she needed a modern machine that was designed to handle that.

In letting her use this machine, I found a sewing match. Sydney and this Pfaff. They are made for one another. She was able to get great control over the machine and the fabric and she was a happier sewist.

I used my cone thread holder. I just love this thing. It's so much bettter than putting the cone in this machine horizontally. It's the taper at the top of the thread cone that doesn't work well with this machine. If the thread were stacked on the cone with a flat top, then the horizontal feed would work great on this machine. But, that taper tends to lead to thread knots if I turn it horizontally.

Then, I picked my fancy stitch on the machine. There are a couple of hundred to choose from. Flowers, vines, leaves, animals, snails, bunnies, circles, stars, hearts, ducks...

I turn the top tension down low. All the way to 1. I'm not using the same expensive embroidery thread in the bobbin and I don't want any of that other thread to show on the top. I could solve that by using purple thread in the bobbin to match the ribbon fabric...but I didn't think of that in time.

I line the folded edge of the fabric up with the foot and go.

And, before I ran out of bobbin thread, I got this far. One great feature of this machine is that I can start the pattern over from the beginning...kind of a reset button. When I run out of bobbin, i pick out the few stitches in the next pattern repeat and then I can start at the beginning of a repeat. There's no interruption. But, just because that's a pain, I was replacing the bobbin at the end of every row of stitching (remember that I was stitching 100" of ribbon at a go). That left me with a bunch of partial bobbins that we used to sew with.

If time had permitted, I would have continued the diamond pattern and then edged it on the other side with another band of greek key. And, I would have repeated those three rows down the other folded edge. Then, I cut it down the center and tear off just the edge of the paper and fold over 1/2" along the unfinished edge. That gives me a finished ribbon that's about 1 1/4" wide. Most of the paper is still in this ribbon. I don't mind that. It gives the ribbon body while I sew it to the garment. if the garment ever gets washed, the paper will dissolve. If not, it will always be there.

So, that was my ribbon making adventure over the weekend. Always learning new things. I'm sure there's a lot of stuff I can't do. But, there's just not much I won't try. Oh, and it helps to be a big ole tightwad. I had 4 hours to kill and judged that to be less expensive than buying 7.5 yards of ribbon. Since I don't know how much really cool ribbon costs, I don't know if I came out ahead.

See how wonderful rationalization can be?

Take care and have a great Wednesday. Lane

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Great idea and great instruction. Now I need to find something to try this on..