Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ribbon Leaf Tutorial

Last week I was hoping to do my ribbon leaf tutorial from the book Kenneth King recommended to me, The Artful Ribbon by Candace Kling, during the Soft Handbag Construction class I took last January. Well, I didn't have time last week because I was busy finishing my purse. Now I'm trying to work on three or four reviews in addition to the leaf tutorial.

I have used the ribbonwork techniques in her book on my muslin bag, assorted clutch purses, and my red leather purse for the Handbag Contest (all unreviewed as of yet but I'm working on that :) ).

Here's the Picture-based Ribbon Leaf Tutorial:

Source of Information—The Artful Ribbon by Candace Kling

Ribbonwork is both beautiful and easy to do if you have the wonderful book, The Artful Ribbon, by Candace Kling. This book was recommended to me by Kenneth King when I took his class, Soft Handbag Construction. Ms. Kling’s book covers so many types of flowers and greenery, yet a novice (like me ;) !) can create beautiful flowers after reading just the first two pages of the book.
I will demonstrate the concept of creating a basic boat leaf in this tutorial from the instructions in Kling’s book. While she uses illustrations and clear, concise directions, I have put them in a picture format so you can see how easy it is to create the ribbonwork from her book.

I will be showing you how to create two leaves in two different ribbon widths—1 ½” ribbon (wired), and 1” ribbon (unwired) to make the leaves shown below. The length of the ribbon used for the leaves is determined by RW (ribbon width). Kling uses no complicated math to measure ribbon for flowers and leaves. Everything is measured in RW. The leaves I’m making are between 7-12 RW’s. I measured the 1 ½” ribbon at 8RW (12”), and the 1” ribbon was measured at 8 RW (8”).

Shown below are the 1 ½” ribbon on top, the 1” ribbon on the bottom.


Some ribbons are wired in the selvedge edges. In order to create these leaves, the wire must be removed. The upper ribbon shows a wire that is being removed (both wires will be removed from the top and bottom selvedge edges). The lower ribbon is unwired grosgrain. See below:



The first step in creating a ribbon leaf is to fold the ribbon in half lengthwise. Pick up the right edge of the ribbon and fold it back over to the left edge as shown below.



In doing so, you will create a fold in the ribbon on the right side.



The second step is to fold up the lower left and right edges on a diagonal. Notice how the folded corners are not flush with the upper selvedge edges of the ribbon and that they angle slightly downward. Pin to hold these corners in place as shown in the picture.



Now flip both ribbons up as shown in the pictures below. Why do you do this? Because the book says it’s easier to begin stitching with the diagonal folded corners facing away from the person.


Starting to flip the top one...
Top one is now flipped up.


In the picture below, the bottom one has also been flipped up.



Thread a needle with a double strand of thread and knot the end. You will need to begin stitching the leaf on the right side (the side that has the fold—remember when you had to take the ribbon and fold it in half lengthwise? That’s the fold I’m talking about.) Stitch the corner as shown in the picture. I like to stitch three times at this point to lock my thread so it doesn’t pull out.


Begin handstitching (a basting stitch with approximately a ¼” stitch length) two-thirds up the diagonal side, then backstitch at that two-thirds point as shown in the picture below.



After backstitching, complete the stitching on that side and across the top as shown in the following picture. You can take out the pin after your stitching on the first side is complete.




Finish stitching down the third side but do NOT knot the thread. See the completed stitching in the picture below:



Leave about a 4” thread tail and cut off the remaining thread.



To create the look of a leaf, (I’m starting on the lower leaf/ribbon first), start pulling the two threads to create gathering as shown below:



Keep pulling, a little more, little more, and…your leaf should look like the one shown in the photo below:




I did the same with the upper leaf/ribbon so now I have two gathered leaves. *IMPORTANT*--Don't pull the basting stitches too hard because you don't want the gathering effect past the point where you backstitched. Take note of that in the pictures.




Now, take your fingers and separate the long, unstitched edges, open them up, redistribute the gathers as necessary.
If some of the gathers come out, pull the threads again to regather. Knot your thread when your leaf has the appearance you like. See the picture below.



And there you have it! A very easy ribbon leaf that can be created with various ribbon widths.


I hope you liked this picture tutorial.

If you are interested in ribbon work, consider buying Candace Kling’s, The Artful Ribbon. Creating flowers and other types of ribbon art are just as easy and can be used for embellishing hats, purses, clothes, barrettes, etc. Here is a link to my review for this book. It appears, however, to be out-of-print, but you can pick up a used book at a great price.

Also, some of my samples that I made recently of very easy flowers from the illustrations and instructions in her book are shown below.

6 comments:

Lindsay T said...

I'm bookmarking this tutorial! One of these days I really want to make some flowers like these.

2BSewing said...

Kat...thank you for the leaf tutorial. Your pictures are extremely helpful.

Paula said...

Great tutorial, thanks!

Keely said...

Thanks for the tutorial!

CharityinAlaska said...

Very helpful, Kat. This is something I really want to learn to do. I want to add silk ribbon embroidery to a crazy quilt I'm making for my MIL.

Corey said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I was looking for a little something extra for a few of my ribbon flowers and this is perfect!!! :)