Birdsong Bows: May 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hair bow/hair flower challenge: A June wedding!

My husband and I got married on June 15, fifteen years ago! Does that mean it's a "golden" anniversary, so I won't have to wait for the 50-year golden anniversary? LOL! Anyway, it gave me an idea for our bow challenge!

The theme for this second challenge is "A June Wedding." You may make a boutique bow or bow set, a headband, a bowband, a funky loopy bow, a fascinator, a hair flower -- basically, anything you've fashioned out of ribbon or fabric -- following this theme. What do you think of when you think about June weddings? Use your imagination! :) It can be about the wedding, or about the honeymoon, or anything that reminds you of June weddings.

There will be two prizes this time! The first will be a "Judge's Choice" Award. Our judge is the very talented Kimberly of Cali's Charm. Kimberly is the group leader of the Bowfairies, a fantastic group of bowmakers, and Kimberly is skilled with all different types of accessories. Knowing her, she'll be looking for symmetrical loops, great colors and top-notch presentation. The winner of the Judge's Choice award will receive a $15 gift certificate from The Ribbon Retreat!

The second way to win a prize is through "Voter's Choice," just like last time! I'll put all the bows on the blog and will host a poll in the sidebar, beginning Wednesday, June 8. Invite your friends and relatives to vote for your bow! The winner of the Voter's Choice Award will receive your choice of either a selection of unused ribbons and notions from my personal stash, or FREE e-book from Birdsong Bows and Patterns.

To enter, E-mail your best photograph of your finished product (either on a model or not) to me at deanna [at] by 3 a.m. Pacific time (midnight Eastern) on Tuesday, June 6 (so, basically before you go to bed Monday night). Please keep your photos around 600 pixels wide, so that they're neither too big nor too small. No more than one entry/photo per contestant, please. If you're on Flickr, feel free to post a photo to the Birdsong Flickr Photo Group as well, for all to see!

Good luck! I can't wait to see your entries. :)

Thank you to Christi Nelson of Rawsii for the gorgeous photo!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Practice makes perfect!

A couple of weeks ago I showed some bows that we've done before much practicing! Like any new skill, bowmaking (especially completing the twisted boutique fold) takes some time and work. I liken it to the time when I learned how to knit! I didn't "get it" for awhile, but then my hands worked right and everything clicked for me.
Thanks to the women who participated and are willing to show off their work!
Love this bow from Joy!

Kimberley was certainly busy with this bow, which has a fantastic ribbon center!

Here are a couple of "after" photos from Dana, who tried both the funky loopy bow and the twisted boutique bow!

And here's a lovely summer-inspired bow from Theresa!

Theresa, who purchased the Birdsong twisted boutique instructions back in August, gave me the nicest feedback ever when she sent her bow photo. I don't like to toot my own horn, but I think she has a valuable comment for those who are on the fence about purchasing a paid tutorial - from me or someone else - vs. gathering up free tips on the Internet:
"People told me I wasted my money on your tut because of all the free instructions out there on the web, but I am here to tell you that I beg to differ! LOL I tried making bows from those freebies and they NEVER came out like the ones made with your tutorial. I love that you give the exact measurements for all the different lengths of ribbon and I have been told that my bows are some of the highest quality boutique bows my customers have ever bought. I don't have a full on business, but the ones I sell are always happy customers. I love your tutorials. Hands down the best out there!"
Not only was that a super nice comment that made my day, but it did remind me of all the time it took me to learn, originally with free tutorials on the Internet. There are lots of freebies, but you usually don't get all the "details" that can make your work fabulous. And that goes for just about any craft-learning experience out get what you pay for!
Anyway....I did a bow challenge in April -- and am gearing up to do another! Stay tuned for another bow challenge theme later this week, with a prize! :)

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The new Catherine Headband flower tutorial

Just last week I introduced my newest pattern/tutorial, The Catherine Headband. I wanted to create something a little different than what we've all seen and done before. I was inspired by 1920s ribbon work...those women of the roaring 20s sure knew how to make some beautiful ribbon embellishments!

Thanks so much to Carrie of EMA Photography and Christi Nelson of Rawsii for their fantastic pictures! Though I had these photographed on babies this time (because this e-book also tells you how to best work with fold-over elastic), this flower embellishment can easily be added to hard headbands or regular clips, or used with a pin on the back as a brooch.
And if you like to have "different" bow centers, these little ruched flowers are can make them in so many different colors and you won't be forced to run out and buy the cheapies from the craft store.

I urge you to take a moment and check out some other types of luxury ribbon, as well. French wired ribbon, beautiful silks, and luxury satins will add to the beauty of this headband. I've included some great suppliers of these items in the e-book for you! might find you have a new ribbon addiction!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Free Hair Bow Instructions: How to make a tulle carnation hair bow

I've been working on different ribbon techniques lately, and realized that some of the same techniques that can be done with ribbon can also be completed with tulle, for a totally different kind of look! This is a very simple hand-sewing project that's suitable for beginners.

Supplies (photo below):
* Two (2) or three (3) different colors of 6-inch-wide (15.2 cm) tulle. This can be purchased online or at most big-box craft stores, usually in the wedding section.
* Two (2) colors of Perle cotton thread to match your tulle, size 8
* A large darning needle
* A scrap of felt (I would NOT recommend 100% wool for this project), or buckram
* A 1 1/2 - 2" (3.8 - 5 cm) circle "template" to trace. I traced a baby jar lid and then trimmed the felt a little smaller after cutting.
* Scissors
* A pinch clip for holding your project as you work - and for use at the end to mount to your carnation bow
* Hot glue gun and glue
* A bit of 3/8" ribbon if you would like to line your clip

1. Cut two (2) of your colors of tulle to 30 in. (76 cm) for the base.
2. Cut one (1) of your colors of tulle to 20 in. (51 cm) for the top.
3. Layer the two long pieces on top of each other. You can also use just one piece of tulle if you prefer, but two adds a bit of "body" to your bottom layer.
4. Fold the pieces in half, width-wise (below).

5. Fold in half again (below).

6. Clip together with a pinch clip (below). Because tulle is slippery, you'll need to adjust your folds and move your clip as you sew. Taking just a little time to do this will make for a much neater bow.

7. Thread your needle with matching thread, and tie a large knot at the end so it doesn't slip through the tulle. Sew about 1/4 in. (0.6 cm) from the folded edge of the tulle, and complete a running stitch all the way to the other end (below).

8. Gather the tulle and form into a circle. Stitch both ends together, taking care that you don't accidentally twist your work (below).

9. Cut out circle of felt or buckram (below). A circle with a diameter of about 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm) is a good size.

10. Carefully stitch your circle of tulle to the felt or buckram (below). Make sure you catch all the folds. I whipstitched the back as well as completed a running stitch. Depending on how tight you gathered your tulle, you might see a "hole" in the middle front where you can still see the felt/buckram, but don't worry - our tulle center will cover this.

11. Complete steps 4 through 8 with the smaller piece of tulle (below).

12. Sew this piece of tulle to the center of your project (below).

13. Hot-glue and sew a pinch clip (or barrette if you choose) to the back of the project, and have your little one wear your creation with pride!

Labels: , ,

Friday, May 6, 2011

We all started somewhere....first hair bows

I sometimes get comments from people about making hair bows, hoping their bows look just like mine the first time they try it out. And I wanted to share this -- my bows didn't look "just like mine" the first time I made them!

I thought I had my original photos of my first bows back in August 2006, but it looks like I mercifully deleted them at some point. But I dug up some of my originals. I started making layered boutique bows in August 2006. Some of these are the singles I made that first autumn. The layered one on top was made in December 2006, a full four months after I started:

What could I have done better? Well, on the single bows, I really needed to use a longer length of ribbon to make them more full and loopy. I don't know whether the tutorial I purchased didn't share the length with me, or I didn't read it because I was in a rush, LOL! For the top one, it's not bad, but I really needed to shape it better, and the way I was doing the surrounding loops was not a very good method for making them even. I soon taught myself a better method (which I share with you in my boutique bowmaking ebook) and am glad I don't have to mess with floppy surround loops again!

I asked some of my friends on Facebook if they'd mind sharing their first attempts!! This is NOT to make fun of anyone, seriously! Or maybe we can chuckle a bit at ourselves if we want....but it's to show how we started. Sometimes it's prettier than other times.

Dana sent me before-and-after pictures! I'll just post the before picture here....(below) for now. I'll make a call for "after pictures" shortly and use it at that time.

Kimberly sent me a few photos, and I'm showing two of them below:

Joy showed her first bow photos that she made from my instructions, and I must say they are lovely. I'd be happy to pat myself on the back, but I suspect Joy might have some innate bow-making talent here. I struggled when I started; hers look like mine did after six months of practice, lol!!

Kimberley (note different spelling from Kimberly) also was willing to share! She said this is from a couple of years ago:

Stay tuned for some mini tutorials on my private video blog (which you can join for free with the purchase of certain hair bow instructions from Birdsong) - on how to improve your bows! And I'll have a call for "after practice" bows so everyone can see how far we've come. :) Thanks to the good sports who didn't mind sharing their first attempts.