Tag Archives: ribbonwork

Mee-yow!! We love the new Cats Cradle Dress pattern from Decades of Style

Hi there! It’s been a long while since our last blog post! I hope you’ve been enjoying your summer, wherever you are.

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I am very excited to share details about the latest pattern from the Decades of Style micro-line, Decades Everyday: #105 Cats Cradle Dress! This sweet sundress style features a fit-and-flare silhouette, patch pockets, and cage detailing at the neckline. I especially love how this style looks a little vintage and a little modern.

DoS 105 Cats Cradle Dress

When I first saw the pattern artwork for this dress, I got so excited. Beyond the fact that the new style is awesome, the illustration makes me super happy – I totally love the vibe of the model!

For materials, I selected lavender gingham check seersucker and red Petersham ribbon from the Ribbon Room. Though the pattern calls for 1/2” wide ribbon or tape, I used a 3/8” width and it worked perfectly.

NSB - Cats Cradle materials

One of the coolest components to this pattern is you use a tear-away interfacing to make the caged-ribbon neckline.

NSB - Cats Cradle tear away stabilizer

The instructions helpfully recommend using a temporary glue stick to adhere the ribbon to the stabilizer, which I did not use, but very much wish I had (the ribbon came out a little loose on my finished dress, so I will absolutely use this technique next time).

The fantastic notion I did employ? Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 tape! This product was super handy when applying my ribbon to the neckline.

To help me fit this dress pattern, I used my trusty E.S.P. pattern as a foundation when tracing off the bodice pieces of the Cats Cradle. This was one of the first times I’ve attempted this method with such great success.  It definitely helps that the bodice styles are similar and from the same pattern company. Aside from basic bodice fitting, I hemmed this skirt 1” longer than the allotted 2” hem. (I didn’t add any length to my pattern pieces; I simply made a smaller hem). I am absolutely thrilled with the results.

NSB - JV Cats Cradle dress

If you’re wondering about the crowd-pleasing capabilities of this style: I wore this dress to the wedding of one of my dearest friends and I received a zillion compliments. It’s a definite recommendation from me.

I love this dress and can’t wait to make another. In fact, I have a rad vintage jacquard ribbon that is just begging to be used for this style…


Do you have any summer garments in the sewing queue? Let us know in the comments below!

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Trimming a hat for the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is just a week away! Though we live many states away from the actual event, we still have the urge to celebrate it in style, which can only mean one thing: fabulous hats!NSB - Kentucky Derby header

We checked in with coworker and milliner Izzie, who kindly shared her hat-trimming expertise with us. She brought in several of her undecorated hats and used ribbons and millinery trims from our Ribbon Room to create several different looks.

The first hat was hand blocked from a natural color straw braid, and features a rounded crown and wide, curved brim. NSB - Kentucky Derby straw braid 1 untrimmedWorking in a rich red color palette, Izzie selected millinery roses & berries, vintage ribbon, and veiling for trimmings. NSB - Kentucky Derby straw braid 2 with trimmingsShe created a wide, layered bow from the ribbon as a base, formed a second bow from the veiling, and then nestled the roses and berries into the center of the bows. NSB - Kentucky Derby straw braid 3 trimmedThe resulting look is bold and lush, without going over-the-top.

 

The second hat was blocked as a cloche from a raffia-like, vintage yellow straw.NSB - Kentucky Derby raffia cloche 1 untrimmed To enhance the cheery hue, Izzie chose trimmings in sunny tones, including picot-edge vintage ribbon, leaves, and two styles of flowers. NSB - Kentucky Derby raffia cloche 2 with trimmingsShe began by encircling the base of the crown with the ribbon and tying it into a multi-looped bow. After arranging the flowers and leaves, she affixed them atop the bow. NSB - Kentucky Derby raffia cloche 3 trimmedThe final look is a sweet and simple monochrome topper, perfect for wearing indoors or out!

 

The crown and brim of the third hat were blocked from two different straws. NSB - Kentucky Derby double straw 1 untrimmedIn keeping with the color palette provided by the two straws, Izzie selected trimmings with a neutral feel. NSB - Kentucky Derby double straw 2 with trimmingsGreen leaves, little mushrooms, pale yellow black-eyed susans, and a brown poppy all lend to a more natural look. NSB - Kentucky Derby double straw 3 trimmedThe final arrangement is chic and modest, and would look at home at a derby party, a garden party, or rowing a boat on a sunny summer afternoon.

 

For those with a more subdued sense of style, Izzie also shared the perfect simple way to trim a hat: ribbon! For this straw fedora, she chose a vintage striped ribbon. The varied stripes in five colors look especially smart when tied in a clever knot.NSB - Kentucky Derby fedora with ribbon

 


Will you be attending a Derby party? What kind of hat will you wear? Share the details with us in the comments below!

Get to know a Nancy’s employee: Izzie

I am very excited to share today’s “get to know” interview. In addition to working in our Ribbon Room every Tuesday, this employee is also a talented Seattle milliner. As she is both an employee and a friend of Nancy’s, this extended interview includes questions we ask of our vendor friends! Please join me in welcoming Izzie.

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Who are you?

I’m Izzie Lewis and I am a milliner. I also work at Nancy’s.

How long have you been acquainted with Nancy’s? How long have you worked at Nancy’s?

I’ve been acquainted with Nancy’s for 20 years or so, through millinery and classes with Candace Kling.

I think I started working at Nancy’s in 2008, so I’ve been with the store for about 8 years.

NSB - IzzieLewis pink straw

Izzie models a gorgeous pink cloche constructed from vintage straw braid, trimmed with a ribbon rose handmade using Candace Kling’s techniques.

How long have you been sewing?

Well, I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember, but I was in second grade the first time I sewed a garment from a pattern.

What was your first sewing project?

I made a little cotton top with a sailor collar that zipped up the front. It was very cute. It had little puffed sleeves. The fabric was navy blue with white anchors.

Tell me about your business.

I make custom hats and I teach hat making in my studio in West Seattle. I work in straw, felt, and fabric, and find that whatever material I am working with at the time is my favorite. That can make it difficult to change seasons.NSB - IzzieLewis felt hat from scrap

How did you get started in millinery?

I started making hats when I found out that you could actually make hats. It hadn’t really occurred to me before that. I used to wear a lot of vintage hats, so when I found out I could make them myself I started pursuing hat making.

I actually met a hat maker – Wayne Wichern – while shopping at a fabric store in downtown Seattle. I was wearing a hat and he came up to me and said, “I really like your hat. I am a hat maker, if you’d ever like to have a hat made…” and I was like, “What? I can have a hat made?!” I had him make a hat for me and it was through that experience that I started studying with him. Years later, he explained that the day we met, he had just picked up his business cards and he was so excited about it that he came right up to me and gave me a card. He said that he wouldn’t have done that except that he was excited to have business cards.

My background is in architecture, which is still that idea of constructing things. When I began making hats, the architecture firm where I worked – Workshop 3D – had a gallery within the space. My boss asked me to do a millinery show, so I started putting together group shows every spring and fall. These shows became one of the foundations of the millinery community in Seattle.

What is your most recently completed project?

I make garments for myself on occasion. My most recent garment was the sheer overdress/printed cotton underdress for the Nancy’s anniversary sale.

I’m also currently completing a variety of straw hats for a group hat show, which is happening on Saturday, April 2nd. The show, which I am doing as part of the Millinery Artisan Group Northwest, takes place 10am-4pm, at the Phinney Neighborhood Center.

NSB - IzzieLewis parisisal straw vintage roses and veiling

A parisisal straw hat is trimmed with vintage veiling and roses

Do you have a most memorable or favorite project?

I did a fun project in 2015, which started out as a little tweed top hat. I bought a yard of fabric and made the top hat. I had fabric left over, so I thought I’d make another hat. I made a cloche, and there was still fabric remaining, so I made a little cap. Then I just decided to keep on going until I had used every scrap of fabric. I think I ended up with seven or eight hats, the last one being this tiny headpiece on a headband.

It was a fun project that kind of developed on its own, but is in keeping with what I like to do, which is use scraps. One of my signature hats is a felt hat that is made of scraps and pieces left over from other hats.

NSB - IzzieLewis felt cloche made from scrap

Scraps from at least five different hats come together to create this fantastic cloche

Another memorable project was The Great Blocking Marathon. I invited students (former and current) and local hat makers to help block nearly every form that I have in the studio. We worked for 2 days, with a break to sleep and we blocked approximately 50 hats!

NSB - izzielewis great blocking marathon

Hat blocks used for The Great Blocking Marathon

What project is next?

This coming Saturday, April 2nd I have the group show at the Phinney Neighborhood Center. I will be there selling spring and summer hats. There will also be a special exhibit as part of the show: we were given a millinery challenge to create an “elemental” hat. The hat I am contributing evokes the element of whimsy. It was created from the scraps of an oddly sized straw cartwheel, which I combined with some vintage trims (editor’s note: “cartwheel” is a name for a large, unblocked piece of straw or felt).

NSB - IzzieLewis hat element of whimsy

‘Whimsy’ is perfectly captured by curvilinear form and vintage blossoms

In general, I’m working my way through a lot of the vintage trimmings and do-dads in my studio, attempting to use them all. For most of my hats, the trims are an integral part of the design, not just added on. For this new project, it’s more that I am making these hats and adding these vintage pieces. The challenge is: am I taking these vintage materials and making pieces that look like vintage pieces, or am I taking these vintage materials and creating something that looks new and fresh? I’d love to be able to have my pieces look fresh and modern.

NSB - IzzieLewis sinamay straw vintage irises

Vintage irises are the perfect trimming for this sinamay straw hat

What do you love most about Nancy’s?

Well, the Ribbon Room, of course! I love all of the conversations about different design ideas that happen in the store, and how helpful and knowledgeable the staff is. And seeing all the projects that people bring into the shop.

Thanks, Izzie! It is such a delight to see what our very talented staff creates!

If you are interested in contacting Izzie about having a custom hat made, or in taking classes with her, find her on Facebook or her website. And if you are in the Seattle area this coming Saturday, April 2nd, be sure to check out her show at the Phinney Neighborhood Center! More details can be found on the show’s event page here.

All photographs in this post courtesy of Nancy’s Sewing Basket and Izzie Lewis and may not be used without express permission.

Get to know a Nancy’s employee: Susan

Today’s “get to know” interviewee might be best known as the ‘Ribbon Lady’. An accomplished historical costumer, she inspires everyone around her to fall in love with vintage textiles and trims and to appreciate the stories they carry. Please welcome Susan.

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Who are you?
My name is Susan, though I also answer to ‘Ribbon Lady’.

How long have you worked at Nancy’s?
I think it’s been 18 years.

How long have you been sewing?
Since I was a very small child. As a toddler, I started with a yarn needle (my mother would thread it for me) and I would sit and sew for hours. I can hardly remember a time when I didn’t sew.

Do you have a special focus?
Handwork and historical costuming, though to me they are one and the same. I’m interested in basically all costuming eras aside from the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s. My favorite costumes to create are from the 18th century and Edwardian eras, as both are suited to lots of handwork. Where 18th century styles have fairly simple construction, Edwardian construction is a bit more challenging, which I enjoy.

NSB - gtks yellow gown bodice

The design and color palette for this c.1755 style gown was inspired by the small piece of antique fly fringe at the top of the stomacher.

My costuming process begins with my collection of textiles and trims. It is a slow process; I collect items and create kits of fabric and trims. I use mostly antique and vintage trims, as antique yardage is more difficult to find and more fragile. The starting point for a given costume is usually a single item, like a button or a trim; sometimes it is a tiny piece of 18th century fly fringe, sometimes it is a piece of fabric from the 1920s.

NSB - gtks harlequin detail

A black-and-cream checkerboard fabric from the 1920s and vintage cherry motifs inspired this 18th century costume with harlequin details.

What was your first sewing project?
The first true project was sewing doll clothes. I had very well dressed dolls, in many eras of historical costume. Sewing and historical costume go hand-in-hand for me; the clothing of other eras has always been of more interest to me than the clothing I could see on the street.

What is your most recently completed project?
An Edwardian ball gown skirt, made in silk brocade with antique butterflies and antique Art Nouveau trim. The silk brocade is a very deep navy blue, the butterflies are black backed in gold metallic fabric with a slight pleat; it is a moody and mysterious color palette. I’m still working on the bodice that goes with it.

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One of Susan’s completed Edwardian ball gowns, a true 1901 shape. Her recently completed skirt and soon-to-be finished bodice have a similar silhouette.

Do you have a most memorable or favorite project?
The most memorable project would be my daughter’s wedding dress. When I started making it, I believed I had six months to complete it. Then she was awarded an overseas scholarship that had to be used immediately, so the wedding was moved up five months. I completed it in three and a half weeks.

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The bride, Susan’s daughter, and her groom on their wedding day.

It is an 18th century style gown made in a color palette best described as ‘triple cream French vanilla’. The dress is vanilla-colored silk dupioni, with monochromatic embellishment, including embroidery, ribbon embroidery, beading, and dimensional ribbonwork. Most of this dress was made with modern materials, but I did use a gorgeous antique woven tubular silk ribbon. Though the tube is flattened, it still has a lovely dimensionality.

NSB - gtks wedding stomacher detail NSB - gtks wedding skirt embroidery detail NSB - gtks wedding skirt detail NSB - gtks wedding skirt side detail

My favorite project is one of the two things that I made without a deadline: an 18th century ensemble.The skirt was made of cream-colored wool challis, which I embroidered using antique thread. Some of the embroidery – a double wave of pearls winding around the skirt – was inspired by something I saw on an 18th century skirt. The floral motifs were informed by the availability of colors in the antique thread. My mother was a florist and I spent lots of time in her shop when I was young; I used my memories of different flowers to create the motifs, which include lilies of the valley, pansies, forget-me-nots, sweet peas, tiger lilies, anemones, and morning glories. Because I didn’t have a deadline, I was able to spend time experimenting with the flowers. It was lovely.

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Susan in her favorite 18th century ensemble

NSB - gtks favorite 18th c ensemble

To coordinate, I made a Pierrot jacket using an incredible antique 18th century silk fabric in brown with a woven stripe. I trimmed the jacket with white silk organza ruffles, two 18th century metallic trims (one ruffled, the other serpentine), and ribbon and thread buttons from the Victorian era. It wasn’t the most ornate or structurally complex costume I have made, but I felt totally at home in it and it remains a favorite.

NSB - gtks favorite pierrot front NSB - gtks favorite pierrot back NSB - gtks peplum detail

What project is next?
At present, I am preparing for an exhibition of my costumes, which will take place November 11th through 15th at the Glenn Hughes Penthouse Theater at the University of Washington. The show will feature more than 50 costumes, ranging in date from the late 17th century (Cavalier era) through the 1920s.

NSB - gtks collar detail

In terms of costume, I have several works in progress: an embroidered 1920s coat and the bodice to the Edwardian ball gown skirt, among others. I plan to finish the Edwardian bodice next.

What do you love most about Nancy’s?
The quality of the staff and the quality of the merchandise. And the Ribbon Room, of course! The Ribbon Room and I were made for each other.

Thank you Susan! We are all so excited to see your costumes on display in November. To learn more about Susan’s exhibit, including glimpses into her incredible historical wardrobe, please go to the event website: Art of the Costume.

All photographs in this post courtesy of Nancy’s employee Susan and may not be used without express permission.

Interview with a store department: the Ribbon Room

Today we get to know a favorite space in the store – the Ribbon Room!

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Who are you?
Hello, I’m the Ribbon Room!

Where do you reside at Nancy’s?
I have a cozy little room in the back right-hand corner of the store. Because I have my own room, some people miss me on their first (or second!) visit to the shop.NSB - RR df satin and petersham

Do you have a special focus?
Yes! I am home to the exquisite ribbons and trims carried at Nancy’s, in addition to millinery supplies like flowers and veiling, specialty buttons, and fun little gifts. For ribbons, there are lots of great basics – like rayon Petersham grosgrain, double-face satin in both silk and polyester, and sheer polyester organdy ribbons – but we also have an incredible selection of vintage ribbons, heirloom laces, and trims.

NSB - RR dessert case

The ‘dessert’ case holds some of our most beautiful and expensive ribbons and trims. Many are vintage, some are reproductions, all are truly exquisite.

As Susan, the ‘ribbon lady’, puts it: the Ribbon Room is where we keep the dessert.

What is your most recently received product?
We just got a large shipment of lovely millinery flowers, including some fun little toadstools! We also received a fun selection of vintage flowers.

NSB - RR flowers and toadstools

Do you have a current favorite product?
A few months back we got a huge selection of vintage ribbons, including exquisite taffeta and lustrous satin in a rainbow of interesting colors.

NSB - RR vintage satin and taffeta

Among the vintage options was this fabulous double face ribbon: velvet on one side, satin on the other. It is a silk and cotton blend, with the most luxurious hand. The color, called Hula Brown, is very beautiful, but what makes it interesting is the satin and velvet sides are different hues, like dark and milk chocolate.

NSB - RR hula brown satin velvet

Plus, the packaging on the vintage options is incredibly charming!

NSB - RR oriole label

Check out this label!

Any favorite projects you’ve seen made from your wares?
Goodness, this is difficult to answer. Like the woolens department, we have sold so much ribbon, veiling, and trims throughout the years that this answer could be a mile long.

There are a lot of projects that are fun, but not necessarily unique. We work with lots of brides who are looking for ribbons to trim their invitations and programs, to make a veil, or who simply want a colorful sash. We are lucky to carry the embroidered trims, laces, and insertions that go into heirloom sewing, so we get to help people making christening gowns. We also sell ribbon for things as simple as hair-bows and gifts, which are delightful.

NSB - RR striped grosgrain

Beyond that, some highlights do spring to mind: Every time Candace Kling comes to teach a class at Nancy’s, we get to see our wares turn into incredible work: striped grosgrains become cockades, wired ribbon and stamens blossom into flowers, and much more.

NSB - RR stamens and flowers

Working with antique doll collectors and miniaturists is always fun and surprising. It is also incredibly enjoyable to help people find the perfect trimmings for costumes, whether historical, for a local theater production, or for a kid’s Halloween costume!

Thank you, Ribbon Room! It is always fun to see your treasures!

From now until the end of the Nancy’s anniversary sale, the Ribbon Room will be featured for daily specials on Tuesday, Sept 15th (15% off flowers), Wednesday, Sept 16th & Friday, Sept 18th (15% off buttons), and Sunday, Sept 20th (15% off ribbons)!

All pictures in this post copyright of Nancy’s Sewing Basket, LLC. Special thanks to Kam Martin for her photography skills.

Meet a friend of Nancy’s: Candace Kling

Today we are thrilled to share an interview with someone who is very special to Nancy’s Sewing Basket. She is a vendor, a friend, and an artist. You may know her as author of the exquisite book The Artful Ribbon, who also teaches workshops in our store.

Please welcome ribbon goddess, Candace Kling.

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Who are you?
Candace Kling, Oakland CA

What is your business?
My tax return says artist/teacher.

How did you get started?
I studied flat pattern drafting at a local junior college, later teaching it, as well as dress-form-making, at the California College of Arts and Crafts. I made custom wedding dresses for a one-of-a-kind, handmade clothing store called Sew What in Berkeley, California. My husband and I made hand-painted clothing using Inkodye.

In the 1980s, I worked at Bizarre Bazaar, a vintage clothing store in Oakland, California. Since then, I have been researching ribbon and fabric embellishment (mainly on garments and accessories). I’ve traveled around the country exploring museum costume and textile collections, private holdings, and libraries with vintage sewing books and periodicals. I’ve coupled those travels with a busy schedule of lecturing and teaching all the techniques that I have learned and continue to learn. My book, The Artful Ribbon, seems still to be a favorite among ribbon fans.

From the onset of my discovery of this wealth of vintage knowledge, I have tried to incorporate parts of it into my own artwork. My richly detailed textile sculptures (helmets and headdresses as well as diminutive candy boxes and monumental waterfalls) have been exhibited nationally and internationally over the last 30 years and are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Arts and Design and the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and The Oakland Museum of California.

‘Red Rainbow’ by Candace Kling, 1980.

‘Cobra’ by Candace Kling, 1986.

‘Love with a Bite’ by Candace Kling, 1988.

‘White’ by Candace Kling, 1980.

What is your connection with Nancy’s Sewing Basket?
In February 1994 I presented my artwork (helmets and headdresses) and taught ribbon classes at Costume Con 12 in Santa Clara, California. Agnes Gawne (costumer and most excellent instructor of fashion history at Seattle’s New York Fashion Academy) took one of my classes and liked what she learned. She returned to Seattle and convinced Nancy’s store manager Tamara to hold ribbon classes sponsored by the store in conjunction with NYFA. I’ve been coming to NSB periodically ever since. It is such a bonus for my students to have a ribbon room and a ribbon expert extraordinaire (Susan, the ‘ribbon lady’) “in house”. But the real bonus…girlfriends!

NSB - CK bunting for Oak Mus - hist document

Bunting made for a 19th century document at The Oakland Museum of California history section.

What is your most recently released product or completed project?
Victory is measured in increments. So rather than being able to report publication of my second book (focusing on fabric flowers), I can say that I have been working all this year on it. Three hundred images are mostly edited to perfection and eight chapters are pretty darn smooth.

Candace Kling fabric flowers board

Examples of fabric flowers made by Candace Kling.

Candace Kling cabochons board

Candace Kling created these cabochon style flowers from fabric and ribbon.

Do you have a most memorable or favorite project?
In 2005 I participated in a “wedding” themed show at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco CA. I created “Massacre at Bridal Veil Falls”, a 15-foot-tall textile sculpture. I worked on the piece for four months, pressing, stitching, gathering and tacking, 250 yards of fabric at least. Throughout, the work lived sideways on a long table in a low-ceilinged room. Only on gallery-moving day did it take its upright position.

‘Massacre at Bridal Veil Falls’ by Candace Kling, 2005. Photo by John Bagley.

It was my biggest “Tada!” moment ever. So much bigger than me, and in my mind’s eye that day, magnificent.

A true ‘Tada!’ Candace Kling at installation.

What is next?
Back to the book!

Thank you so much, Candace! It sounds like you are making excellent progress on your book! As always, we are very excited to host your upcoming classes.

If you are interested in taking a workshop with Candace in October, please head over to our website to view our class schedule.

Photographs in this post are courtesy of Candace Kling. If you would like to learn more about Candace, and see more pictures of her work, check out her website CandaceKling.com. Additional pictures of her work can also be found on Patrice Krem’s pinterest board. Photograph in header by Debbie Bone-Harris.

Rococo ribbon rosettes

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Rococo ribbon is a fantastic ¼” wide 100% polyester ribbon with gradient color across the width and picot edging on both sides. We love this ribbon for many reasons, including its versatility in application and its ability as a trim to pull disparate fabrics together.

NSB - rococo ribbon colors

Today we are sharing a quick and easy-to-make flower using this fabulous ribbon! This little flower is the perfect addition to clothing (especially when sewn in clusters!), gifts and handmade cards, doll clothing and accessories, and so much more.

We made a fun short video tutorial to show you how to make a Rococo rosette. Hope you enjoy!

SUPPLIES & TOOLS

  • ‘Rococo’ ribbon, minimum cut of 3” (can substitute any 100% polyester ribbon in its stead, though you will need more length if you use a wider ribbon); each length will make two flowers
  • scissors
  • lighter or candle (flame needs to be accessible, so recommend tapers over votives)
  • ruler
  • floral stamens (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut a 3” to 4” length of ribbon
  2. Cut ribbon length in half at an angle
  3. Using lighter or candle, melt the squared end of the ribbon
  4. On the long angled cut, find and pull a thread close to the ribbon’s edge; this will create the gathers along the full ribbon length
  5. Holding gathers in place, use your flame to melt the angled cut edge
  6. Voila! You have made a Rococo ribbon rosette!
  7. Repeat steps 3 through 5 with the second half of your ribbon;
  8. Optional: If you want to add stamens, fold in half and insert into the flowers center; catch in place when sewing to your project