Tag Archives: Construction Techniques

Four Loop Bow Tutorial

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I recently had a need to make a bunch of pretty bows, but wasn’t loving the tutorials that I found. I wanted a four loop bow without tails, but couldn’t seem to find that, so I modified one of the bows I found to suit my needs. This tutorial is so I don’t forget how I did it, and in case someone else wants to make the same bow. I used 2 1/4″ satin ribbon (single sided), but I imagine you could use whatever you want.

Decide how wide you want your bow to be. An 8″ bow was a good size for me, so I made my sections (below) 8″, which results in four 4″ loops and an 8″ wide bow. The original tutorial used 6″ segments, which made a lovely bow with 1 1/2″ wide ribbon.

To hide the tail, the ends are only 1″ wide. Mark the back side of your ribbon with a line or cross to indicate the center of the ribbon. I use a Frixxion pen, which disappears when subjected to heat (such as a steam iron). Thread a needle with matching colored thread, be sure to knot the end. I’m using a 2″ pleating needle for visibility.

Mark 1″, followed by 4 segments of 8″, followed by 1″. Cut and melt edges for a clean finish.

Working from the right side of your ribbon, insert the needle through the centermost mark. Fold one side over the center and insert the needle from wrong side into the mark closest to the center. Pull thread taut.

Insert needle into opposite mark from wrong side. Fold loop over and pull thread taut.

You should have the beginnings of a bow.

Insert your needle back through the center next to your thread. Do not use the exact same hole or you will undo your hard work.

Working from the back of the bow you’ve made, insert the needle into the wrong side of the mark closest to one end. Pull snug.

Insert the needle into the opposite end and pull snug. It should look like a bow!

Insert the needle back through the center and flip the bow over to the front.

Next, gather the center edges. Insert the needle back through the center, coming out between the top two layers of ribbon.

Return through the side of the ribbon and back through the center front. Pull taut.

Repeat on opposite side, then through the next layer (right side up).

Insert your needle through the center front of the bow, all the way to the back, and flip bow over. Work on the back of bow for remaining loops, folding the edges towards the front, so the right side of ribbon is visible from front.

Fold and stitch all bows to the center, as above. Flip bow to front.

Wrap thread around center of bow multiple times, adjusting bow loops for maximum prettiness.

To wrap the center, take a length of your ribbon approximately 6-8″ and seal the end. Starting at the back of the bow, fold your ribbon into thirds, and sew to back of bow.

Wrap center around front of bow, twice. Stitch tail down behind the bow.

For the project I was working on, I ran a ribbon straight across the stomacher, stitched the ends down, and wrapped the center around the straight ribbon as I closed the bow. Then I sewed the bow to the fabric for support.

A Tutorial on “Perfect” Eyelets

There are plenty of tutorials out there already, but it has taken me years of trial and error before I have achieved a “perfect” eyelet. The appearance of the eyelets are consistent, round, and non-fraying.

Summary: My process for each eyelet involves marking all of my eyelets with a dot, then tracing a ring, and backstitching over the tracing to define the shape. I use a series of awls to open the hole. The lacing ring is held to the backside of the eyelet, then stitched over in a specific pattern to create a nice round eyelet. After about 50 or so eyelets, I have the time down to 5 minutes per eyelet.

Materials: Patterns of Fashion (1560 – 1620) indicates that Cosimo de’Medici’s burial garments contained eyelets worked over a copper ring (p. 56). The image below, from Archivio Medici, appears to be of Cosimo’s codpiece, where it attaches to the trunk hose. The metal rings on the back side of the eyelets are clearly visible, though in other images the stitches of the eyelet remain.

I use 10 mm metal lacing rings from The Bad Baroness. These are soldered closed, unlike split rings, which can cut into your eyelet thread and weaken your eyelet.

I have had great results sewing eyelets using 2 strands of cotton embroidery floss (used in tutorial), as well 1 strand of Trebizond silk (see orange eyelets above).



Note: I assume you have already marked the desired locations of your eyelets at this point.

Step one: trace the lacing ring onto your fabric. I use a Frixion pen by Pilot. The ink disappears when ironed, and does not bleed into my silks.

Step two: backstitch directly on the tracing, trying to keep your stitches an even length. My stitches tend to be about 1/8″ more or less by eyeball. If your eyeball isn’t that consistent, try marking your desired stitch length on your finger with a pen as a guide.

Step three: open the hole on the dot. I use a series of three awls (shown below): the fine, sharp one to create the hole (local vendor), the green Dritz awl (craft store) to start the enlargement, then the hand tool awl (from the home improvement store) to reach the final diameter. The base of the last awl is 1/4″, the desired inner diameter of my eyelets. Smaller eyelets can be difficult to insert an aglet through.

Step four: apply lacing ring to back of eyelet, stitch through previous holes. After the backstitches, your needle and thread should be behind the eyelet. Bring your thread over the ring, through the center of the eyelet to the front, then down through one of the previous stitch holes. Repeat. Gently widen eyelet with awl as needed to keep the hole and ring centered.

Ensure thread wraps around ring on each pass from back to front.

Insert needle into hole from previous backstitches. Repeat.

Step five: stitch around eyelet again, inserting needle in the center of the previous backstitches. You are splitting the difference between each wrap you have previously made.

Insert needle into the center of each backstitch. Repeat.

With this method, you will circle your eyelet twice, which will help keep the eyelet even. You can tie off your thread or carry it between eyelets, similar to the below image of Cosimo’s doublet.