Monday, February 2, 2009
ribbon trimmed linens
I posted my sister Cathy's tips about sewing with my ribbons a few weeks ago; she has made many things with them, trimming towels and pillowcases and placemats. Here are a couple more tips:
My ribbons are almost all polyester, which is, sigh, a plastic. The upside of this is that they are amazingly durable! and also that plastic MELTS at certain temperatures. I have a little wood burner tool which has been essential to making things with ribbon: it looks like a pen, has a variety of tips, and is available at crafts stores for under $10 (unless you get the fancy kits, which are overrated). I use a long, conical pointed tip, and a steel straightedge, to cut the ribbon when I don't want the ends to ravel. You need to do this on a metal surface (I use a sheet of craft aluminum, but before I found that I was using the removable base of a cake pan). The tool has to be very hot, and do watch your fingers! And don't inhale while you do it, as the fumes of burning polyester can't be good for you!
The other issue with this melting point is that if you iron over ribbon, you must use a low heat setting. Otherwise the heat of the iron will make the ribbon shrink, and if it is already sewn down, that makes for serious puckering. You can pre-shrink it by ironing it first, and then sewing it down, if it is going on 100% cotton or linen that you know will have to be ironed.
OK, with that, onto the linens! I used to buy white cotton pillowcases wholesale, sew ribbon along their hems, and sell them in pairs at bazaars. Lovely gifts. Sometimes, like my sister does, I would make the pillowcases from scratch; this is great for gifts, and you can choose from so many wonderful fabrics that way, but tends to get expensive if you want to re-sell them. I also would buy wholesale linen fingertip towels and sew ribbon on the hems, package them in cello bags and re-sell at wholesale along with the ribbons (when I was still wholesaling ribbon). For some reason a linen guest towel commands a higher price than a pillowcase or a kitchen towel.
One of these days, when I get further into web design (I do it all myself) I will include these ribbon ideas on my website. Until then, here's my blog!
photo: Kelly McKaig illustration: Anna Brewer