How to make a bow with streamers

November 17, 1990|By Lynn Williams

The following instructions will make a double bow with long streamers, suitable for trimming a medium-sized to large basket:

1. Cut two strips of fabric, each 8 inches wide and 54 inches long.

2. Set aside the first strip, which will be used for the streamers. Then cut the second strip in half widthwise, to make two strips of 27 inches each. These will be used for the bow's loops. Then cut a smaller piece, just 3 inches long, from one of the loop pieces. This fourth strip is the connector, which will hold the streamers and larger and smaller loops together in the center of the bow. (See diagram No. 1, page 1C.)

3. Lay the long streamer piece on the work board, with the print side facing upwards, and pour a line of fabric stiffener down the length of the cloth. Spread the stiffener evenly over the fabric with your hands. Then turn the streamer over and repeat on the other side, making sure that the cloth is saturated.

4. Fold each long side of the fabric strip to the center of the strip and crease firmly. The fabric should overlap a bit on the inside. With the hands, press the fabric evenly down its length, smoothing out any wrinkles, air bubbles, and excess stiffener. The result should be a 4-inch wide strip with crisply folded edges. (See diagram No. 2, page 1C.)

5. Hang this strip up to dry, securing its end to a wire coat hanger with a clothespin.

6. Apply stiffener to the other pieces of cloth, and hang up to dry. (Don't worry if the fabric looks a little cloudy when wet.) The strips should dry for 45 minutes to an hour. They will be ready to work with when they are crisp on the outside, but not so hard they are not flexible. The inside will be a little damp.

7. Remove the streamer strip from the hanger. At the center of this strip, or wherever you would like the bow to be, pinch the sides of the fabric together to make a neat gathered or pleated look. Hold this together with a clothespin, and set aside. (See diagram No. 3, page 1C.)

8. Lay the longer of the two bow strips on the table, seam side up. Bring the ends to the center, overlapping 1 1/2 inches. (See diagram No. 4, page 1C.) Pinch the middle of the bow together neatly. While holding the folds together securely, open up the loops to make a puffy bow. Clip the folds together with another clothespin, while you repeat the process with the smaller bow strip.

9. Put the large bow loop on top of the streamer, with the gathers together, and then add the shorter bow loop on top. Press together firmly at

the center of the gathers.

10. Add a little stiffener to the back seam of the connector piece. Wrap the connector strip tightly around all three pieces, overlap the ends, and trim. Keep the bow clamped together for a few minutes until it's secure, using a dot of glue if necessary. (See diagram No. 5, page 1C.)

11. Using a glue gun, spread a generous amount of hot glue on the surface to which you will attach the bow. (Be careful -- hot glue can burn.) Press the center of the bow into the glue, and hold for about a minute, until the bond is firm. Then shape the streamers into gentle ripples or scalloped folds. (Timing is important: The streamers must still be flexible to bend without cracking, but if they are not dry enough they will droop and fail to hold their shape.) Where the scallops touch the basket, secure them in place with a dot of hot glue.

12. Cut the streamers to size, and finish with a swallow-tailed end.

13. Stuff the loops with rinsed aluminum cans or plastic drinking cups to make them puffy. (Don't use paper cups, as they will stick to the fabric.) Stuff the ripples in the streamers with soft plastic wrap. These can be kept in overnight, until the project is completely dry.

14. If you like, finish the basket with fabric cutouts. Cut out motifs with sharp scissors, and apply a glue-base decoupage finish such as Mod-Podge to the reverse side. Place the cutout sticky-side down on a basket, and press down firmly with a warm, damp cloth.

15. After about 24 hours, spray the entire project with a clear acrylic spray finish (either high-gloss, or matte for a more old-fashioned look). Make sure the piece is absolutely dry before spraying, or mold can grow underneath the finish. Use several coats, allowing ample drying time between coats.

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