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Ribbons and Bows

Martha Stewart Living, December 2004


Beautiful in their own right, lustrous ribbons are at the foundation of each of these bows. When choosing a ribbon, consider how you want the bow to look. Stiff or wired ribbon creates bows with perky loops that hold their shape; soft fabrics are great for bows that lie flat or bend gracefully. Here are some ideal pairings, with proportions -- of loops to tails, for example -- that feel just right.

Sash
This tailored multilayered bow with loops takes its inspiration from the feminine waistband embellishments of 1950s dresses.

Rosette
The abundant loops of this pom-pom-like bow make it a fanciful adornment. Satin ribbon has a radiance that highlights this bow's contours.

Layered Loops
These stacked bows look like scrollwork. The picot edge, made of delicate fabric loops, emphasizes the folds.

Medallion
Pleating grosgrain ribbon results in a pinwheel shape that is intricate yet sturdy.

Figure Eight
As the name suggests, this bow is created by winding ribbon into figure eights. Wire-edge ribbon helps the bow retain its form, but any stiff ribbon will do.

Classic
The timeless appearance of this archetypal bow with full, cheery loops and long tails is best when tied with a crisp ribbon, such as taffeta.

Winged
Who knew a simple square knot could be so lovely? Notches cut at the ends of the tails create "wings" that complete the bow's shape. We used silk moire ribbon; its stiffness is ideal for single-layered designs.

Tuxedo
This handsome bow -- its name an allusion to its cousin, the bow tie -- is created by folding, not tying, thick velvet ribbon.

Return to Bedecked with Bows.

Comments (1)

  • modmazel 26 Dec, 2011

    Wonderful work thank you so much for Marthastewart