My next project will be a bonnet for a bee


I got a bunch of ribbon on clearance the other day, and last night I was reorganizing my ribbon storage, and got a bee in my bonnet to do some for-no-reason-than-the-fun-of-it crafting, especially because after several days of trying, I had gotten my sewing room all clean. I also had gotten the idea to try using my smocking pleater to pleat some ribbon. So that’s how I spent my morning. (Quite possibly I have not even gotten dressed yet, although I would not admit such a thing on my blog.)

Here’s the first thing I made. (I want to try more.)


And here’s how my previously-clean sewing room looked after making one little hair-clip:


It’s not as bad a mess as it looks, though–it’s just boxes of felt, buttons, ribbon, and so forth. It won’t be too hard to clean up when I’m done playing–as long as the kids don’t get in there before I do.


By the way, I’ve found a way to store ribbon that I’m happy with. It’s not the most time-efficient method, but it’s space-efficient. I used to wind ribbon on cards, but that left creases in the ribbon, so now I wrap it around the four fingers of my left hand, then I wrap a strip of paper around that, and tape it. It’s probably not really a good method for 1/8″ ribbon (which I store in snack-sized Ziplocs after I take it off the spool, but it might have been better just to leave it on the spools) or for spools that have a lot of yards of ribbon. But for the little spools that have 3 or 5 yards, this saves a lot of space versus leaving it on the spools.


Then I keep it in plastic drawers (like the ones for scrapbooking) on a bookshelf. Nothing gets dusty, and it’s easy to get to when I need it.

Update: Here’s the next hair-clip. I have enough buttons to do possibly hundreds of these, and enough ribbon for at least a couple dozen. (But I will probably do a few more and lose interest.)

Ribbon_Clip_02(Although the light makes this one look pinkish, it’s the same silver color as on the other clip.)


Update: two more. I think I am going to have to stop for a while now if Christmas is going to come. I was just remembering today how the same thing happened to me last year–before Christmas I got excited about doing crafts with shrink film, but had to stop, and told myself I could pick it back up in January. And then I broke my wrist right after Christmas, and by the time it was healed I’d lost my momentum. Well, perhaps this January I will do hairclips AND Shrinky-Dinks.


Update Dec. 8:

Hairclips_more01 Hairclips_more02

Some clips with doubled ribbon, and a picture of the “sewing bird” or third hand tool. It clamps to the table, then the part on the string pinches the ribbon while I cinch up the gathering threads.

Hairclips_more03 Ribbon_clips_stuffed_horse Sewing_bird

Hairclips_more04 Ribbon_clips_Hazel01

12/21 Update

Sometime I’ll start a new post, but for now I guess I’ll just keep adding hairclips to this one. On this one the pretty button kind of gets lost in the black ribbon–maybe white with black polka-dots would have had better contrast. But Mabel makes it look good.



By the way, if you can see a smudge to the side of Mabel’s eye, that’s leftover adhesive from her mic tape. It becomes a permanent feature for her during shows.

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19 Responses to My next project will be a bonnet for a bee

  1. Um, I love your method of ribbon storage and may have to use it because I’m running out of space in my bin.

  2. I love your tree. I LOVE that Hazel girl. The ribbon barrette turned out great–very classy. Does your pleater pleat paper? I also love your new header. Children dancing around a Christmas tree is one of my favorite pictorial themes, and I have several representative graphics, but not this one. Where did you find it?

    And yes, as usual you have devised a terrific method for organizing ribbon, a problem that has plagued me forever. I’ve always wanted to do the spool-on-a-bar thing, but have never been able to implement it in my storage area. That you got your sewing room organized on your busy schedule is supremely impressive. To get any one room in my house organized has eluded me…

    Love, as ever,

    • zstitches says:

      I could have sworn I got that Christmas image from you, Mom! Go figure. 🙂 I’ll email it to you.

      I had to draw shoulders to go with my hair on the new header, and as soon as I’d drawn it I realized I made myself more slender than real life–but I didn’t want to have to redraw it, so I’m claiming artistic license.

      And right after I made that hair-clip this morning I realized that my pleater almost certainly will pleat paper! They will be very small pleats but it will be very cool for some things. I want to try it right away.

      • You may have gotten it from me–especially if it’s in my image file and not a card I own. But it could even be a card I own–I can’t remember everything, you know.

      • Also, neato about pleated paper. And I was wondering, do you gather (sew) the ribbon after you pleat it, or glue it?

        • zstitches says:

          Ah, here is where I realize that you haven’t seen my pleater in action. I will have to show it to you some time; it’s such a cool device. Oh, I’ll bet I can find a link to a YouTube video demonstrating one. Let me go see.

          Okay, this is long but if you skip to about 2:40 you can see one in action–mine is just like hers.

          If you watch for a bit you’ll see that the pleater has needles that are curved to fit between the rollers, and sit in little grooves. The fabric gets pleated onto the needles which have their eye at the other end, and which you thread–so that after the fabric comes off the pleater needles, it stays gathered onto the threads. (You do remove those gathering threads after doing your smocking stitches on the pleats.)

          So I am gathering the ribbon onto threads when I run it through the pleater. Then I just pull the threads up tight and knot them. (I got out my “sewing bird”/third hand tool today to hold the gathered ribbon while I tied that knot tight. I’ve had that tool for years and only used it occasionally, but it’s great to have it when I need it.)

  3. Ginger says:

    I learned a neat trick from a friend who does machine embroidery. She has hundreds of spools of thread. You can imagine the tangle of loose ends on cone threads. So she cuts a strip from clear plastic “tablecloth” fabric. You can get it at JoAnns and it is used as a protective cover for furniture and tables. It “sticks” to itself, so you have only to cut a small strip, wind it around whatever you want to contain and everythng stays put. I wonder if it would work on your ribbon project. You don’t have to tape it, and it is reusable. It doesn’t stick so much that you can’t undo it easily, but it does keep things in place when you want them kept in place.

    Aunt Ginger

  4. Jillybean says:

    If you think your sewing room is messy in that photo, then I will not invite you over to see my sewing room. Why don’t you have (approximately) 2,000 bags of fabric all over your floor like I do?
    Your room looks rather pleasant to sew in 🙂

    • zstitches says:

      I am actually pretty good about getting fabric pre-washed and put away after I buy it–I wish I were nearly so good about sewing it into something. I’ll bet you’re much more productive than I am. Also, remember that this is the *after* clean-up photo–this is only the mess from making one hairclip.

  5. Jane says:

    update… update… update… 🙂 cute!!!!

  6. the MomB says:

    The new button/ribbon hairclips are wonderful; thanks again for your posts.
    I have 4 black buttons like the one in/on Mabel’s hairclip! They’re classy, oui?

  7. Rhonda Beatty-Gallo says:

    Hi, could you please tell me the name of your silver tool that secures to the table and holds the materials taut? Also where did you find one? I have been looking and they seem to be “sold out”. 🙂 Thanks! Rhonda

    • zstitches says:

      Vintage ones are sometimes called a “sewing bird” (and are shaped like a bird with the clamp as a beak) or a “third hand.” I can’t remember whether I found mine at a local fabric store or ordered it online; I’ve had it for a while. I hope you have good luck finding one. However, lately I’ve found it just as easy to pin the center of the hairclip securely to my ironing board while I pull up the gathering threads–or I have one of my kids hold it for me.

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