Here is a French ribbon pansy pin I recently completed as part of a custom order. I took some work in process photos so I could show you how they are made. The ribbon is wired on both selvedge edges so it holds its shape. I’ve always been a big fan of pansies. When I was a kid, I loved to draw them.
First I cut two equal lengths of wired French ribbon and pin them together as shown. The black arrows show the direction of my hand sewn running stitch.
I pull on the thread and push all the ribbon down to the knotted beginning. I use very strong thread so it doesn’t break. I backstitch the thread at the edge of the gathered ribbon to keep it from getting loose. I flatten out the ribbon and sew this, the back 2 petals, onto a square of crinoline, using tiny stitches in the folds of ribbon.
I cut one length of white French wired ribbon 3X the length of the blue pieces. I fold the sides down at each 1/3rd mark and pin. Then I sew a running stitch as shown here by the black arrows.
I pull on the thread to gather the ribbon again and backstitch and knot the end. The beginning and ending knots are brought together in the back and stitched tightly. I flatten it out and now I have the 3 front petals of the pansy. I knot a short length of narrow silk satin ribbon and insert it into the center.
Next I sew the front 3 white petals on top of the back 2 turquoise petals, using tiny stitches, again hiding the stitches in the folds of the ribbon.
Step six is optional. As a purist, I sometime prefer the pansies “plain” but it seems many customers like my version with embroidery. I hand embroider some “rays” in coordinating embroidery thread radiating out from the center of the flower.
The next task is to trim the crinoline. I sew either a bar pin or a hair clip on a circular piece of felt in a coordinating color, then sew the felt to the crinoline. Now it’s ready to ship. It may look pretty simple, but it takes a lot of practice! My first attempts did NOT look like this.
I thought it would be interesting to show the step by step process I use to create these wild beach roses out of French wired ombre ribbon
Step One: cut 5 lengths of ribbon and fold in half. Use a running stitch across the width of ribbon 3/16″ below the halfway mark. Pull to gather ribbon and wrap thread around and knot. Then refold ribbon with ends meeting and repeat running stitch just above the ends.
Step Two: Sew the petals onto a piece of crinoline. Sew them overlapping into a tight circle.
Step Three: poke a hole through the crinoline in the center of the petals. I use the African porcupine quill in the center of this photo to poke holes and to push things into place. You can also see my collection of vintage stamens. For these roses, I use two crossed bundles of yellow stamens which I fold in half and sew around, then pull through the hole and sew them onto back of crinoline.
Step Four: I cut a length of narrow silk satin ribbon and fray one edge. I roll up the frayed ribbon and sew through the bottom of the ribbon, then sew the roll into the middle of the stamens.
Step Five: Sew 3 or 4 “Man in his kimono” leaves from green wired ombre French ribbon and sew onto the crinoline under the petals. The link here is to the book The Artful Ribbon by Candace Kling, who taught me all these wonderful things.
Step Six: This photo shows all the components and a completed rose. I trim the crinoline and sew a circle of felt with a brooch bin or hair clip onto the back of the crinoline.
I took this photo of wild beach roses in Marblehead, MA. You can find my wild ribbon rose pin at my Etsy shop.
I have been enjoying the wildflowers and not-so-wild flowers that are now growing here in San Francisco. Ceanothus is an early bloomer here. I accompanied my husband on a photo trip to Golden Gate Park. There was a sudden sun shower and the lighting was just perfect for taking photos of flowers.
While shooting photos of the ceanothus, I noticed an ancient police call box hidden among the abundant blooms. I don’t know when they stopped using these. The blue color of the box blends in well with the ceanothus flowers.
We drove to the Queen Wilhemina Tulip Garden by the windmills. Poppies and tulips were in bloom in beautiful colors.
I think that the small pink flowers belong to hen and chicks, a type of succulent.