| | Lessons Learned from Deconstructing
Hopefully I haven't earned myself some bad bow karma, but I took apart some of the hand-me-down bows I received from my cousin. Unfortunately there were some that were so beat up that there was no hope for them. I think my cousin just didn't have the heart to throw them out. I decided to try to recycle the clips and buttons/flat backs for use on later projects and learned a few things in the process.
1. Both hot glue and tightly wound thread work really great at holding the bows on. There were some glued on so tight that I bent the clip trying to get the bow off!
2. Sealing the ends of the ribbon is of the utmost importance. Nearly all the bows in the bag had tattered ends. I took my woodburner to the good ones and they looked 100% better just by neatening up the ends. I found no signs of prior heat sealing or fray check on any of the bows. By the posts on this forum, you all are real fans of heat sealing so you've got a leg up on the competition.
3. Some of the clippies were very nicely lined and some were really poorly done. I know you can't see the lining when someone is wearing the clip but you sure can tell if the bowmaker knows her stuff and takes pride by looking at the underneath. I guess it's akin to looking under the hood before you buy a car.
4. Cutting shapes out of ribbon is not the best idea. One of the bows was farm themed and the bowmaker cut out the shape of a pig and cow from ribbon (and the edges weren't sealed.) They hadn't held up well and were floppy. The ribbon just wasn't stiff enough to work. It would be better to find an appliqué or button.
5. A few of the bows had only 3 loops, 2 on one side and one plus 2 tails on the other side. They looked very odd in my opinion - I'm a big fan of symmetry.
6. Some of the bows were the strangest color combos I've ever seen. They must have been custom matched to a dress but I honestly can't picture the dress! The colors are so crazy they would never match a regular outfit. The lesson I learned here is to do colors that will work with multiple things. The more use people can get out of them, the more interested they'll be in buying them.
7. Headbands hold up pretty well over time. They looked the freshest of everything I received.
8. Bow hangers are really useful. My cousin had all of these bows on the long bow hangers and is was so easy to see them all and what would match the outfit Kate was wearing.
8. There were some real gems in the bag. The smaller, solid color bows were my favorites and Kate has already worn 2 sets of them.
I really learned a lot from this exercise about what counts when making a bow that will last. I hope these bows feel they had one last use before going to their final resting place.