Hi, I have had the same problems and sometimes still do
1. I agree practice, practice, practice...also don't press too hard on the ribbon when you glue it and wait until it has cooled on the inside part of the clip before you do the top side.
2. Good quality ribbon OR an applique...your best bet is the quality ribbon.
3. I put glue on the clip.
4. Have fun with them...don't stress...relax...they always come out better when you do it for the fun and not focus on the stress