To the enterprising amateur, ribbon suggests all sorts of delightful possibilities. A good ribbon is an economical purchase, for it can be steamed and ironed innumerable times, and treated in a variety of decorative ways.

For centuries past, ribbons have been used as a trimming on dresses and hats.

Ribbons possess the practical advantage of not being spoilt by wind or weather, and are an admirable adjunct in the art of "doing up" the last season's headgear, and bringing it up to date, but the amateur must remember that ribbon-work must be carefully and skilfully manipulated to prove a satisfactory decoration; and a certain amount of daintiness in detail should be observed.

Every make of ribbon and every colour is usable. For ruches, quills, butterfly bows, cockades, and swallow turban effects, it is not necessary to use the expensive silks, but they should, of course, be soft and pliable, so as to lend themselves to the fantastic variety of treatment they receive at the hands of the up-to-date milliner.

The picture illustrates a ribbon ruche, suitable for swathing round the crown of a smart hat. This example has been economically manipulated out of a variety of short lengths of ribbon wired together.

Colour Schemes

Three tones of Saxe-blue lend themselves admirably for this model, or black, white, and grey is, of course, useful for mourning wear.

A corresponding ribbon quill accompanies this ruche, and is placed either at the back of the hat, or whichever happens to be the fashionable poise of the season. Quite an inexpensive ribbon will be possible for this ruche, 6 3/4d. per yard being the average price.

Six yards are required; or if three shades are used, purchase two yards of each.

Commence by making the ruche, to wind round the crown. For this, cut off three separate 1 1/4-yard lengths of the ribbon, pin these three, one on top of the other, as illustrated in Fig. I, then fold over into half-lengths, and your ribbon will appear as in Fig. 2.

It is now necessary to make a small tuck of about \ inch deep at the top, which is folded, and through which a wire is afterwards inserted.

What is known as a piece of ordinary "shape wire" is now required, to push through the tuck.

Measure round the crown of your hat.

If the crown measures 28 inches, nip off a length of wire 30 inches long; the extra. 2 inches should be allowed for lapping over and neatening.

This length of wire, minus the 2 inches left for lapping, represents the correct length of your ruche, which should fit round the crown quite evenly if these directions are followed carefully.

To prevent the wire cutting through the ribbon, bend over 1 inch at each end before inserting it through the tuck, and ease the fulness to the length of wire. The ruche is now complete. At this point it is advisable to sew the ruche on the hat. After having done so, open out all the folds, which method gives a soft appearance.

The ruche is now disposed of, and there remain three lengths of ribbon, each measuring three-quarters of a yard. Out of these make the quill. Cut each length into half, so that there are six lengths, each 13 1/2 inches long.

Double each lengthways (as illustrated in sketch), pinning it here and there to ensure evenness.

It is then necessary to make a small tuck, 1/4 inch deep, at the folded top of each length, through which the wire will be inserted.

A wide hat trimmed with a ruche and quill of ribbon is effective and smart

A wide hat trimmed with a ruche and quill of ribbon is effective and smart

The leaves or folds of the quill now being ready, a wire has to be inserted through each one separately.

Cut off six lengths of wire 14 inches long, lap over, and insert through each tuck, repeating directions, always easing the fulness to the length of wire.

The six leaves or folds are now sewn together. See Figs. 8 and 9.

The quill, opened out, is placed on where the ruche is joined, and the hat will then appear trimmed and complete, as shown in the finished sketch.

The dainty manipulation of ribbon-work is quite an art, and offers a field for useful and practical knowledge into which much artistic sense and beauty may be introduced.

Remnants of narrow ribbon, about an inch in width, can also be utilised as ruches for sailor hats. These ribbons are merely box-pleated, and wound round the crown of the hat, in the same way as previously described, and here again the three shades may be used. If preferred, a combination of colours, such as purple and cerise, or navy blue and orange, but these colours lend themselves with greater advantage for a useful hat for the country.

If a more fully trimmed hat is needed to suit the particular style of the wearer, a piece of box-pleated ribbon may be arranged on wire to form loops at the side of the hat, in addition to the ruche. Instead of loops, a cockade is very smart, and this can be arrived at by winding it round an "ear" to the height required.

Very pretty ruches can also be made of kilted ribbon; needless to say, a large quantity of ribbon is needed for this, as it has to be sent to a kilter, and the process of kilting reduces the quantity to a little over one-third.

Clever fingers can make a variety of ribbon trimmings in addition to the ruches described. There are artistic choux, aigrettes, and quills to be fashioned in ribbon, and these, when placed on the hat at a becoming angle, give an exceedingly smart and chic finish.

These diagrams clearly show the making of a ribbon ruche and quill for a trimming step by step one over the other

Fig. 1. Cut off three separate 1 1/4 yard lengths of ribbon and pin

Fig. 1. Cut off three separate 1 1/4-yard lengths of ribbon and pin

Fig. 2. Fold over in half lengthways

Fig. 2. Fold over in half lengthways

Fig. 3. Run a tuck 1/4 inch in depth at the fo!d and insert a wire

Fig. 3. Run a tuck 1/4 inch in depth at the fo!d and insert a wire

Fig. 4. The ruche is now ready to be drawn up and placed round the hat each of six lengths of ribbon

Fig. 4. The ruche is now ready to be drawn up and placed round the hat each of six lengths of ribbon

Fig. 5. For the quill, double lengthways

Fig. 5. For the quill, double lengthways

Fig. 6. Make a tuck along the fold for a wire

Fig. 6. Make a tuck along the fold for a wire

Fig. 7. Insert a length of wire into each length

Fig. 7. Insert a length of wire into each length

Fig. 8. Place the folds together, thus making six leaves to the quill as it appears with

Fig. 8. Place the folds together, thus making six leaves to the quill as it appears with

Fig. 9. The quill the folds placed one in another

Fig. 9. The quill the folds placed one in another

Fig. 10. The finished ruche with quill in position

Fig. 10. The finished ruche with quill in position