you were a crafty girl of the early 80’s, you might have
produced some ribbon barrettes. Or perhaps you were the lucky
recipient of a set, fashioned for you with love by someone with
nimble fingers and a little free time. Maybe they were in your
school colors. Maybe they were embellished with beads at the
bottom. If you had them, I’m betting you wore them with pride.
Like me, you probably loved the way the ribbons hung down the
length of your hair.
Me, I had a wardrobe of ribbon barrettes: some grosgrain, some
satin, some metallic, some beaded. A girl never knows what
she’ll feel like wearing, right?
Here are some choice pics of me sporting ribbon barrettes in the
1980’s. My softball team was the Batesville Casket Company
Purple Hornets, so I crafted some satin lavender and deep purple
barrettes for game days (pictured above).
And here we have a jarring pale blue/deep red combo for a fourth
grade class photo (pictured below at right). I still use this
tactic, by the way: if you don’t have an accessory that matches,
go for one on the OPPOSITE end of the color wheel. Works like a
Basic Ribbon Crafting Method
two-bar metal Goody slide barrettes.
Cut two 1-yard pieces of thin, 1/8
inch wide ribbon. Use grosgrain or satin, but keep both in the same
fabric family, i.e. two satin ribbons or two grosgrain ribbons.
Choose your colors with care.
Sew the tips of the ribbons together
with a few tight stitches.
Place the joined ribbon ends behind
the curved clasp of the barrette. Pull each ribbon to one side,
while keeping the meeting point in the center.
Then tuck one ribbon through the
center opening and pull to the other side. Follow up with the other
ribbon. You’re BRAIDING with two ribbons. Easy!
Be careful to not bunch your
ribbons. You want even coverage of the metal bars with minimal
wrinkling and bunching. A little overlapping is okay. Work your way
on down. Enjoy the herringbone meshing of colors. Baby pink, ice
blue, baby pink, ice blue...
When you reach the end of the
barrette, knot the ribbons securely. If you’re not using beads, then
just knot the ends to keep them from fraying. If you ARE using
beads, which I strongly recommend, string them on the ends and knot
to keep them in place.
Et voila! Tres chic! You can make some to coordinate with all
your favorite outfits, schools, and teams. Make some for your
favorite girlfriend in matching colors, and plan to wear them on
the same day to show the world that you’re besties. Fun! Be sure
to have at least one pair with a white ribbon, so that you’ll be
all aglow under the black lights during your next roller skating
Fortunately, you can purchase some ribbon barrettes online, if
you want to bypass the whole shopping and crafting thing. I love
Retroeighties in pink and green, using the classic
two-ribbon braid I described above. How cute would these be with
a pink Izod, khakis, and a D ring ribbon belt?
Here are some barrettes crafted using a slightly different
technique than the one I described; the ribbons wrap all the way
around the barrettes instead of thread through the center. Makes
for a chunkier, more solid looking barrette. I love the
metallics in the
Victoria Arts & Crafts collection.
Check out this vintage look. Susan made that pink and black
barrette herself. She’s head-to-toe 80’s with black lace, blue
eyeshadow, and a Rubik’s cube. Rock on, girl! You look totally
(Photo courtesy of Susan Cleveland)
(Photo courtesy of Like Totally 80s)