Putting together the sashes for a homecoming court can involve a lot of time-consuming sewing and embroidering, but ordering premade sashes is expensive. The sashes don't always come in the right colors or with the text you need. Try this quick, no-sew method for making sashes for homecoming, pageants or any other occasion.
Cut each end of the ribbon's length at a 45 degree angle to prevent fraying. Lay the ribbon out on a work surface and measure 57 inches from the left end of the ribbon and make a small mark with your chalk or pencil. This will be just past the center point of the ribbon. From that mark, measure 33 inches further and mark again. The words and decorations for the sash will go between these two marks so that they can be seen when the sash is worn.
Use a computer text editor to spell out the text you want on your sash. Experiment with fonts and text sizes to get the look you want. Block letters are easiest to read, and a very elaborate Gothic or calligraphic font may be difficult to cut into a stencil later.
Print out your text with the letters no less than 2 inches tall and no more than 2 1/2 inches tall. It may take some experimentation to get the size right, but keep adjusting the font size larger or smaller to get the letters the right height. If necessary let the text cross several letter-size pages, you can assemble them later when you make the stencil.
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Cut down the printer paper until your text is on strips 4 or 5 inches tall and trim off any extra white space on the ends of the words. Arrange the pieces of paper so the text looks the way you want it to look. Measure it again to make sure it doesn't exceed the 33 inches of space available on the ribbon.
Use a thin film of white glue to mount the paper with your text on it to the cardstock or posterboard. Use the yardstick to keep the letters straight and evenly spaced. Let the glue dry thoroughly.
Cut out the letters with a craft knife to create a stencil. Remember to leave thin connecting strips to hold together letters such as O and A which have enclosed spaces within their shape.
Lay out the ribbon for the sash on a work surface and use masking tape to hold it steady and flat. It is very important that the ribbon be laid out so that the longer side is to the left of the marked-off area and the short tail to the right. This will make sure that the letters are right-side up when the sash is worn.
Tape down the stencil over the ribbon, being very careful to center the text vertically on the ribbon and horizontally inside the marked section.
Stipple the fabric paint onto the ribbon through the stencil and allow to dry. Check the instructions on your paint for drying times and whether the manufacturer recommends multiple applications.
Remove the stencil and touch up any small areas as needed. Once the paint has dried the sash is ready to wear. You can trim the ends shorter if needed to fit the wearer, but be careful to keep the text centered over the chest and torso when worn.
When worn, the sash can be secured with a large brooch, a ribbon rosette or just a safety pin set through the back of the sash. If you aren't pleased with the crispness of the edges of your stenciled letters, you can carefully outline the letters with a fabric marker in a contrasting color. Test the marker on a scrap of ribbon first to make sure it doesn't bleed. Not all fabric stores carry 3-inch ribbon, so try craft stores or internet vendors if your local stores don't have it in stock.
Victoria Sweeney began her career writing testing documentation for software companies in Silicon Valley, and later moved into freelance technical writing. Since 1996, she has authored user documentation for everything from multi-platform corporate databases to independent video games to home hair dye. Sweeney studied English at San Diego State University.