Before ordering bells, ribbon, or leather to make your new bell pads, check with the Bag to see what the team already has in stock. You can usually receive a discounted CDSS member price by obtaining bells through the team.
2 - 7“ x 7” black or dark brown leather squares (pick something flexible but strong1)).
The ribbon is all 7/8“ width grosgrain ribbon cut into 12 1/2” pieces. The yellow and blue ribbons are primary colors (bright yellow and royal blue). The other colored ribbons are accent colors. Ribbon in Hounds colors should be available from most sewing supply stores. Online mailorder sources include Tea Party Ribbons, JKM Ribbon, Offray Ribbon and American Ribbon.
30 medium plus (1 1/8“) morris bells. Available from the Country Dance and Song Society (search for “morris bells”; avoid the “jingle bells”).
4 black ties (see instructions for details) string to secure bells to pads
Cut four parallel slits in each bell pad leather. Each slit should be 1 3/4” away from the top and bottom edge of the leather (don't go too close). Space the slits 1“ apart and 2” away from the right and left sides of the pad.
Sew the ties along the top and bottom of the pads. The ties are sewed to the outer surface of the leather. Note: The ties should be strong and long enough to be securely tied after wrapping around your leg (at least 36“). A supple nylon webbing that can be tied is good. Another option is to use a 1/2” nylon strap with fastex closures or buckles.
The bells are arranged in three rows of five bells each. The top row should be centered about 1 1/4“ below the top edge of the leather below the top tie. The middle row should be in a line midway down (3 1/2” down). The bottom row should be 1 3/4“ above the bottom edge of the leather. Punch the holes where you want them but don't tie the bells on until all the ribbons are sewed on. The holes should be pretty small; just big enough to admit a bell's securing ring (1/16” or so).
You should have a total of 28 ribbons of various colors. Each ribbon is 12 1/2“ long with the ends cut at a 45 degree angle. Fold each ribbon so that 5 1/2” is in front of the remaining 7“. 14 ribbons go on each pad arranged in two rows. There is no set order to the ribbons; try for a random effect. The top row of 7 ribbons goes just below the top tie. The second row goes just below the second row of bells. The ribbons will cover the bells.
The last step is to tie on the bells. Push the metal ring at the back of each bell through the hole you punched and tie them to the back of the bell pad using strong string or shoe laces.