This is a quick and easy step by step tutorial for how to sew a fabric bow.
You can turn your bow into a clip / barrette for your hair or a pin / brooch for clothing, bags, etc.
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Click here for the video tutorial
or continue reading for the text/photo version of the tutorial.
Ready? Here we go!
Tools and Materials
- scrap fabric – my example measures 10″ x 12″.
- 6″ length of ribbon – 3/8″ wide to 3/4″ wide for this size bow. (Thinner or thicker ribbon might be more appropriate for smaller or larger bows.)
You can use grosgrain, satin, etc. It’s up to you.
- high temp glue gun
- sewing machine or serger
- binder clip or clothespin
- fastener of choice: alligator, snap clip, or bobby pin for hair accessories, pinback for a brooch
Cut a rectangle of fabric twice the width and twice the length of the size of your desired bow. My 10″ x 12″ rectangle of fabric will create a bow that is roughly 5″ x 6″.
If you fold the rectangle in half twice, you can get a good idea of what the end bow size will be.
I use a fairly narrow (1/4″) seam allowance, and I’m not too picky about the bow being slightly smaller than estimated, so I don’t account for seam allowance. If you’re going to use larger seam allowances (1/2″, for example), you may want to account for that when choosing your rectangle size.
Fold the rectangle in half, right sides together, lining up the longest sides (in this case, the sides that measure 12″). Pin, if necessary.
Sew along the long edge, using the seam allowance of your choice. Use a serger or a regular straight stitch on your sewing machine. It really doesn’t matter.
Now you have a tube of fabric. Turn the tube right side out, and lay it flat with the seam facing up. Adjust as necessary to center the seam as best as you can.
Flip the fabric over, so that the seam is on the bottom (but still centered).
Fold the rectangle in half, matching up the unfinished edges. Pin, if necessary.
Sew or serge the seam.
The result is now a smaller tube. Turn the tube right side out (so the seam is on the inside), and center the seam.
Flip it over so the seam is facing down. The tube “openings” should face North and South, at this point.
Starting at the center, fold the rectangle accordion-style, as if you were making a paper fan.
The photo above shows the rectangle after folding.
I like to use a binder clip to hold the folds in place at the center of the bow. You could also use a clothespin. Or you could baste the center in place. Hand sewing would probably be easiest, considering all the bulky layers.
Squirt a glob of hot glue on the end of the ribbon.
Place the BACK of the center of the bow on the glue. Let the glue set.
Squirt about a 1″ line of glue along the ribbon.
Remove the clip, using the other hand to keep the bow folds in place.
Roll the bow into the glue, and keep rolling until the ribbon wraps all the way around the bow. You want a fairly tight wrap.
Hold the ribbon in place until the glue sets.
Trim the ribbon, leaving a 1.5″ tail.
Slide the ribbon through the fastener.
Squirt a small dot of glue on the back/bottom of the bow.
Press the fastener and ribbon into the glue. If possible, fold the raw edge of the ribbon underneath first, so the raw edge is then sealed by the glue. Allow the glue to set.