How to make your own bows

Last year's Easter bow

I'm a girly girl. I love Minnie Mouse. So naturally I love bows. (Bowties are cool, too)

Before I started sewing, I bought quite a few bows, because - let's face it - you need one to match every outfit. There are specific uses for the warm colored paisley vs. the navy blue floral!

After beginning my sewing adventures, I found myself accumulating a ton of fabric scraps, but they weren't small enough for my packrat tendencies to just dismiss and throw away. So what better way to use up some extra fabric than to make a cute bow?

What you'll need:

  • Two pieces of 6" x 4" fabric (it's good if the fabric is slightly stiff - floppy fabric makes floppy bows)
  • One piece of 3" x 1" fabric or some ribbon (either matching the above fabric, or contrasting in a way you like)
  • Matching thread
  • Needle
  • Sewing machine (optional - you could do it by hand)

Steps:

  1. Place the two pieces of 6" x 4" fabric together, right sides in. Sew along the edges, leaving 1.5" or so unstitched (enough to pull the fabric right-side-out).
  2. Pull the the fabric right-side-out through the hole you left, and stitch up the remaining 1.5 inches (this is why you want matching thread).
  3. Gather the rectangle in the middle, and make a simple hand stitch to keep it from unfolding itself. This will be hidden in the end.
  4. Stitch up the small piece of fabric into a narrow strip, which will be used to wrap around the middle of the bow. (Skip this step if you're using ribbon)
  5. Wrap the strip (or ribbon) around the middle of the bow, and hand stitch it in the back (you'll have to choose which side of your bow is the back).

One of my favorites - a plain linen bow

And voila - You've got a bow! Now, what can you do with the bow? Right now it's pretty but not too useful. Here are a few ideas:

  • If you've got a thin headband, you can slip the bow onto the headband and wear it that way - this is nice because you can re-use the same headband for multiple bows
  • You can glue it to a barrette (or you could have waited to stitch or tie up the narrow fabric strip or ribbon around the barrette)
  • You could attach it to a simple hair tie
  • You could put it on a present or make an ornament for a Christmas tree
  • If the fabric is thin enough (or you've modified the above to create a smaller bow), you can slip it on a bobby pin
  • You could make it into a [cheater's] bow tie (I did this for my TARDIS dress I made one Halloween and wore to Comic Con)

A patriotic bow

Want to get creative with your bows? Try different fabrics, different sizes or multiple colors! You can even layer smaller rectangles on top of larger ones to make a spirited bow for your favorite holiday or sports team!

There are many, many more bows in my future, and I'd also love to see any that you make, or any fun tips you have to spice them up even more.

Happy crafting!