How I made a bow. Many pictures, simple concept.

Yesterday I unveiled my Weekender Cabana t-shirt with its bow action. After a question in the comments, I put together a bow-making how-to. This  technique is snagged from New Look 6808. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, then this is a 1600 word post. Plus captions.

bow1[a cute little bow]

bow2[Step 1 – cut out a rectangle. The dimensions should be at least the same width as your finished bow plus two inches (my sample is about 10” wide, I’ll cut it down in a few steps) and the height should be about twice the height of your finished bow. My sample is about 6” high. My finished bow will be around 5” wide by 3” high.]

bow3[Step 2 – Fold in half the long way, right sides together. Sew along one short end and along the long side.]

bow4[Step 3 – Turn right side out and press (I finger pressed!) Trim to the length of your finished bow + 1”. The extra 1” of fabric will be turned to the inside]

bow5[Step 4 – Turn 1” of fabric to the inside on the unfinished end. Press and pin]

bow6[Step 5 – topstitch along the unfinished end. I used a 3/8” seam allowance]

bow7[Step 6 – Topstitch along the other end. Note, if you don’t want visible topstitching, go back to step 2 and fold right sides together so that the long ends meet in the center instead of the edge. Then sew the two short ends, turn right side out and and hand sew the long edges together. They will be in the center of the bow instead of the edge, so you won’t be able to see the unfinished seam. Much.]

bow8[Step 7 – Find the center of the bow by folding carefully in half. Mark the center by creasing well or with a pin. Stitch a line of gathering stitches along the center. I increased the stitch length to 4.5mm and loosened the tension a bit. Alternately, a line of handbasting would do the trick.]

bow9[Step 8 – tug the bobbin thread to gather.]

bow10
[Step 9 – cut a length of fabric for the center knot of the bow. Make it twice as wide as the final ‘knot’ and give yourself enough length to work with. You can trim later.]

bow11[Step 10 – Fold right sides together and sew along one short end and the long edge.]

bow12
[Step 11 – Turn right side out and then roll so the seam is in the center of the fabric tube. You can topstitch along the long sides at this point if you’d like – like I did for my sweater.]

bow13[Step 12 – tack the finished end of the tube to the back of the bow. Carefully line up the line of the gathering stitches and the center seam on the fabric tube. Be careful to get everything nice and centered.]

bow14[Step 13 – wrap the center ‘knot’ piece around the bow, adjusting the tension until you get the look you like.]

bow15[Step 14 – trim and turn under the unfinished end of the center knot piece. Slipstitch end and along the edges to make everything nice and tidy.]

bow16[A finished bow! Good for adding to shirts, dog collars, or, perhaps this weekend, marathon running uniforms…]

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5 Comments
  • Jane
    October 20, 2010

    oh goodness I just love that 'do unto others' ruler! Haha! Thanks for the pics, I am about to make that New Look pattern too (once I sort out my muslin issues).

  • K.Line
    October 19, 2010

    Adorable – and not so difficult after all.

  • LAP
    October 19, 2010

    Nice tutorial! I'm obsessed with bows currently, and want both a bow skirt as well as a top with a big bust bow. It's extra nice to see the bow used in knitwear since it makes for such a soft cute one!

  • Psycho Sue- Sew Misunderstood
    October 19, 2010

    Good tip about the gathering

  • Debi
    October 19, 2010

    Perfect! I Love it!!

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