How to make a fabric bow in any size

A fabric bow is a simple but effective way to turn a sewing project from plain to beautiful.

I like to add it as an accent here and there in my projects, and I’ve included it as a detail in some of my patterns like the Maya dress and the Sparkle tunic.

When I want to accessorize, I also like to attach it to hairpins, headbands, bags, and backpacks.

This bow is fairly easy to make but a bit hard to explain, so I’m writing this post to show you how you can make it yourself.

If you prefer to go straight to the video instructions, scroll to the bottom of this page.

Here is a video tutorial on how to make a large bow

What you are going to need and measurements for the fabric bow

To start, you will need a square of the fabric of your choice (image 1).

Here I am making two bows for both the dresses I am working on – one large and one small. I will give the measurements only for the small one, so it doesn’t get confusing.

Let’s say I want the finished bow to measure 4 inches (10 cm) in width. I would cut the square 4.5 x 4.5 inches (4 plus 1/2 inch seam allowance on each side). In cm, that would be 12×12 cm (10 plus 1 cm seam allowance on each side).

You can make the bow a bit fuller by cutting a rectangle on the tall side instead of a square and doing everything else, as shown here.

I find the square shape cute and pretty, which is how I like to make my bows. You can try and see what suits your taste best.

I would usually draw the lines, but as in this project, I am using a plaid fabric, so I just follow the lines on the fabric once I’ve decided on the size. 

The bigger you cut the square, the bigger the bow will be. 

Sewing the fabric bow

Once you have the square, it’s time to sew the bow. To begin, fold the fabric in half vertically, face sides together (image 2).

Then, sew the open end at the top, leaving a hole in the middle, approximately 1 to 1.5 inches or 2- 3 cm wide (image 3).

To make the seam, anchor the seams at the beginning and end (image 4).

I also like to cut and sew a verticle piece to fix the bow gathered in the middle later. I cut these without exact measurements, considering what would look good on the bow I am working on. In my opinion, this loop looks good when it is up to 3/4 of an inch (2 cm) wide when ready. You may also use a button or just hand stitch it gathered. I like to add this little loop in the middle as I find it to give a bit more finished look.

I sew it folded in half on the vertical side (image 5), and then turn it inside out like a spaghetti strap.

How to DIY fabric bow in any size

At this point, the bow looks something like this (image 6). What I am going to do now is fold it in once more, this time leaving the seam in the middle (image 7). Then, I sew both sides like this (image 7).

Next, I flip the bow inside out through the hole(images 8 and 9). I am helping myself with the tweezers and pushing a bit on the inside so that the edges become sharp (image 10). 

The bow is almost done. Iron press now to make the edges and the whole bow look nice and neat (image 11).

Shaping the bow in the middle

To finish the bow, we just need to shape it in the middle. I don’t mind the hole in the back as it disappears in the gathering. If it bothers you, though, you can close it with a narrow topstitch or a ladder stitch by hand. I believe this to be an unnecessary step.

I am using the loop I’ve just made to gather in the middle. You may also use a button or just hand stitch it gathered (image 12). I like to add this little loop in the middle as I find it to give a bit more finished look.

I tighten the loop around the middle of the bow and cut it short, so it goes just around the middle (image 13). Then I hand stitch it at the back to finish the bow (image 14).

Attach the fabric bow to your project

It’s time to attach the bow to your project. Depending on the type of project, you can sew, hot glue, or textile glue it on the surface. For clothes, I would always rather sew the bow so that it lasts through machine washing, wearing, and all the other stress clothes are exposed to while being worn (image 15).

For accessories and other craft projects, gluing might be a better option.

I also want to share the bow for the Sparkle tunic pattern. It is just 3 bows with different dimensions that are gathered together with the loop in the middle. The dimensions are given in the pattern, but you can make them any size you want.

Like what you read here? Support my site

If you want to help me continue delivering similar content, please consider buying me a coffee to keep it going. It really helps me focus and have more time to prepare these tutorials and develop my lessons.

I can devote more time and do everything involved to make this happen and share with you what I’ve learned about sewing and pattern making.

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Here is the video tutorial:

More sewing tutorials:

  1. Free online sewing classes for beginners
  2. DIY Organza Gift Bags
  3. Making Some Everyday Sewing Alterations
  4. Learning How To Sew (and why you should)
  5. Sewing with elastic thread – make a shirred dress


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