Ribbons and bows… is there anything happier?! Our friends from The Ribbon Retreat are here with a Guest Tutorial showing you how to make bright and colorful bow tie bows in several styles. Our thanks to The Ribbon Retreat and especially to Michelle, their blog coordinator for providing these step-by-step instructions.

Hello Sew4Home friends and fans! I could not be more excited to be doing a Guest Tutorial for you. I absolutely love Sew4Home and am honored to be sharing this fun and super-easy tutorial. I’m Michelle and I blog for The Ribbon Retreat where we carry the most amazing selection of ribbon out there for all of your sewing and crafting projects.

In this Guest Tutorial, I’m going to show off some of our ribbon while teaching you how to make several variations of the Bow Tie Hair Bows. I am in love with these little guys, which can be made in so many different styles and colors. Because they’re so easy to customize with solid and print ribbon combos, they’re perfect for any season, holiday or special event. Or… just make a batch to wear every day!

In this one tutorial, you’ll learn how to make three unique looks. The only difference is the tails for the bows… or if you add tails at all.

If you are ready to make some or all of these adorable bows, make sure you visit The Ribbon Retreat to not only shop from all of the amazing ribbon, but also to get all the tools and accessories you need.

Recommended Supplies

  • Ribbon: ½ yard cuts or scraps; I used 1½” and ⅞” ribbon in all of my sample bows
  • Hand sewing Needle
  • Polyester Thread
  • Partially lined single prong alligator clips
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue and Glue Gun (to seal the center ribbon wraps)
  • Heat sealing tool, lighter or similar (to heat seal the ribbon ends)

Layered bow tie bows with angled tails

  1. Cut and then heat seal both ends of the ribbon(s) for the main bow. I love the layered look and so used two ribbons on most of my sample bows. If you choose to layer, simply place the smaller ribbon on top of the larger one prior to cutting the ribbon. The length of ribbon you use will be determined by how big you want your finished bow to be. For example, a good average finished size for the Bow Tie Bows is 3½”. Since it’s a loop, you’ll need to multiply that finished size by two and then add 1” for an overlap. So in our example, the formula would be 3½” x 2 = 7, 7+1 = 8. So, we’d start with 8” length(s) of ribbon.
  2. Fold back one end so the wrong sides of the ribbon are together.
  3. Fold the opposite end over the top of the first end to create a loop. Adjust the loop to get your desired bow size, then Trim away the excess ribbon.
  4. Thread the Hand sewing Needle with Thread to best match the ribbon(s). Double the Thread and knot the ends together. White is a good Thread color option if you’re unsure. The Thread will be hidden by the center ribbon wrap.
  5. Insert the Needle from the back to the front through the center of the ribbon, securing the Thread’s knot at the back.
  6. Pinch the center of your bow in an accordion fold to achieve the bow tie look.
  7. Wrap the Thread around center of bow. Pull tight, adjusting the center of the bow as needed as you tighten. When the Thread has no more give, bring the Thread through to the back and take a few locking stitches. Knot to secure, then Trim the Thread tails close to the knot.
  8. On this bow, I wanted tails that angled down from the bow. To make these tails, cut a strip of your original plain or layered ribbon about 2” longer than the finished width of your bow. This length can be adjusted to the look you want. For our 3½” bow, we started with a 5½” length of ribbon. Starting with more than you think you need is best; you can always Trim the tails down for your best look.
  9. Insert the threaded and knotted Needle through the center of the ribbon(s) – from back to front as above.
  10. Wrap the Thread around the center of the ribbon strip and pull tight, similarly to how you wrapped the bow itself above. As you tighten, start pulling the tails in a downward motion to get the desired angled tail.
  11. Place the tightened tail strip behind the bow. Your Needle and Thread is still attached to the tail strip. Wrap this Thread around the center of both the bow and tails. Again, as you tighten your Thread, adjust the tails down to achieve your desired look.
  12. When tightened, insert the Needle from the front through to the back. Knot to secure the Thread and Trim the Thread tails close to the knot.
  13. Wrap a short length of the narrow ribbon around the center of your bow and tails to hide the Hand wrapping and stitching. Overlap the raw ends of the ribbon wrap at the back and heat seal.
  14. Add a lined clip to the back, heat sealing it in place as well.
  15. Don’t forget to cut your ribbon ends and heat seal them. We used a “V-cut,” which is always a pretty option, but you could also use a simple angled cut.
  16. With all of different ribbon at The Ribbon Retreat, you can make a million versions of this exact bow.
  17. Coordinate your favorite ribbon designs and colors for one of a kind results. Here are a few more I made with my scrap ribbon! I love the Dazzle ribbon!

Layered bow tie bows with flat tails

  1. This next bow is created with the same steps, but its tails stick straight out to either side.
  2. Make the main Bow Tie Bow just like above, then cut a strip of ribbon for your tails. For the flat tails, cut the ribbon strip(s) so it extends just about ½” – 1” past the bow loop. As mentioned above, start with more than you think you might need; you can always Trim the ends if need be.
  3. Place the tail strip behind the bow.
  4. Thread the Hand sewing Needle and knot as above.
  5. Holding the bow in place on top of the tail strip, insert the Needle through the tail strip from back to front, coming up right next to the center of your bow.
  6. Wrap the Thread around your bow and tail strip and tighten. As above, once the Thread is tight, insert the Needle through to the back, take a couple of locking stitches, knot to secure, and Trim the Thread tails close to the knot.
  7. Add a center wrap to your bow, a lined clip at the back, Trim your tails in a V-cut or at an angle, and heat seal the ends of all the ribbons. You’re all done with another super cute bow that can be created in so many colors and patterns.
  8. Aren’t these ribbon combinations so cute and fun?!

Bow tie bows without tails

  1. Even though I love my Bow Tie Bows with tails, here are examples of bows without tails. They’re still super cute and are made just like the bow above, but without the steps for the tails.
  2. Check out this sequin bow. How perfect would this be on a blue glitter headband for your 4th of July celebrations?!

Happy creating, and happy cute hair bows!

From Michelle and all your friends at The Ribbon Retreat

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7 years ago

Love the bows…all of them.

Love the bows…all of them.  I usually do not have trouble making bows, but there are some good tips I picked up here.  Thank you for the tutorial.  One question.  The lined clip.   It is always the clip that I get fowled up.  Maybe I am using the wrong clip?????

7 years ago

I really really like that

I really really like that orange and green bow

7 years ago

Would it be possible to get a

Would it be possible to get a men’s bow tie tutorial?!

Sally M.
Sally M.
7 years ago

Hi Sew4Home – I thought Hi Sew4Home – I thought everyone in sewing land could use a good chuckle today so I wrote about my bow making experiences.  Be forewarned, it’s not pretty.  I couldn’t tell my story in one comment section so I had to use three sections. Hope you won’t mind.  To those reading this, you have to start at the bottom one and read up – another brilliant idea of mine.  By the way, I really am not stupid. I’ve been a secretary/administrative assistant and worn many hats for over 40 years doing a multitude of different… Read more »

Sally M.
Sally M.
7 years ago

Now, here’s the laugh of the Now, here’s the laugh of the day – DO NOT, and I mean DO NOT EVER, give a Christmas present with pretty wrapping paper and bow made with staples to someone who actually knows how to make bows. Christmas morning comes, phone rings. Hello, hello, Merry Christmas. Gift receiver says: “You freakin’ idiot, are out out of your mind, I am LMAO. I have never rec’d a stapled bow before but I will put this beauty on display every Christmas from now on.  And, so everyone knows who made this, cause I’m not going… Read more »

Sally M.
Sally M.
7 years ago

Idea popped into my creative Idea popped into my creative head (or should I say, stupid head). Oh yes, I was onto something – get out the stapler. I could start with a oval cut patch of the ribbon and then make one side of the bow and staple it onto the patch, layering them as it went up. Brilliant idea don’t you think. Make a bow, staple it down, make a bow, staple it down. OMG it was working, it was actually looking like a bow. The staples were piling up on the patch but who cared, it looked… Read more »

Sally M.
Sally M.
7 years ago

Years back I wanted a bow Years back I wanted a bow using layers of red velvet ribbon to top a Chritmas present. The ribbon was made sturdy but flexible, the kind you would use on an outdoor wreath. In making the bows they would open in the middle, not lay flat and the bows would get smaller as they came to the middle. It would be so pretty, something I’d be proud of. I pulled out a length of ribbon but didn’t cut it off the roll as suggested. I made the first bow and twisted the ribbon to… Read more »

Sally M.
Sally M.
7 years ago

Ok, let’s be honest (at least Ok, let’s be honest (at least with mysefl), “I can NOT make bows.” A pro sewing friend gave me one of those wooden bow maker contraptions and it was a total disaster. All you have to do is wrap the ribbon around and around the wooden rods, tie it in the middle and lift it off the rods. It still looked like crap. The contraption hides in the basement these days, afraid to come out. These tutorials seem simple enough and I should be able to do it. After all, I can read for… Read more »

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