How To Make A Bow 
Fabric Bow with Tails Tutorial

how to make a bow

In this tutorial on how to make a bow, I will show you an easy fabric bow with tails easily. Creating bows for your sewing project, is a simple but charming accent to a variety of garments or home decorating projects.

Bows are a lot of fun to make. Adding a bow to your project, no matter what you are creating, will give a wonderful demention to a dress, pillow, or your special event as decor. 

You can make a bow with tails or just the bow it self. The tutorial is showing just one way to make a fabric bow, I use this method for most of the bows I make for my sewing projects. Scroll down the page for other bow techniques as well. 

Free Shipping on orders $35+

How  To Make A Bow- Supplies

  1. Fabric of your choosing the amount of fabric depends on how big you would like to make your bow, and how long you would like your tails to be.
  2. - (Optional Lining) Interfacing, tulle, or some kind of lightweight stiff fabric, if the bow fabric is flimsy. You need the same amount of optional lining as the bow fabric, as well as the same amount for the tails.
  3. - Sharp Scissors.
  4. - Pins
  5. - Measuring Tape or Long Ruler.
  6. - Thread in the same color as your bow fabric.
  7. - A sewing machine, unless you are sewing by hand.
  8. - A hand-sewing needle for sewing by hand.

Step 1. How To Make A Bow:

Cut a piece of fabric of your choosing, that is four times the length of one side of the bow and two times the width (plus a seam allowance.)

For instance, if you would like the finished bow to be 6 inches wide x 3 inches deep, you would cut your fabric strip 12 inches long x 6 inches wide, plus a seam allowance. See photo below.

How to make a bow
  • Note: Seam allowance should be 1/4", or 3/8".
  • A seam width larger than this will create bulk

How To Make A Bow (Optional Lining)
Step 2: 

If you are working with a fabric that is soft or flimsy, and you would like your bow to be crisp, then cut, in the same dimensions as your bow fabric, either a piece of sew in interfacing, fine tulle, or a piece of stiff scrap fabric, such as organza or crisp cotton. Something light weight, which will also give structure to the bow.

If you choose this step: After you cut your fabric place the stiff fabric lining on the wrong side of your bow fabric, and hand or machine baste the pieces together.

How to make a bow
Step 3:

How to make a bow from fabric.
  • Fold the right side of the bow fabric in half, lengthwise. Stitch a seam 1/4" or 3/8" from the raw edge. Leaving an opening of about an inch in the seam allowance.

Step 4.

  • Turn your bow fabric at the 1" opening, so the right side of the fabric is showing. Press your fabric. You will now have a rectangle shape.
  • Press your fabric.

How to make a bow
step 5:

  • Find the center of the rectangle and fold both ends of the rectangle to the center. Pin in place.
  • Fold the ends of the rectangle into the middel as shown

How to make a bow
Step 6:

  • Using a basting stitch, either hand or machine baste (3.0mm stitch) through the center, securing both ends in place. Pull up the basting to gather the center of the bow, and set a side.

Bow With Tails Omitted

You do not have to make the tails if you do not want to. Simply jump to step 9, and finish your bow.

How to Make a Bow for the Tails
Step 6:

Depending on how long and wide you would like the tails to be, cut a strip of the same fabric as your bow. In this case, I will have the tails hang 8 inches down and I will make the tails 3 inches wide.

Therefore, I will cut the strip 16 inches plus an extra 3 inches for the middle, (you will see why when I assemble the bow) remembering to add a seam allowance, so a total strip length of 19 inches plus seam allowance and the width will be cut 6 inches, plus seam allowance.

(Optional Lining is cut the same length and width as the tails, plus seam allowance.)

How To make a Bow: 
Step 7

  • Fold the strip of fabric in half, length wise, with right sides together. 
  • If you choose the optional lining for your tails, place the lining on one side of the fabric now and hand baste or machine baste in place.
  • Stitch along the seam line, on the long edge first. Then measure two inches in from the edge and place a pin or mark that spot. 
  • Stitch your end seam diagonally from the mark to the other end leaving a 1" opening at one end, and clip the corners to remove bulk.

Step 8:

  • Turn your strip at the 1" opening, so the right side of fabric is showing.
  • Press your fabric strip.

Step 9: For The Centre

  • Cut a 2 1/4" x 4 1/2" piece of fabric from the bow fabric. 
  • With right sides together, stitch ONLY the long edge leaving the ends open.
  • Turn the fabric piece to the right side, then fold the ends in by 1/4" and press.

Step 10.

  • Assemble your bow as follows in the photos below. In Step 6, I added an extra 3" to the tails.
  • I did this so the tails will hang down 8" and the extra 3" is taken up in the middle so no length is lost in the finish length of the tails.

The Finished Bow

  • Voila, this is how to make a bow and how it looks from the front and back.
how to make a bow

How to Make a Bow on Pinterest 

There are many tutorials around the web, to help your creative mind wander. Check out my pinterest board here.

Quick and easy hair bow tutorial from

The Bowdabra Bow Maker

I discovered this tool from Bowdabra. I watched a video on making hairbands for girls and I decided to order one for myself.

I am very excited to have a tool to easily make the baby headbands I use in my costume creations at Click this Bowdabra link for a video for how it works. 

Leave how to make a bow and return to the home page.