How to Make a Boutique Bow


Cover photoI guess it only makes sense that since I shared with  you how to monogram grosgrain ribbon I should share with you how I make my grosgrain bows.  It’s been on my “How To” to do list, and last weekend I had not one but two request within a day apart of readers requesting steps.  So by your request, below are the steps I take when making my bows. 

Before I tell you the steps, I want to share with you the one most important thing that I have learned over the seven or eight years that I have been making bows……RIBBON QUALITY MATTERS!!!!  I have found that the quality of the ribbon has an affect on how nice the bow will look once it is attached to the barrette.  I order my ribbon from Ribbons and Bows Oh My or Girly Ribbons.  Their grosgrain ribbon has a nice finish to them and a nice amount of stiffness to them that allows the ribbon to hold a nice shape to the finished bow.  I find that the ribbon purchased from Hobby Lobby is flimsy and has almost a sheen look to it.  The ribbon snob in me does not want a sheen to my grosgrain ribbon….YUCK!! 

Ribbon and Bows Oh My carries some colors in Offray which can be purchased at Walmart and JoAnn’s, but I do not get nearly the price nor color  selection at my Walmart or JoAnn’s as I do with RABOM (Ribbons and Bows Oh My).  I am a big fan of their solid grosgrain ribbon. RABOM also has a color card that you can order for their solid grosgrain ribbon.  The amount of different colors is astounding.  Here is my card. It’s several years old so I am sure they have added to it since I ordered my card. 


You will see that RABOM carries printed grosgrain ribbon as well a solid grosgrain.  They also carry other types of ribbon along with all your bow making needs such as the hardware. They even have tutorials. 

Even though RABOM has an extremely large selection of printed grosgrain ribbon, I order most of my printed polka dot and chevron printed ribbon from Girly Ribbons.  I like the painted on/silk screen type dots and chevron stripes from GR.  She also has a “Louisiana Inspired” section of grosgrain printed ribbon.  AND this Louisiana girl LOVES that section.  Just keep in mind that if you iron the ribbon with the painted on/silk screen prints, the iron may melt the dots/chevron stripes some.  Use a cloth over the printed area or iron the backside of the ribbon. 

(Disclosure:  Several weeks back I smashed my thumb in the car door.  It was the worse pain I had ever felt in my life.  It bled for 24 hours and was ugly for about four days. By day five, it looked a lot better.  I credit the Lavender essential oil that I put on it several times a day.  I mention this to you because you may see it in a few pictures.  I did not think of painting it before I started taking pictures.  I hid as well as I could, but you still may see slight bruising of a portion of the nail.) 


2.25″ grosgrain ribbon cut at 43 3/4″ long

1.5″  grosgrain ribbon cut 6″ long (for center knot of bow)  not shown in picture above

sewing needle


8 1/2″ long  x 3 1/2″ wide piece of cardboard  (I taped two pieces of thin cardboard together {making it 1/8″ thick as shown in thumbnail below} with masking tape to give it stability)







long straight pin

pin cushion

3″ French clip style barrette

hot glue gun

Fray Check not shown in picture above

scissors not shown in picture above


Take the ribbon and wrap it around the piece of cardboard (long ways).  If your ribbon is monogrammed, start with the end that is not monogrammed.  Your ribbon should have the monogram face-up as you wrap it around the cardboard. 

013de537f0229d7923080c9059e152aecff8ac1270It will wrap around 2.5 times; ending with the monogram face-up on the bottom edge of the cardboard.  (This monogram font is Mansion Monogram from The Itch 2 Stitch.) If you need tips on “How to Monogram a Grosgrain Ribbon”, please click here

01dc061bb714afc78a460c6395816ab9f073fb2ad7Slide the cardboard from the wrapped/folded ribbon.  Make sure you keep the ribbon folded as you do this. 


Once you have the ribbon from the cardboard, fold the ribbon in half as shown below.


You want to make a crease in the center of the ribbon.

01309bb057247ae1bd4c7ab550153bc8789aecfd48My crease may be hard to see but it’s there.  You’ll see it on your ribbon.  Now, take your straight pin and stick it in center of the crease and poke it into your pin cushion.  The pin cushion will hold the ribbon as you do the next steps. 


Now you will fan out the ribbon to make the bow loops.  The top ribbon (which will be a loop)  and the bottom ribbon (which is a tail) will fan to the left.  The middle portion of the ribbon will fan out the right making another loop for the bottom of the finished bow. 


You’re going to do the same with the other end of the bow, but going the opposite direction.  The top layer (which is the monogrammed tail) and the bottom layer portion of the bow (which is a loop) will fan together to the right. The middle portion of the bow (which is a loop) will fan to the left to make a top loop of the finished bow.  You may need to take the ribbon off of the pin cushion, but KEEP the straight pin in the ribbon.  The pin allows the ribbon’s  center to stay together as  you fan the ribbon.  My straight pin is under my bruised smashed thumb.  I line up all the edges in the center making an “X” shape.  See the below picture. 



I sew a base stitch type stitch through the center of the bow. I start at the bottom and stitch towards the top. 


A loose type base stitch will allow me to pull the thread to crunch the ribbon. I pull it as tight as I can. 


After I pull my thread as tight as I can with my bow crunched in the center, I then wrap my thread around the center several times.  I want to make sure that it’s tight. 


I leave enough of my thread that I can knot it in the back of the bow. I make at least 2-3 knots.  Trim the hanging threads. 

01f0e13af0d0d7dfcd441c4b3313a9d8356cfdca63At this step, you may understand why I say that a good quality grosgrain ribbon matters.  The stiffness in the ribbon will allow you to somewhat shape the loops in your bow.  I play with my loops getting them just the way I like them. Of course you will be limited in how much play you have.  I have made MANY, MANY  bows before I actually figured out that I needed to play around with my loops.  You may not get my look on your first bow or you may not even like my look. You may want to play with the loops to find your own look. No two bows are exactly, but that is okay because no two things are quite alike in nature.  Play around with this bow making method and you may put your own touch on it. 

The bow is now ready for the center knot and the hardware. 

01b419e55e15f9d99cd34243a4d2520de1bbc9199eTo make the center knot, I use a 1.5″ grosgrain ribbon of the same color as my bow.  I like to use the same color, but you can make your knot any color you’d like.  I cut the ribbon 6″ long. 

01137f31dcd4e5acf8e1ba1494aed4c715d67f2722I then fold it in half like in the above picture making it about 3/4″ wide. You could use a 3/4″ ribbon, but I like to have the stiffness and sturdiness that I get when I fold the 1.5″ ribbon in half.  It also makes a perky knot. 

018437a92d2bfdc5cb75710753bf7435dbbe37b989I then make the center knot just by making one loop over.  Make the knot in the center so you will have enough tails on each end to wrap around the center of the bow and around the French clip barrette.  I set it aside until I have attached my barrette. 

01b6ef8ec833fc7228f6d97b1225cbb739b96dfc87I take the flexible arched spine type part of the French clip style barrette out of the barrette. I set it aside until I am completely finished with the barrette.  I then glue with my hot glue the barrette to the back of the bow. Make sure to center it in the center of the bow.  I forgot to take a picture of that actual step but you’ll see it in the following steps.


Now, turn my bow to the front of the bow and place a small dot of hot glue in the center.  I want my knot to be glued down.  Make sure it’s just a small dot of glue or it will ooze out from under the knot.  Hot glue will dry white and be seen on your bow if it oozes out from under the knot. 


 Turn the bow over.  The tails from the center knot will need to be trimmed before they can be glued to the underneath of the barrette. Make sure when you trim the tails that you leave enough to be glued down to the barrette. 

01bf2c6858ae375990bca4fabe717af4b953e68a18I trim and glue one tail at a time.  I do the tail that is towards the bottom of my bow first. 

010c1c81e51ab20edde4b96eee6640d6eaf780d062Then I do the tail towards what is the top of the bow.  Remember the ribbon used for the center was folded in half so a dot of hot  glue will be needed in the middle of the folded ribbon to make it lay flat on the back underneath side of the barrette……confusing?  You’ll see what I mean when you actually do this step. 

01f461630f252051752a165d6a314635f9b7525f9fTurn the bow over and it should look something like this.  BUT before I call myself finished, I like to glue my two top loops down to my  barrette.  Shown in the pictures below. 

01837057d6d281dab2e38bb468c0d9359607b78a66Pull the top loops away from the barrette and add a little hot glue along the top of the barrette.  When you attach the loop, you’ll have a little wiggle room to manipulate the top loop to get it to look just how you’d like it to look.  Again,  you should understand what I mean here when you actually do this step. 


I do one side at a time and allow each side to cool and set before doing the other top loop. 

01f7ea86f368c27c5b5934f0a878813949e46647ceNow you’re ready to trim the front tail.  The other tail is somewhat hidden in the top right hand loop.  It may or may not need trimming.  TIP!!!  Trim a little at a time and look at your bow.  If you think the tail is too long, trim a little more.   If you trim too much all at once you can not put the ribbon back on the tail. I try to keep my tail even with the bottom of the loop on the opposite side. 



016e9bd8c30305aa037907582195c479d198ce685bYou want to “Fray Check” your ends to keep them from fraying.  This should dry clear.  If it doesn’t dry clear, take a little alcohol on a q-tip and run along the edge.  That should aid in making the edges clear. 



This is not the only way to make a boutique style bow.  It’s the method that works best for me.  I have been doing making bows for years as I stated above.  It also took me years to make a bow that I really was proud of…..lots and lots of bows were made in the process.  I hope  you can take my method and make it your own.  If I confused you too much, I will try to clarify my directions…..just send me a comment and we will chat about it.  I’ll try to get my teenager sons to help me put together a video too.  Maybe a speaking and watching tutorial will help. 

Happy Bow Making!!

JumBOW Dots

bow jumbo dots 2

I think of polka dots as one of those timeless-classic prints, or just dots in general have been a classic print throughout the decades.  Whether it be swiss dots, polka dots or random dots, I find that everyone has a crush on the dots.  The chevron print has become popular over the past few years but has been called a “fad” print, but dots have been around for decades.  When I saw grosgrain ribbon in jumbo dots, I knew my girl had to have several new bows.  I thought they would be cute, but I had no idea that they’d be this cute.  This ribbon is available at Girly Ribbons….and guess what????  Girly Ribbons is a Louisiana Girl!!


If you’d like to order a bow from me, please comment or contact me here on my blog. As you can see from the black/white bow above and the red/white bow below, they are not just for initials. 

To order your own ribbon, visit Girly Ribbon  at .  If you’d like to know “How to Monogram Grosgrain Ribbon” click HERE

bow jumbo dots 1