How to Make a Boutique Bow


I 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. 

It 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

Slide 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.

My 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. 

At 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. 

To 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. 

I 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. 

I 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. 

I 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. 

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

Then 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. 

Turn 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. 

Pull 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. 

Now 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. 


You 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!!

Follow Me on Pinterest