Sunday 8 April 2012

Tutorial - how to make a two-toned fabric bow

The detail that I absolutely LOVED about the Gossip Girl dress is the bow. Oh it's so oversized and dramatic, and most importantly two-toned! I loved how it spiced up what would've been a single coloured  (not as fun!) dress. So when I tried to make a knock-off version, naturally I had to include the bow too. 

It was easy to make. So this is what we are trying to achieve:

Step 1: cut fabric pieces
I made a rather large bow and cut 2 pieces (in 2 colours) of 30cm x 16.5cm, including seam allowances of 1.5cm all all sides. 

I also cut a smaller piece later on for the tie which was sewn in the middle. It was roughly 10cm x 6cm. 

Step 2: sew the 2 pieces together

With RST, sew the 2 pieces together at one of the long (30cm) side. You should end up with a square when you open the joined piece. Press seam allowances open. 

If you are using a soft fabric and want a structured look, you may need to consider interfacing/underlining. Here I'm using taffeta so it's stiff enough. 

Finish the seam allowances with your usual method (I used a zig zag stitch on my basic machine)

Step 3: fold over the joined piece and sew 2 sides leaving a short side open

With RST, fold the joined piece so that the same colour is folded onto itself. This should be clear with the picture below:

Step 4: turn the right side out and top stitch the edges

Turn the "bag" over to the right side at the open side, and fold over the seam allowances at the open side to the inside. 

Topstitch all 4 edges. 

Step 5: gather middle of the rectangle

With the longest running stitch on your machine, stitch 2 rows next to the centre leaving the start and end open, i.e. do not back stitch. 

Pull the threads at both ends to gather up the middle. Baste over the stitched lines to secure the shape. 

Step 6: wrap the centre 

Fold the 3rd (small) piece of fabric lengthwise with RST and sew 2 sides leaving one edge open. 

Turn the right side out and close the open edge with a topstitch or a couple of stitches of hand sewing. I machine finished this as I was feeling later -  it's possible to hide it at the back of the bow. 

Wrap this around the bow until you've achieved the look you want (I folded my centre piece slightly) and pin it at the back. Tack the hoop into the bow at the back and we're done! 

I hope this help. I used two tones of green for my project and really liked it but think there are so many different looks that can be achieved with this. I could imagine a floral version of this, with a bright centre hoop for a summer dress or even as a hair accessory. Who knows? I may use the same method to make a bow for the back of my wedding dress! Perhaps I could have a blue loop to be my something blue! 


  1. Thank you for the tutorial. I was wondering how to do this.


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