Tutorial: Make a Cute Fake Bow for Hair Accessories and Waistbands

sewing the perfect bow

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This method for creating a bow is not really trying to look real. It more of a 2-D version of a bow that looks great for costumes based on anime or cartoon characters. This type of faux bow is simple and still looks great as a decoration. Rather than creating a loop, you will just use one layer of fabric and gather it in the middle to create the appearance of a perfect bow.

flat bow
Making a simple non-looping bow

What you will need for this tutorial:

  • Fabric for your bow: One piece of fabric that is the full length and double the width of your final bow (fold it in half to in step 1)
  • Fabric for the center tie: Two small strips of fabric to use for the middle of the bow.
  • Optional fabric for the bow tails: Two lengths of fabric that are slightly thinner than the width of the bow to be the front and back of the tails
trim the corners before turning right-side out
Sew the front and back of each of your bow pieces together. Make sure you leave a small gap in the stitching so you can flip them. Cut the corners before turning the bow pieces right-side out.
adding the center
Pinch the center and add the strip of fabric over the center of the bow.
add tails if you want
Add tails by inserting them through the center tie.
  1. Sew front and back pieces of your bow, tie, and tails together. Make sure to leave a small space so that you can flip them to the right sides.
  2. Gather the center and sew it in place.
  3. Add the tie. Make sure to add a little twist as you sew it in place, to make it look more realistic.
  4. Insert your ribbon tails if desired. 
Adding a bow to a waist sash
Tie your waist sash in a knot to effectively cinch your waist. Then pin the bow on top.

Adding a bow to a tied waist sash

So what if you want to have a bow tied around your waist, but can’t get it to look good? You can cheat and use a fake bow here too.

Cut the ribbon or sash at a length where you can still securely tie it around your waist, but there is not too much extra material. Tie the sash in a knot so you can cinch in your waist. Make your bow out of the same material you used for the sash or ribbon. Then all you have to do is pin your fake bow directly to the knot to give you the illusion of a perfectly tied bow.

Emily Joice

My name is Emily, and I have been cosplaying since my very first convention in 2008. Over the years, I've experimented with all different kinds of cosplay costumes, especially loving the process of creating props and styling wigs. I also delved into cosplay photography, and love exploring how to optimize costumes so they look excellent in photos. Most of the photos you find on this site were taken by me over my years at anime conventions.

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