Fabric Bows

Image of a finished fabric bowBows can be made in all weights of fabric from the finest silks to the heavier velvets, as long as the size is adjusted to accommodate the weight of the fabric.

Bows can enhance plain pelmets, valances, bed drapes and swags and tails. Smaller versions can be stitched onto tie backs to coordinate the effect.

They can be made to match, contrast or coordinate with the main fabric, or perhaps to accentuate a particular shade in a multi-coloured design.

There is no rigid rule for the size of the ornamental bows, but the larger they are the more of a dramatic effect they will make. For an idea of how big to make the bow, cut out the shape in paper and pin it in position. The paper can be easily trimmed until the required effect is achieved.

Image refers to colour code key for the diagrams

Approximate Sizes of Bows.

  • The length of the tails is a matter of choice, but do not have the length of the tails less than half the width of the bow.
  • Small, 3" - 4" (7.5 - 10 cms) wide.
  • Medium, 6" - 8" (15 - 20 cms) wide.
  • Large, 10" - 12" (25 - 30 cms) wide.


  • Fabric of your choice. The length required is twice the width of the tied bow from fold to fold, plus twice the length of the tails, plus 1" (2.5 cms) seam allowance. The width required is twice the finished width of the fabric, plus 1" (2.5 cms) for seam allowance. For the centre piece, a square of fabric measuring between 3" and 8" (7.5 and 20 cms) depending on the size of the bow.
  • Matching thread.

Making Bows:

  1. Cut 1 piece of fabric to the required size for the main piece, allowing 1" (2.5 cms) in each direction for seam allowances.
  2. Cut 1 square of fabric for the centre piece, allowing 1" (2.5 cms) in each direction for seam allowances.
  3. Image refers to steps 3 to 5 of making a bowFold the main piece in half width ways, right sides together.
  4. To shape the ends, cut across the width, from the fold, at an angle of 45 degrees.
  5. Pin and stitch across both ends and along the length, 0.5" (12 mm) in from the raw edges, leaving an opening in the long side for turning.
  6. Turn right side out.
  7. Turn in the seam allowance on the opening, in line with the rest of the seam, slipstitch and press.
  8. Fold the centre piece in half, right sides together.
  9. Pin and stitch down the length, 0.5" (12 mm) in from the raw edge.
  10. Image refers to steps 12 and 13 of making a bowTurn right side out. Fold, so that the seam is in the centre of 1 side, turn in 0.5" (12 mm) at each end and slipstitch. Press.
  11. Lay the main piece on a flat surface, with the seam at the bottom.
  12. Fold both ends across the centre until the bow is the correct width, and pin all 3 layers together in the centre.
  13. Wrap the centre piece around the centre of the bow with the seamed side towards the bow and slipstitch the ends together to secure.

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