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How-to

Make a Bow With Tails – To Trim a Hat or Embellish a Garment

Jan 13, 2011
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Learn how to make a fabric bow with angled tails by following John Koch's instructions.

Last week, in the post titled “Try Your Hand at Hat Trimming: Bows Without Tails” Threads shared designer John Koch’s technique for making a bow type he uses to embellish his glorious hats (featured in “Millinery Marvels” in issue no. 153).

This post features another bow-making technique John uses on his hats. Next week’s post will explain how to make realistic-looking features from fabric and wire.

If you’d like to review John’s basic hat-making techniques, check out the post “How to Make a Hat Base.”

Make a bow with tails

1 Decide on the finished bow dimensions and plan the fabric. Cut fabric on the bias, double the height plus 1 inch for seam allowances, and three times the length plus 4 inches. For example: A 3- by 8-inch finished bow requires a 7- by 28-inch fabric piece.

2 Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together. Cut nylon net in a double layer the same dimensions as the folded fabric. Place folded fashion fabric over netting and pin. Trim the short ends at an angle from the bottom corner to 1½-inches in from the upper corner.

3 Stitch around fabric and netting’s, ½ inch from the raw edges. Leave a 2- to 3-inch opening in one long edge’s center. Turn fabric and netting to right side. Push out the corners.

4 Mark the bow’s middle with a pin. Fold in half. Measure one half of the bow’s finished width from the pin and mark.  Sew from top to bottom at this mark.

5 Open out the bow and tails, aligning the center pin and seam line. Remove pin. Pleat the bow, and stitch through the center to secure.

6 Make a center “knot” as in “Try Your Hand at Hat Trimming: Bows Without Tails.”

Next week: Make realistic feathers from fabric and wire

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  1. User avater clothingeng January 30th

    Thanks, great instructions!

  2. User avater smcfarland January 20th

    Dear PeechyMe and JB5 - It does mean "one and a half inches." I'll edit it to spell out the measurement. Thanks!

  3. SewFascinated January 20th

    PeechyMe I'm guessing they meant one and a half inches. They just put the dash in the wrong place.

  4. JB5 January 20th



    PeechyMe, I believe that is supposed to be 1 1/2-inches or "one and a half inches".

  5. User avater PeechyMe January 20th

    I enjoyed this article, however, I don't understand part of the instructions. It says to "Trim the short ends at an angle from the bottom corner to 11/2-inches in from the upper corner." What does "11/2-inches" mean?

    Thank you.

  6. User avater LebecEgirl January 14th

    Enjoying learning about hats !!!

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