How to Make a Large Bow
(Commonly referred to as a butt bow in the Phantom costuming world!) These large bows are commonly found on the lower back of bodices but could be used elsewhere, including skirt or you can shrink them down to put on the front bodice or your hair!
For smaller bows that don’t require support, skip steps 9 and 14. Step 2 is optional as well and can be skipped if you’re using a regular or heavy weight fabric. (And adjust your pattern pieces smaller / to your preference).
For large bows, follow the whole tutorial :) there’s a few extra steps from how a smaller bow is constructed that help support the largeness of it.
- Fashion fabric (amount will depend on the size of your bow)
- Fusible interfacing (amount will depend on the size of your bow)
- Nylon netting remnants
- Needle & thread (matching fashion fabric color)
Step One: Cut your fabric and interfacing pieces. There are TWO main pieces to the bow: the actual bow, and the middle tie (referred to as the “knot”). For my bow which is roughly 9″ tall by 18″ wide, I have a large piece for the bow measuring 19″ x 37″. I used 5/8″ seams (but for my math to be correct, you’d have to use 1/2″ seams. I wanted to keep the numbers easy). The knot piece measures 9″ x 9″. You also want to cut matching fusible interfacing pieces.
Step Two: Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of each piece.
Step Three: Fold the bow in half. The shorter sides are your sides of the bow, and the top is going to be the middle. (Lengthwise across the bow). Make sure your fabric is in the correct position if it has a complicated pattern like this one.
Step Four: Stitch the long side, but leave about 3″ in the middle of the seam unstitched. (Shown with a pin). Make sure you back tack on each line of stitching.
Step Five: Fold the piece as shown, where the seam is now in the center of the bow. This will be your center back, and the seam will be hidden from view. Press the seam.
Step Six: Stitch the side seams.
Step Seven: Turn the bow inside out from the small hole you have in the center of the long seam.
Step Eight: Press flat.
Step Nine: Cut two pieces of stiff netting or crinoline the size of your “finished” bow. This is just about half of that original bow piece (so I used about 9″ x 18″ pieces). Stuff these pieces in through the opening of the bow and try to get them to lay flat.
Step Ten: Using a needle & thread… slipstitch, or just stitch, the seam opening closed. This is the back of the bow so you won’t see the seam if you don’t want to be all fancy and slip-stitch it. Just get it closed somehow :)
Step Eleven: Using a needle & thread, run a row of large gathering stitches down the center of the bow. Pull/tighten. Secure the last stitch to keep the gathers in place.
Step Twelve: Take the knot piece and fold in half. Sew the long side seam.
Step Thirteen: Press the seam open. Move it to the center like we did with the seam in step five. This will hide your seam in the center back. Then turn the knot inside out and press again.
Step Fourteen: You can skip this step if you want and go on to step 15! If you’d like the knot to be a little fancy, you can put pleats in the ends. Stitch the pleats, and press.
Step Fifteen: Wrap the knot around the gathered part of the bow. Hand stitch the knot making sure this seam is in the back of the bow, not shown in front.
You did it!
Now, to attach the bow: Some people just stitch the bow on to the bodice (or wherever), but if your bodice separates in the back with a corset or zipper, I recommend using snaps so the bow is removable!