How to make Butterfly Bows!

DSC_0249edit2 smallA lot of people have been asking me how to make the butterfly bows so often seen in Anime/Manga/Games characters.
I am surprised so many people is requesting tutorial for such a simple accessory but seeing how inevitable they are for school uniform characters, I guess there is a demand.
I must disclaim, this is not the official way of making Japanese Uniform bows. It is just the way I always do mine.


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1) Start by measuring and marking out the size of your bow. It is usually good to give the ‘height’ an extra 1 – 2 cm because the bow tend to lose height after you finish everything.

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2) Keeping in mind to leave at least 1 cm of allowance, cut 2 piece of fabric in your desired width and height.

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3) To make your life easier, pin all the 4 edges together.

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4) Sew ALL the 4 edges. In the picture above you only see me sew 3 of the edges because the left edge is folded over. Hope you understand my description >.<

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5) Next, cut a small hole in the very centre of the rectangle. Only cut on ONE SIDE of the fabric, not all the way. Don’t worry, this hole will get covered up at the end.

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6) Turn the entire thing inside out. Be careful not to tear the hole and make it any bigger than it needs to be.

I’m sure some of you will start wondering why did I not leave 1 side of the bow open/un-sewed like a pillow case. But instead chose to cut a hole in the middle.

The reason is really due to the simplicity of my method. When you do it the ‘Pillow Case’ way, you will have to sew the final edge together on the outside. That usually takes more skill and looks way too obvious.

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7) If your bow needs to be big and stiff. Stuff a dressmaking sponge or some extra fabric into it.

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8) At this point, you can repeat the steps above to make the ‘tails’ of the bow. Utilise your own creativity depending on the needs of your cosplay =)

Read how I made my Moriyama Shiemi (Ao No Exorcist) Summer Uniform and Homura Akemi Costume for some tips!

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9) Tie a rubber band around the middle. The green drawn portions are the ‘tails’ of the butterfly bow. Tie the tails up together with the bow.

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10) Use a long rectangle piece of fabric and wrap it nicely around your ribbon. You can choose to sew 2 piece of the rectangle fabric together to form a tube. But I’m usually too lazy to do that and will just fold the sides in.

I’m sorry my photographs don’t show the ‘tails’ but they should already be part of the bow at this point.

Don’t worry about it coming apart, just make sure you do a neat job wrapping the bow in the middle and then sew everything together at the back.

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11) You will end up with something like this, but with tails.


12) Next just sew or glue on a suitable safety pin for easy wearing !


And that marks the end of this entry. Hope you found this tutorial useful, remember to leave me a comment if you did ^_^


Anonymous said…
Definitely useful thanks! :D
Momoyamo said…
Super useful!
JUST what I needed!
Thanks a lot!
Anonymous said…
Hey kaika!

Thanks for the tutorial. Awesome tutorial. :D
Ichihara Shippo said…
I really love it, thank you so much
Anonymous said…
This was great thanks!
Now I can make a bow for my yowane haku cosplay :3
Anonymous said…
That's an adorable Story of Evil cosplay, if you could do a specific instruction set on Kagamine Len it'd really help me out. Thanks!
Unknown said…
I never thought of how easy it could be. Thank you so much!

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