Friday, November 4, 2011

Bows aren't scary

Okay, I'm gonna admit it. I love bows. Well, not on me because it's probably been a good twenty years since I've worn one, but I LOVE to put bows in my daughter's hair. Of course, with this came the curse that my daughter lacked enough hair to affix a bow until she was 2 years old. And another confession -- I'm a matchy-matchy bow person. I like the look of a nice side-sweep of hair/bangs held back with a single bow, but my kid doesn't really have enough hair to accomplish that (at 3), so I'm regulated to lots of pigtail hairstyles. Usually that means two pigtails with cute little matching bows on each. I'm also not a giant bow person. I know that's the "style" that boutiques will push at you, but at least my kid won't permit a giant bow that makes her lean to one side. Or maybe she just doesn't have enough hair (notice a trend?).

All confessions aside, bows are an easy exercise for crafters and non-crafters alike. And since a pair of bows even at Walmart will set you back $5....or a boutique pair for $14 add up quick if you need a rainbow of colors to match everything in your daughter's closet. Or at least a rainbow of shades of pink and purple...

Supplies needed: ribbon or fabric, clip (barrette, alligator clip, or bendy-clip), hot glue gun, a lighter (or my newest fave - a votive candle), measuring tape or ruler, maybe needle and thread, any embellishments

I recommend a craft store (Hobby Lobby, Michaels, AC Moore) for the hair clips - a pack of 20 should be $3 or less. Ribbon spools - I try to use dollar bin ones. The dollar bin ones at Target (multipacks) are too thin and short to do more than line a clip, so you'll probably want a wider ribbon (up to an inch or so) for the main bow. Michaels and Joanns each have clearance ribbon usually for $1 or $2. Even if you splurge on a $5 spool, you're still getting a pair of bows for half the cost of boutique retail.

There are lots of great sites on the that help you actually create the bow you want. I'm not going to reproduce their work -- I didn't come up with any of my own ideas to speak of, I just copy the great ideas of others. Here are a few of my favorite sites:

I would recommend starting off with some plain lined alligator clips. These are great for toddlers because they can clip onto a small amount of fine hair. These will also give you practice on lining clips, which is really the base for most hairbows.

Once you've mastered lining clips, then try some simple bow shapes and try layering two bows on top of one another. These were some of my early attempts. A few of these I threw together in 10 minutes or less to match a particular outfit. The garnet ones at the bottom right I made to match a flower girl dress.

The ones at the left in this picture are made of fabric scraps, but no sewing machine was used. You use an iron and you do have to do a tiny bit of hand-stitching, but I promise a non-sewer could do it.

instructions for fabric flower bow

Here are my latest creations. This shows you how much the ribbon choice and embellishments can change a bow. These two pairs are made from the exact same design.

instructions for this style

Good luck and please show off your own creations!

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