Why shell out $$$ for a set of cute bow barrettes at the mall when you can easily make identical ones yourself for way cheaper? Or even for free if you’re using up-cycled materials! All it takes is two squares of fabric, a little sewing, and a whole lot of folding. Make a bunch of them and wear them all at once to show off your awesome girliness.

You’ll need:

  • Two pieces of sturdy fabric (stretch knits won’t cut it for this project!). For the bow you’ll need a square of fabric that measures 9 ½ inches wide and 10 ½ inches long. You’ll also need a rectangular piece that measures 2 ½ inches wide and 3 ½ inches long for the little cincher part that goes in the middle. These measurements include ½-inch seam allowances to be on the safe side.
  • thread to match your fabric
  • scissors
  • sewing pins
  • a sewing machine
  • plain barrettes
  • extra-strength glue

Making the bow base

1. Fold the largest square of fabric in half lengthwise—if there’s a “right” side and a “wrong” or inside side to the fabric, fold it so only the wrong side is showing—and sew a straight stitch up side that doesn’t have the fold (we’ll refer to this as the side seam).

Step 1: Fold and sew.

2. After you stitch up the side seam, take two sewing pins and place one in each corner of fabric on the folded side. Turn the whole thing right-side-out.

Step 2: Pin the corners.

3. Grab both ends (corners) of the side seam and flip that side of the fabric over so those corners match up with the corners you pinned in the last step.

Step 3: Flip and align corners.

Your pins should now match up with the straight seam you made in step one like so:

After you get the side-seam edges lined up with the two pins, your side seam should be in the middle of the fabric square, instead of on the side. The scored line in this photo represents where the side seam should now be:

4. Fold the rectangle in half widthwise, and close the raw edges with a zigzag stitch. Turn it right-side-out again and set it aside for later.

Step 4: Sew the raw edges.

Making the bow cincher

Next we’re gonna make the little piece of fabric that cinches the bow. The cincher is basically made the same way the bow base is, just on a much smaller scale.

1. Fold the 3 ½ x 2 ½-inch piece of fabric in half lengthwise, and pin it. Run a zigzag stitch along the raw edges on the side to close it.Turn it right-side-out. You should now have this skinny tube-like piece of fabric.

2. Fold it in half again, right-sides together, and zig zag stitch the bottom edges closed. You should now have something that resembles a little loop of fabric.

Step 5: Fold the smaller fabric, pin, stitch, fold again, and stitch.

Putting it all together

1. Remember the bow base that we set aside earlier? Well, it’s time to bring it out again! First, rotate the zigzagged seam that you made in step six so it’s in the center of the square.

Step 1: Rotate the seam.

2. Take your thumb and index finger and pinch the middle of the square, sandwiching the seam that runs widthwise in the middle, to make a pleat. Repeat this accordian-style folding until you have all of the fabric pleated.

Step 2: Pleat the fabric.

3. Place two pins in the middle of the bow to secure the pleats.

Step 3: Secure the pleats with a pin.

4. Pinch the pleats together on one end of the bow and push them through the cincher loop.

Step 4: Pull the pleats through the loop.

5. At this point you can remove the pins that are holding the pleats in place. Continue pulling the fabric loop inwards until it reaches the center of the bow.

Step 5: Remove the pins and pull.

And there you have it! A ~perfect~ hair bow, minus any weird lopsided parts, floppiness, or other imperfections that seem to plague hair-bow crafters everywhere.

Now all you need to do is stick a blank hair barrette on the other side with a little super glue and you’re good to go! ♦