I was looking for something special to do with a big colorful piece of felt I made and decided a hair bow would be perfect. I wouldn't have to cut the felt and break up the pretty pattern. And a really huge bow is cool. You can follow this instructable using any fabric or felt you like.
Step 1: What You Need
about an hour of time
fabric or felt - about 8" x 10"
(felt is very nice because it takes well to shaping and is easy to sew by hand)
barrette clip - the one I used is 9 cm
(you could also use a headband, hair scrunchie, or even a large pin back for a brooch)
needle and thread
strong waterproof glue (optional)
note: I washed and dried my piece of felt to make it extra thick. You can do this with an old wool garment as well and cut it after the shrinking. It may need a second wash to tighten the edges. Use very hot water. Using thinner fabrics will give you a long, flowing bow.
Step 2: Shape the Bow
Note: If you're using a fabric with fraying edges and you don't want the frayed look, You'll have to either sew the edges or use Fray Check before you start this step.
Holding your fabric horizontally, gather the fabric in the center. Use a back and forth motion to make an accordion fold like this:
Now run a threaded needle right through the very center of the folds to hold them together. Make sure you knot the thread in the back of your bow.
Go through like this:
Run a few stitches through the same spot so it's secure, then knot the thread in the back. My felt was so thick that I had to make about 8 passes to make the stitching secure.
Step 3: Decorate Your Bow
Decide which direction will be the top of your bow and sew on beads to decorate it. You can make patterns, sew initials if this is for someone in particular or just sew the beads on randomly. You also may want to bead the edges or make hanging bead strands. Have fun, but pay attention to how heavy your bow is getting. Light, tight barrettes stay in place best.
I used tiny seed beads to accent my bow.
To make the back neat, you'll need to tie off beads one at a time or in small groups. Otherwise, you'll have a spiderweb of threads all over the back of your pretty bow.
Put a tiny dot of glue on the thread ends for extra strength. I didn't do this for this project, but sometimes I do.
Note: You'll notice I have a photo of beaded edging, but it's not in my final piece. I took it off because I thought it detracted from the felt pattern.
Step 4: Attach the Barrette
Double a long piece of strong thread that matches your bow and thread your needle. Secure this thread to one end of the barrette (it comes with holes for this purpose). Go around the metal hole a few times. Then lay your barrette where you would like it to go on the back of the bow and sew one stitch from the back to the front of the bow. Now go back through the bow fabric to the back side by pushing the needle through just 1-2 mm from the thread exit. Do not go around and around the metal because this will show on the front! So, it goes like this:
on the back, sew over the metal
on the front, sew teeny, tiny stitches just to get to the back again
Move the placement of stitches around a bit for better holding and so you don't make a hole.
Stitch over the barrette hole 8-12 times or until it feels very secure. Cut the thread.
Make sure your barrette is straight and do exactly the same thing on the other side.
Put a tiny dot of glue on the thread ends for extra strength.
Step 5: Extra Security
Depending on the size of the barrette, the size of the bow, and the fabric you use, you may want to secure the bow a little more. Since the barrette has long "bars" on either side, choose some discreet spots to sew the metal to the bow. Use the same technique as for the sides. UNLESS the stitches won't show on the front because of how the fabric folds. Then you could go around the bar on both sides. Stitch symetrically and cut the thread when you're done with each spot.
Put a tiny dot of glue on the thread ends.
Step 6: Wear It!
You can use this technique for almost any fabric hair bow. I used a special piece of felt, though I think it would also be fun to use a shirt you didn't want to part with or a piece of a sentimental blanket. Because the fabric is so large, there are many possibilities.
If you do this project, please send me photos. I love seeing what others do with my instructables!