Keeping It Simple - Buttons and Bows

Being the "Meesy" to two beautiful granddaughters I am always on the lookout for cute things that I can make for them or with them.  They are very girly girls and love fancy ribbons, barrettes and bows.  Last weekend I went on a getaway with a friend and we browsed through shops in every little town we went through.  In one I saw the cutest monogrammed things from key chains to hair bows to pacifier holders.  I knew I had to come home and try a few of these.  And although they are quick it doesn't have to be a monogram.  Any tiny design like the one you can download below would work as well.

First here are my first two button bows:


You will need:

  • 24 inches of ¾" - 1" wide Ribbon depending on how many loops you want in your bow.  In my opinion Grosgrain works best and if you have never done one before you might want to consider starting with the four loop bow.
  • 1 alligator clip or snap clip.
  • 1 cover button 7/8"- 1" in diameter ( I used the "not tools required" kind where the back snaps on.).
  • Paper and pencil.
  • 1 small design or monogram that fits in the diameter of the button front.
  • Scrap fabric about 3" square (or if you want to hoop it large enough to do so).
  • Embroidery thread.
  • Tear-away stabilizer.
  • Sewing thread and a hand needle.
  • Temporary spray adhesive (optional).
  • Stapler (optional but nice).


Embroidering the Button Front

1.  Hoop the stabilize.

2.  Spray a little adhesive on each corner of the scrap and center in hoop.

3.  Load and embroider the design or monogram letter.

4.  Remove from hoop but do not tear off the stabilizer yet.


Making the Button (you can follow the directions on the package)


1. Cut the half circle pattern from the back of the button package.

2. Fold a small piece of paper in half and trace to make a circle.  Cut the circle out.

3. Place button in center of paper and trace around it.

3. Place the paper on top the backside of the design centering the design in the inner circle and trace the outside of the circle pattern.  Cut out the design along the trace line.  Tear off the stabilizer carefully. 

4. Place the button on top of the backside of the design centering it under the button.  Pull the fabric around and press onto the little spikes stretching as necessary but holding the design in the center. 

5. Lay the button face down. Place the back on and use a spool to press until it clicks to lock in.


Making the Bow

1. Fold your length of ribbon like this:


 2.  Place the clip at center and pull up to the crossover point.  Hold or clip like this:

ribbon 2

 3.  Fold the ends down to making the second set of loops in approximately the same size at the first ones.

ribbon 3a  ribbon 3b

 4.  Now I cheat here and staple it to hold it.  Then hand sew the layers together through the center.

ribbon 4

5.  Place the button in the center front and sew on.  If your little one is younger you can add a couple of dabs of hot glue as extra insurance that it won't come off.  Sew bow to a clip, headband or ponytail band.

ribbon 5 

Click here to Download the Mini Flower design

Alphabet Xpress has some great fonts that could be used for these fun little bows too.

I think I will look for some mini-Christmas designs to use for my next button bow making afternoon.

If you make some of these be sure to post them so we all can see and get inspired.  If you know some other good bow making tips or uses for embroidered covered buttons share those with us all as well.

Take care,


Comments (6) -

thecomputerist 9/25/2009 6:44:42 PM

I love how you make everything simple.

I have my last granddaughter and when she finally gets hair, I plan to be a buttons and bows grandma.


I love it.

I was just blessed with my 1st granddaughter.

Mother of 5 sons, Nana to 4 grandsons.  Macee will definitely be a buttons and bows girl.


maggiemilner 9/26/2009 9:41:00 AM

I have twin grand daughters - no - they don't look alike at all and with very different personalities.

However one of them is very girly and although just starting high school I know she will love something like the bows.

A couple of ideas you've inspired:  How about drawing the circle first, and centering the design.  Then you could put several designs in one hoop without worrying about the spacing.  Also, on that type of covered button, I find that a knit fabric or one with a little stretch works very smoothly over the spikes.

I've done the covered buttons before, never thought about bows.  Very nice idea!

Thank you for your ideas.

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The Avid Embroiderer Presents - Dancing the Night Away

The Avid Embroiderer Presents - Dancing the Night Away

I can remember the Wednesday Night dance at my High School.  It was so fun and dreamy.  (OK, I was a teenager!)  I remember dancing the night away, the lights were always low, and it was very warm in that room.  Between dances, many people went outside to cool off in the beautiful night air.  It makes me feel sentimental.

I remember Dick Clark's Bandstand and again, the teens are dancing, sometimes with the lights down low.

Today's teen dancers love what we enjoyed too.  Dancing and lots of twinkling/flashing lights.  I was thinking about the glow-in-the-dark threads that we have available to us.  I was also feeling about teenagers today believe that 30 years young is ancient and heaven help us over 60!  Being 70 years young has been great for me and whether you are looking back or forward to that number, I promise, my age is perfect for me!

In an effort to close a little of that age gap, I was thinking that I would do something for my older granddaughter that will have some bling and be great on the dance floor.  Additionally, with Halloween on the horizon, this will be a good idea to add to a costume.  Keep reading for my idea for that!

I have had this pattern for many years.  I have no idea where I got it but I do like it a lot!  The pattern is both a flower and a heart, and you can't beat that for wonderful designs.  It is a simple pattern, and I used some of my old scraps of interesting and shiny fabrics for the hearts. 

The edges are done with a polyester glow-in-the-dark thread that I have also had for a long time.  I felt concerned that it would not be glowing but it came through like a champ!

Here is my 'discovery sew' where I find that I am on the right track.

Here are two of my favorite items that would be really terrific for this project as well.  Click on the picture to access the link. 

Here is where a photo of the glow-in-the-dark project was going to go.  However, in the dark, the camera wants to put the flash on it.  So, you have to take my word for it, the project is really pretty with the glowing design.

Here is my idea for my grandchildren's costumes.  We all know it is not a good idea to place their names on their clothing, so I chose to do something different.

I have some Green Grosgrain Ribbon that is about 1.5" (3.8cm) and I am going to use about 45" creating a sash for them.  The sash would be like the beauty contest style.  Then I will embroider, again with the glow-in-the-dark thread, "BEST COSTUME".  I will embroider it so the wording is on both the front and back of the sash.  My grandchildren will be more visible and that makes me happy.

Check out this short video for several very clever life tips and tricks, especially if you don't know what he is holding!  Click on the photo to get to the link.

Best wishes to you and yours, Pat, The Avid Embroiderer
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