I have fallen madly in love with ribbon. This is only natural for someone like me. I’ve been sewing since I was ten years old. I have always been fascinated with making something out of nothing and I enjoy working with my hands. It only took one visit to the craft store to get me hooked. Let’s talk bow making!
Locally, I’ve had the best luck at Michael’s finding inexpensive ribbon. I have found that 3/8” works best for ear bows, with 5/8” and 7/8” for collar bows. My store has a large display of ribbon in 3-yard packages for $1.00 a spool on sale. If you cut the ribbon between 11-13 inches long you will get about 10 pieces of ribbon. This works out to approx. 10 cents apiece.
I precut all my ribbon and keep it in a plastic bag so it stays organized and clean. I use grosgrain ribbon. I like the way this type of ribbon looks. It has an interesting texture and makes for an attractive bow. Grosgrain ribbon also gives the bow weight and an expensive feel.
Make sure you use thick, high quality rubber bands. You might want to use two rubber bands instead of one so your bow will have back up in case one rubber band breaks. Upholstery thread is the way to go with a long darning needle for stitching it all together. Make sure the needle is sharp so it is easy to push through the layers of ribbon. You won’t have to make as many passes with the needle because this thread is heavy duty and doesn’t break. I always triple knot my thread.
You can also make bows out of paper flowers. These were purchased at Michael's.
Finding something special to put in the center of the bow is the fun part. You can use beads, pom poms, buttons, rosettes…that’s up to you. You can wander around the craft store and buy anything that strikes your fancy. I hand stitch all my bows. I keep my trinkets in a little container that includes an assortment of styles and colors so I can mix and match. Experiment. You can also troll eBay for goodies and do-dads for bow centers.
Many of the local craft stores have coupons every week. Some creative groomers frequent the Dollar Stores and buy the 99 cent stems of plastic flowers, popping off the flowers and going that route.
I found the cutest packages of bugs and spiders for my Halloween bows at 99 cents a package at a dollar store. They came in two colors, black and white so I bought one of each. I even have plenty left over for next year’s bows!
I am a big fan of the collar bows. I find that many of my customers do leave them on until the next groom. Ear bows can leave knots and tangles in the hair and frankly, I don’t like putting them in. The biggest bonus in regard to collar bows– you only need one! That’s a money saver.
Some holiday bows...
Here are some ear bows. These were easy as pie! All I had to do was stitch a rubber band on the back as pictured.
Now, if you are reading this and shaking your head and saying this is not going to happen, there is hope! If bow making is not your cup of tea there are many talented, creative groomers out there that make bows. One of my favorites is Tica Verret. Tica has a large assortment of high quality, hand crafted items. Check out her facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/TicaBows. Other places to find interesting bows are www.etsy.com, www.ebay.com or just google “bows.” To get more familiar with bow making you can also watch bow videos on youtube.
Every single one of my customers has noticed the hand made bows. They love them and are impressed when I say I made them myself. No doubt, bows can give your groom the WOW factor. They are the icing on the cake. A finishing touch. Dress up your furry best friends in the finest bling and guess what will happen? Every time your customer sees that snazzy bow on their pet’s collar, they will think of you and smile. Whatever path you follow, you can be creative or spend some time having fun shopping for bows on the Internet. It’s even a good idea to just look around and get ideas. I’m hoping this blog will light a spark under your bow-making fire as we all head towards the holiday season together.