cute spiky cheer bows tutorial

Saucy has a friend who coaches another team in town. They like to chat on the phone and talk each other through the usual ups and downs that happen during the season. Their team colours aren't too far off from The Cheerios - blue, green and white instead of yellow, green and white.

After making plenty of bows for The Cheerios, Saucy was struck with the idea to make bows for her friend's team in time for competition next week. Yes, the teams are competing against each other... but everyone should have fancy hair accessories, don't you think? Plus, Saucy had most of the materials at her disposal and she wanted to try her hand at a different style of bow.

The Cheerios will present these bows to the other team and hope it gives them a little boost of confidence. They've had a hard little go of it over the past few weeks and snazzy new bows just might be the trick to bring back their mojo.

There are lots of tutorials and tips on the Internet, but this is the way Saucy likes to fashion a pretty, compact bow that can be worn atop a high ponytail or worn in pairs on a pigtail hairdo. Now, that would be damned cute.

You will need: 
Grosgrain ribbon at least 2" wide - approximately 18-24 inches per bow
Grosgrain ribbon approximately 1/4" wide in corresponding colours
A needle and thread
Elastic hair bands (one for each bow)
Sharp sewing shears
Strong nylon or plastic string (medium gauge fishing line would also work)
Clear nail polish

Start by measuring three equal lengths of ribbon for your basic bow. Here, Saucy measured three pieces of 2" wide grosgrain ribbon to be six inches long each.

Notice, she used a needle and thread and cinched one of the pieces in the middle. This piece will be the tails of your bow. If you would like longer tails, cut this piece an inch or two longer than the other two pieces but still cinch it in the middle.

Saucy wanted puffy, compact bows for this project.

Next, using a needle and thread, fold the other pieces over, one at a time and cinching the ends together with a little fold and smoosh (technical direction), fasten the bow loop securely with several strong stitches.

The next step is to simple stitch the two loops together, end to end. It doesn't have to be pretty, just strong.

A few more stitches will attach the bow tails to the loops. This sounds painstaking and it might actually be... but this is a fine task to work on while you watch, say, The Bachelor. Courtney... really? That is another blog post for another day.

The next step is optional but if you have enough thread on your needle, place a tiny stitch at the top of the bow tails under where they meet the loop connection. This will give the finish bows a perfect shape with no flapping.

Now... if you can get your hands on this stuff, you are golden. The Secret Weapon finds this at army surplus stores for Saucy (you should go there sometimes, they have the coolest stuff). This is a kind of plastic string that is INDESTRUCTIBLE.  You can tie it, pull it, stretch it to the limits and it will not break. Imagine how handy this material is at a time like now.

It's so durable, you don't even have to use a full width. You can cut the length you need and then proceed to tear it into narrower strips - you will not diminish its strength in the least.

Saucy cut one nice long tail (about eight inches) in another school colour and cinched it with the magic string.

She also used the magic string to secure an elastic pony holder to the back of the bow. She gave it a few little wraps and an extra tight tie.

Then, looping the long green tail under the loops but in front of the tails of the main bow - do you see what she did there? She tied the green tail up and under the loops so they all fly together in the same direction. She does not trim the magic string at this point, not yet. She sets aside the whole business and gets busy making spikes for the embellishment.

Having cut five pieces of ribbon in corresponding colours, she performs the same twist and tie routine with another piece of magic string.

Then, slipping in these short pieces (they're cut to three inches each), she goes along adding and tying the five pieces. She twists and fluffs as she goes along.

Eventually, she has a lovely little spiked ribbon arrangement. Miraculously, if she used a good long length of magic string, she has a generous tail to secure it to the bow, right between the loops.

Here goes nothing... she places the spikes where she wants them in the middle of the bow.

Then, she inverts the whole shebang and uses the long tails of magic string along with the excess tails she did not trim when she added the long green tails... she generously ties and knots the spikes in place. This step also reinforces the elastic to the bow.

After trimming any excess bits of string, the bow is now ready to starch and bake.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Use your hand to puff up the loops of the bow into a nice round shape (or however you like them) and spray generously with laundry spray starch. Saucy does this part over the kitchen sink, transferring the bow onto a cookie sheet lined with a clean tea towel. Sometimes she stuffs the bow loops with tissue paper to prevent them from flattening out when they bake.

Bake your bows about 20 minutes or until firm to the touch. They won't be rock-hard but they'll hold their shape when your cheerleader jumps, stunts and tumbles.

You may repeat the starching process until your spikes are quite in the place you would like them. Of course, you may also decide to re-starch them after each use.

The last, final step before wearing these bows is to trim the tails using a sharp clean scissor. Dab the edges with fray-check or - Saucy's preference - clear nail polish. Don't forget to dab it onto the tips of the spikes as well as each of the tail pieces.

Your bows are now ready for wear and tear. Tip: do not use the bow elastic to create your ponytail. Use a separate elastic (or two) to secure your pony where you want it and then add the bow using the attached elastic. This will ensure your hairdo is more secure and the bow on your elastic will last much longer.

The Fan is bringing extra-wide white grosgrain ribbon home with her from Palm Springs this weekend. Saucy will have one day - Sunday - to fashion oversized bows for The Cheerios to wear to the City Championships next week, and Provincials the following weekend. She's planning on doing it a little differently, so she'll post that tutorial as well.

The Cheerios have snazzy new uniforms to unveil next week, courtesy one of our talented and generous Mama helpers. New bows are in order as well, don't you agree?


Erica M. said...

Such a nice gesture! The bows are beautiful!!!!

Pepper said...

Classy move buddy!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I bow to your generosity to the other team;)

faye said...

Love these- you rock! I just made 32 bows for cheer nationals- I 'm going to try laundry starch- great idea!

Anonymous said...

Granddaughter will LOVE these - Thanks!

MJ said...

(Sound of clapping) ~ way to go! You are so dedicated to this team and your friend!

karen said...

you have a good heart!

Angela Frazer said...

wow you didn't use zip ties this time! Love them