Ribbons and Bows

Photo: Anna Williams

Beautiful in their own right, lustrous ribbons are at the foundation of each of these bows. When choosing a ribbon, consider how you want the bow to look. Stiff or wired ribbon creates bows with perky loops that hold their shape; soft fabrics are great for bows that lie flat or bend gracefully. Here are some ideal pairings, with proportions -- of loops to tails, for example -- that feel just right.


This tailored multilayered bow with loops takes its inspiration from the feminine waistband embellishments of 1950s dresses.


The abundant loops of this pom-pom-like bow make it a fanciful adornment. Satin ribbon has a radiance that highlights this bow's contours.

Layered Loops

These stacked bows look like scrollwork. The picot edge, made of delicate fabric loops, emphasizes the folds.


Pleating grosgrain ribbon results in a pinwheel shape that is intricate yet sturdy.

Figure Eight

As the name suggests, this bow is created by winding ribbon into figure eights. Wire-edge ribbon helps the bow retain its form, but any stiff ribbon will do.

  • Classic
  • The timeless appearance of this archetypal bow with full, cheery loops and long tails is best when tied with a crisp ribbon, such as taffeta.
  • Winged
  • Who knew a simple square knot could be so lovely? Notches cut at the ends of the tails create "wings" that complete the bow's shape. We used silk moire ribbon; its stiffness is ideal for single-layered designs.


This handsome bow -- its name an allusion to its cousin, the bow tie -- is created by folding, not tying, thick velvet ribbon.

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