Tutorial: Turning Waist Ties Into A Headbow

Let's face it, I have a problem with waist ties. I can't tie a bow behind my back, and I like to wear cardigans or jackets over dresses, so waist ties just get in the way. So if a skirt or a dress comes with detachable waist ties, off they go, to be crammed away in a drawer somewhere. Well, I've decided to put those waist ties to good use and make some headbows out of them! This works best for fancy looking waist ties, the kind with a little bit of lace along the edges, and is a great way to get a matching accessory for an all-over print dress.

  • Detachable waist ties (I've used the ones from my Bodyline FruitsParlor knock-off!)
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread
  • A plain headband or a hair comb

This is my shaky mouse drawn diagram of what you're going to be cutting. All inches are approximate and depend on how big you want your bow to be. Most waist ties are of a tapered shape, with the ends being wider than the parts that button to your dress, so you're going to want to cut evenly from both ties. If you have a waist tie that is of an even width the whole way through, you can save time and bulk by cutting one 18" strip from one tie instead of two 9" strips. You can't do that if your tie is tapered, because then your bow is going to look lopsided and stupid. And no one likes stupid lopsided bows.

The first step is to take the plunge and cut those ties up! You're going to want to cut them about 7 inches long. However long the bottom part of the bow is going to be, plus an inch or so.

Overlap the raw edges and sew the ends together. Don't worry about it being a nice and pretty stitch, this is all going to be hidden. I used a really ugly and lame running stitch. You could even glue this if you were extra lazy.

Now it's time to cut the strips for the looped part of the bow. Cut two sections about 9" long each.

Now sew them into a loop. If your tie is tapered, the raw ends of each piece are not going to be the same size as each other, one will be smaller, just match up the small ends and the big ends and sew them together. Again, your stitches don't have to be pretty.

Now cut a 6" strip from the remainder of the tie. You aren't going to use all 6", but it's best to have too much than too little. Fold the sides over to the back until it's about how big you want the middle "knot" of your bow to be. Take a look at your other head bows to compare. You should really iron this to keep it flat and neat. But, again, I was lazy, so I just stuck it in a heavy book while I was sewing to make it flat.

Gather your loop and strip at the seam line you made. Run another running stitch, with stitches about a half an inch long, and pull gently to gather. You might think you can just do one running stitch through both sides of the loop at the same time, but that's going to make your bow really flat and weird looking. We want some poof to our bow so it actually looks like a bow!

It almost looks like a bow now! Set the gathered loop on top of the strip and use some embroidery thread to simply tie the two pieces together. The middle part is going to be all sorts of ugly looking right now, but you're not going to be seeing that when it's done.

Take your pressed strip for the middle and sew one raw edge to the back of the middle of the bow.

Wrap the middle strip all the way around the front and bring it back to the back. Cut it to size, just an inch longer than it needs to be, fold the raw edge under, and sew it down. And ta da! You now have a bow! You can either sew a hair comb to the underside, or slip in a headband. If you are using a headband you can use a little hot glue to secure it to where you want it to sit on your head.

This is my durrr face :D
My finished headbow! Now I finally have the perfect match for my skirt. Please excuse my grown out hime cut that likes to curl in weird ways XD If you've made a headbow out of your waist ties, let me know. I would love to see them! I have a whole tote bag full of waist ties that I never use. Maybe I'll buy some lace and get a little creative with them next time.


  1. I think i would be too afraid to do this is the very real possibility I'd tire of a certain item someday and want to sell it. Not as pretty or finished, but I fashioned a head accessory once from waist ties using only a safety pin to connect the two pieces together. I like to think of it as a ghetto headdress XD http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3005/3052381650_b1b8bef6ef_m.jpg

  2. This is a wonderful tutorial. I love waist ties and I would probably never be brave enough to cut them up, but this should be very helpful for others. ^.^

  3. tehe I have a huge obsession with bows :3

  4. wow this is a great idea. I have to use this...I hate waist ties as well

  5. Very handy, thanks for sharing.
    I don't know if I'm brave enough but I do need a head bow for the redxpink version of that same skirt.
    You look pretty and so does you doll.

  6. I love your headdress! Is that the Meta camo print? I have it in pink! It's so awesome.

  7. Thank you! I just can never get the hang of them. They annoy me to no end XD

  8. Me too! A bow is sometimes the perfect finishing touch to a whole outfit.

  9. You should! It's scary at first cutting into Lolita clothes (even though mine was just Bodyline!) but it's better than just having the waist ties gather dust.

  10. Thank you :D I had to take a deep breath before I cut into the tie. That raspy noise that scissors make as they cut is so scary when it's Lolita clothes XD

  11. Why would you post a tutorial for something that looks so incredibly clumsy?

  12. So you've finally decided to take the plunge and go on a gap year adventure. ... Invest in a goodquality portable, lightweight te waterproof fanny pack


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