How to make a Japanese school uniform bow

Written by simone cole
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How to make a Japanese school uniform bow
Almost all Japanese students are required to wear school uniforms. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Any girl's Japanese school uniform is not complete without a tie, bow or handkerchief affixed to the collar. While senior school uniforms almost exclusively feature a formal tie, elementary and middle school uniforms feature an iconic tied bow, which became popular after the airing of anime series like Sailor Moon and Fushigi Yuugi on American TV. With a basic knowledge of sewing and some simple materials, anybody can make this kind of bow.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Red duck cloth -- 2 metres (2 yards)
  • Red thread
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Straight pins

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  1. 1

    Lay the duck cloth flat on the table. Cut out two 30 cm by 20 cm (12 inch by 8 inch) rectangles. Align the two pieces and stitch together, leaving a 6 mm (1/4 inch) seam allowance as well a small opening, large enough to turn the bow inside-out so that the seam will be on the inside. Use the straight pins to help keep the pieces aligned as you stitch them together.

  2. 2

    Turn the bow inside out through the opening. Tuck the raw seams inside of the bow, lining the raw edges up with the stitched edge, and stitch closed from the outside. Trim off any loose strings. You have created the main part of the bow.

  3. 3

    Next, form the bow's "tails." Cut two long 32.5 cm by 20 cm (17 inch by 8 inch) rectangles from the cloth. If you want a bow that has two points on each tail (as commonly seen on school uniforms), cut two triangles out of the fabric at each end. Align the two pieces together and stitch closed with a 6 mm (1/4 inch) seam allowance, leaving an opening large enough to turn the piece inside out.

  4. 4

    Turn the piece inside out. Tuck the raw edge into the bow, aligning the seams nicely, and stitch closed. You have completed the piece that will become the "tails" of the bow.

  5. 5

    Next, make a small fabric wrap that will hold the two pieces together. You will essentially need to create a fabric tube, where raw edges are not exposed, that is pressed flat into a rectangle that will be wrapped around the two major parts. Cut out a 15 cm by 5 cm (6 inch by 2 inch) strip of red fabric. Fold the strip "hot-dog style" into thirds, tucking the raw edges out of view. When you have successfully tucked the raw edges away, press flat and stitch. You should have a nice 20 cm (8 inch) long band that can be used to wrap around the bow and tails.

  6. 6

    Align the middles of the bow and tails, flat on a surface. Pick them both up, and gently pinch the centres together. Wrap the band around them. Shape and adjust the bow, tails and band until you achieve the look desired. Stitch the band tightly closed around the bow to permanently fix everything in place.

Tips and warnings

  • Use hot glue or craft adhesive on the inside of the band to prevent the bow, tails or band from shifting. Affix the bow to your school uniform with a safety pin or by hand-stitching with a needle and thread.

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