DIY Sailor Bow Tutorial and Free Pattern

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DIY Sailor Bow Tutorial and free pattern

I’ve been searching for a good DIY Sailor Bow Tutorial and free pattern, but couldn’t find one…  so I decided to create my own!  I’ve loved seeing them all over Etsy and Pinterest, but the stores I try to buy them from are always closed.  Now I can make as many as I want, with any fabric I like!   I do have one from Etsy, and I will tell you that it is incredibly well made and totally worth the money if you can catch the bow you want!

Quick Update!  I have a new post showing how to cut these bows on a Cricut Maker!  There is also a free SVG file on that post to use to make them!


watercolor Christmas gift tagsMaking this as a gift?  Check out this post too for awesome FREE printable Christmas gift tags!  They are some of our new favorites to cut out on the Cricut or with a 2 inch punch.






Received this as a gift?  Send one of these cute Thank You cards to someone you love!  And find more great free printables here!



These are incredibly addicting, and my own personal disclaimer is that I should warn you ahead of time that these are a tad bit more time consuming to make than they appear, so be prepared!  Happy sewing!

DIY Sailor Bow & Baby Bow Instructions


  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Fabric
  • Glue gun and glue (I used fabric hot glue)
  • Alligator hair clips, nylons, pattern pieces
  • Bodkin for turning if you have one (or just use your fingers) – a knitting needle or something with a blunt end will make your corners look sharp without poking through

Directions for sewing Sailor and Baby Sailor Bows

1) Using the Free Pattern Template, cut fabric and fold the pieces right sides together, using the lines in the template as a guide.  Iron your folds to help hold everything in place while you sew.
2) Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, stitch along the edges as indicated on the pattern.  Take note of the “gap” you need to leave in the center of your hexagonal piece, so you will be able to turn it right side out! Be sure to back stitch a few stitches at the starting and stopping points.
3) Trim edges about 1/8″ away from your stitched lines, being careful not to cut through any stitches.

4) Turn inside out.

5) On long pieces roll the seam to the back middle.  Iron.

6) Fold long unfinished ends of rectangle pieces to the middle overlapping 1/4 inch,  and wrap tightly with string or floral wire.

7) Pinch together bottom bow piece and wrap with wire to top piece.

8) Glue to clip (Sailor Bow) or 1.5 inch nylon ring (Baby Sailor Bow).  Making sure to remember which side you need the clip to be worn on.  I always use my bodkin or a paintbrush to prop my clip open so it doesn’t glue it together on the bow.

9) Fold and iron center piece, and glue to back of bow and wrap it around clip or headband to secure.  The end should fold over 1/4 inch at the very end for a nice clean edge.  Glue end.  I always wrap down and then up and over the front for my bows.

Click HERE

Thanks for visiting our site, be sure to check our our new announcement, and newest additions to our Minted, Spoonflower and Etsy stores on your way to the pattern download below!

Click on the links below to download your patterns! And tag me #diysailorbow on Instagram with your final projects! @nataliemalanstudio

Be sure to check out this new highly requested post!


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26 thoughts on “DIY Sailor Bow Tutorial and Free Pattern

  1. I was looking for a simple bow pattern to add as a statement piece to my plain, white Sailor-collared Dress but this is even better! Thanks so much for taking the time to make this ♥

    1. What type of nylon stockings do you find work best for headbands? Is there a particular brand that you use?

    2. I use my old ones that get a snag or the cheap ones in the little plastic balls at Walmart. As Alice is growing the used ones or the part by the thigh is fitting best.

  2. Hi Natalie,

    Just curious where you purchased your alligator clip from? Also, how big is the alligator clip?


    1. Hi! Sorry, my blog has been down, but I have a Brother from WM that I have used for 9 years and love. It is a CE 5000 PRW. It was inexpensive but works great for me (and I have sewn TONS on it over the years).

  3. It would be really great if you Offer a Free Tutorial or Do a Free Class of an Introduction to Watercolours, so we all can have starting point to Do It Ourselves.

  4. Thank you for this pattern! I used both patterns to make a double bow with contrasting fabric and it turned out super cute. 🙂

  5. Hello! I saved the pattern but it saved it as both patterns being on one single page…how do I get it to be on 2 separate pages?

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