My fiance and I have just recently moved to Texas and we are making our rounds to check on the anime conventions within a reasonable distance away. First up is Anime Matsuri in Houston, Texas. I’m sporting some freshly cropped brunette hair this year, so I felt like channeling my inner magic and cosplaying as Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service. This one is very dear to my heart, so I wanted to hand-make more of my cosplay than I usually would, but I am very bad at sewing. Here is how I made a very simple Kiki bow:
1 yard of red fabric (cotton or a thick broadcloth)
7/8 cotton balls for mild stuffing (optional)
1 roll of stitch witch or fabric glue
Hot glue gun
This may seem like an obvious step, but I definitely missed it the first time around. Before you try to do anything, it is best to go ahead and completely iron your fabric. Once you start manipulating it, it will be harder to even out any creases. Make sure your iron is on a medium or low setting at first depending on the type of fabric you chose.
Lay out your fabric on a flat surface. (I honestly sat on my yoga mat and did everything on the floor. Hey, whatever works.) Measure out a rectangle on your fabric of 10 inches high by 20 inches long. You have a yard of fabric so that you can make a few mistakes and still have plenty left over. Make sure that you carefully trace out the rectangle and cut it out. Don’t worry if you edges look like a two year old’s craft project, these will be hidden along the way.
Take you ruler and measure exactly 5 inches high on your rectangle cloth. This should still be in the center of the height. You are going to take your top portion and fold it so that the top is touching you 5 inch middle marker. Then take your bottom portion and fold it upwards so that it touches the marker as well. The top and bottom fabric should be ‘kissing’ in the middle on the 5 inch marker straight across (hot dog style). You will need to glue these fabrics to this point. I suggest using stitch witch and an iron because it is easy to apply and cannot be seen on the outside of the fabric. The fabric glue takes longer to dry, so you can’t do everything quickly in one sitting and I feel like I always use too much glue. A friend of mine suggested using a hot glue gun, but when I tried it, the glue made it impossible to bend the fabric and it seeped through the fibers, making it visible on the outside. If you are good at sewing, feel free to sew it, but I am not at all.
This is an entirely optional step. Since you have tons of fabric, you can try it both with this step and without to see which you prefer. This involves lightly stuffing the bow to make it bigger and more 3D. You take your cotton balls and tear them apart really well. Make sure that you can lay them out almost completely flat before the insert them. Now, there should still be two openings on either side of our fabric because we only sealed the lips of them together. Place you cotton ball stuffing inside the openings and spread it out lightly on both sides. Make sure that you are spreading it evenly and all the way from the center to the outside.
Now we are going to seal up those other ends and make the loops of the bow. Take your ruler and measure the length of the bow to mark the middle. It should still be 10 inches to the middles because our length was 20 inches in the beginning. Just as we did in step two, you are going to fold each far end into the middle so that they kiss in the center (hamburger style folding). Take your stitch witch or fabric glue and seal these to ends together either on top of each other or a close as you can. The seam created will be covered up either way later.
Now we are going to be making the little ribbing folds in the middle of our bow. Take the fabric in the middle and start folding it back and forth like you use to do when you made paper fans in school. You can make your folds as big or a small as you want, but I made mine a little less than half an inch wide. This way I had more ribbing and the bottom and top of my fabric ending up folding in the same direction, which I used as the backside of my bow.
Ignore the mess. Don’t judge me.
Now if you let go of the folds, they will immediately fall apart, so in this step, we are going to secure them. I went ahead and used my paltry sewing skills to secure it, but if you don’t know how to, I would suggest placing small dabs of hot glue in between each fold. I just secured the end of my thread and then pushed it directly through all of the folds in one go. I did this about four or five times to strengthen it and then secured my stitch again. Easy as pie.
Now we are going to be whipping up the finishing tie on the outside of the bow. This covers up all the stitching, seems, and any hot glue you might have used. For this step, we need to cut out a thin line of our red fabric. I cut mine out at about 10 inches long and 2 inches wide. The length isn’t that important because we just going to be wrapping it a few times around the middle of our bow.
Just like we did in step 2, we are going to hide the rough edges of our fabric by folding it over lightly on both sides and securing it with stitch witch or fabric glue. These don’t need to be accurately measured into the the center. Just fold it in so that the edges are hidden and you still have about 1 inch wide of fabric on the outside. Then take one end of the length side and hide that end as well. Lightly fold the fabric in and secure it with your glue or stitch witch. The other end will go on our bow first and won’t be seen.
Almost there. Here is where we break out the glue gun. It’s honestly the best option to secure this tightly enough and quickly. Take the unfinished edge of your red strip and lay it in the middle of the side you want as the back of your bow. Apply hot glue fairly liberally to the strip and press it it down until the glue dries. Now take the rest of the strip and start wrapping it around the center of your bow. Glue it slowly along the way, but make sure to use less glue than you needed to secure the first part. You don’t want the glue to spill out the sides. It’s a mess to clean. Wrap the strip continuously around until you either get to the end of your strip or you feel that it looks good. Secure the last bit with a little more glue!
Treat your hot glue burns and give yourself a big ol’ pat on the back, Kiki.