Running Bows: Tutorial

Remember these?  The perfect accessories for your running shoes.


I think I need to rename them my “Speed Bows” or “Go faster Bows”- essential accessorizing for the sewster that runs.  Or the sewster’s nieces’ lace ups or the sewster’s daughter’s Mary Janes perhaps?  However, these are official Badger Race Day wear that maybe thousands of fellow racers have been coveting from afar & wished they too could sport colour & quirk at pavement level. I wear them & feel girly, (but that does not prevent me taking it seriously, in case you wondered.  It is possible to feel girly & competitive, I assure you.)

This post will eliminate any scratching of head or mental gymnastics you may have started to make your own.  They are too simple for words, which is why writing a tutorial for them will be easy peasy.

1. Cutting your fabric

Start with some rectangles of your chosen fabric.  Scraps of craft cotton, dress making poly/ cotton, even Liberty lawn would produce some exceptional bows & if you were feeling glam I could also imagine some in raw silk …anything really that’s hanging around & is not too drapey.

Running Bows 1Each bow is made up of a larger rectangle for the bow & a smaller piece for the knot.  I’ve cut many different sized bows, these are on the larger size & my bow piece is approx 14cm x 13cm and the knot is 8cm x 8cm.

2. Sewing the bow

I generally took say .75cm seam allowances, but it really is no great shakes what you take.  I just decided there was no need to sew the usual 1.5cm & then trim.

Running Bows 2Fold each bow in half right sides together along the length & sew leaving a gap in the middle for turning.  (I would reinforce this part of the seam by the centre as it will be under strain when you do turn it- whatever you normally do at the start/ end of a straight seam)

Running Bows 3Squish the tube that you have just sewn, still inside out so that the seam you have just sewn is central then flatten each end & sew across each end.  Clip the corners & turn right side out poking the corners with a turner so that they are nice & sharp.  Press.  You don’t need to sew up the gap that you used to turn it through, honest!

3. Sew the knot

Running Bows 4Right sides together sew one edge of each knot & turn right sides out & press.

Running Bows 5Now this is the nifty bit.  These bows have buttonholes to thread your shoe laces through so they stay where you want them!  The buttonholes will sit underneath the bow when the knot is wrapped around the bow, so make two tiny buttonholes with a good 1.5cm distance to the closest unsewn edge as you’ll need some seam allowance left there when you come to fix the knot around the bow.  Cut through the buttonholes now so that they are ready to be used.

4. Assembling the bows

Running Bows 6Back to the bow pieces – using some doubled thread & a needle sew a smallish running stitch along the centre of the bow & pull it to gather the bow.  You might want to play around with the gathers to distribute them to make them pleasing to your eye.  Wrap the thread, knot it, etc to secure this new “waist” in your bow.

Running Bows 7Take your knot & wrap it around the centre of your bow, folding the exposed raw edge under & then sewing it by hand.

Running Bows 8Ta na!  All you need now is to thread them onto your laces.

Here’s my older pair- slightly smaller in scale.

pink elephant bowsNow if you are anything like me, these bows will stay put on said running shoes, weathering all the conditions that you impose, mud, rain, snow even, until the shoes are not even good enough for gardening.

Have fun making them!  Let me know how they go & whether they become your speed bows, won’t you?

12 thoughts on “Running Bows: Tutorial

  1. Gjeometry

    Hee, these are cute! I’ve made something similar for stuffed animals to wear. I say you wear one colour on one shoe and another colour on the other shoe. Just to confuse people!

  2. Andrea

    Two of my friends are running their first half marathon in two weeks. It’s a “fun run” so they are wearing quirky outfits. After I saw your tutorial I showed my friends your bows and immediately received a request for them so I’ll be working on them over the weekend. Thanks for the tut!

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Yay!! I am so glad that some bows will be popping up in other races (btw how can a Half Marathon ever be described as a “Fun Run”!!! Blimey, I’d love to be that good!!!)

  3. Kim Hood

    I need all the help I can get so I will make a pair of these faster than I can run! I imagine my much fleeter of foot daughter would like some too. They will help me in my training for a half marathon in September. A bit of a leap since I haven’t run more than 5K yet!

  4. FabricKate

    I love this idea – thanks SB. I love your running tops too.

    I have been thinking of making running shorts as I favour the old school shorts, with integral knickers, elasticated waist and not too short (as I am not too young). Most of the RtW versions are black or too short or horrible colours. I was thinking of using silk and painting a design on the them. Anyway I was wondering if you had seen a pattern anywhere?

    thanks again.

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      I haven’t found a pattern for shorts with integral knickers ….yet! I shall keep my eyes open though. I’m interested in your silk & adding designs to them – that is a really cool idea!

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