Embroidery Library

Add-a-Bow Embroidery


Add-a-bow embroidery is a fast and easy way to add three-dimension interest to a sweatshirt -- or to a pillow cover, wall hanging, table topper, and more.

Embroider the design, then tie any ribbon you like through the special slits included in the design for just that purpose, and a cute design becomes even more appealing!

Read on for quick and easy instructions to make your own ribbon-decorated embroidery.


Supplies Needed:

**3/8" wide ribbon

**Seam ripper

**Needle and thread for some hand sewing

**Fabric glue (optional)

For embroidering on sweatshirts:

**Medium weight cutaway stabilizer

**Temporary spray adhesive

Designs Used:

I used the medium size of the Winter Meadow Snowman (Add Ribbon).

Special project notes:

Turn the shirt inside out before washing and drying to minimize wear on the bow.

You can change the thread color of the two buttonhole (this is found on the last color stop) to match your fabric so that these slits appear less visible. In this project, I stitched the two buttonholes in light blue so you can clearly see where they sew.


Begin by embroidering the design. I put the design on a sweatshirt, but you can embroider it on anything you like. If you are embroidering it onto a sweatshirt, see this Fabrics 101 article for more information on embroidering sweatshirts.  

After the design has finished, trim away the excess stabilizer on the backside of the embroidery.


The design has two buttonholes positioned side by side.  To cut the holes open, add a pin at the top of the button holes. Then, using a seam ripper, cut the button holes open, starting at the bottom and working your way up to the pin (the pin prevents you from cutting too far up).


Next, cut a piece of 3/8" wide ribbon to about 18" long. Thread the ribbon through the holes with equal lengths on each side.


Tie a knot in the ribbon and then tie the ribbon into a bow. Next, trim the tails of the ribbon to the desired length. To secure the ribbon (so it will not come undone), with needle and thread sew through the center knot of the bow to the shirt. You can also use fabric glue to tack the tails of the ribbon in place. Add a drop of glue to the backside of the tails and press them in place on the fabric. And you are done!

A ribbon sweatshirt is a sweet addition to any wardrobe. Choose your favorite color ribbon to make your embroidery even more eye-catching!

Click here for a printable version of these project instructions.

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Products used in this Project: