Creating a Detachable Mila Bow

It is that time of year when EVERY dress needs a big ‘ole bow on the back to celebrate the season. Mila is the perfect place to start for a gorgeous big bow. I do love the Mila pattern (also available in baby sizes here Baby Mila)for a special dress as well. The zipper closure provides a neat and clean finish and the easiest way to use fabrics like lace and tulle without needing buttonholes and a placket!

Sometimes, however, you have a vision with another pattern and you just NEED that giant bow. So, in that case you have a couple options! You can sew the Mila bow into the side seams of just about any pattern. You may choose to add a sash across the front, sewn to the bodice or just gathered at the side seams and left loose OR you can create a detachable Mila bow to wear only for special days but remove it for more of an every day look! This last option is what we will work on today!

The detachable bow can work for any pattern, woven or knit. Today I will show you the detachable Mila bow on a modified Adelyn which is made with a knit bodice and a woven skirt. I modified Adelyn to have a gathered circle skirt and ruffle but you will surely recognize the fan favorite bodice!

Adelyn with a modified skirt and detachable Mila bow.

Start by measuring the width of your front bodice pattern piece and then doubling that measurement (since the bodice is cut on the fold, the full width of the bodice would be double the pattern piece). This will be the width (i.e., long end from side seam to side seam) of our front sash piece.


The length (i.e., the height of your front sash) will be based on the size you are making and how large or small you prefer the front sash. I find 2.5″ to 3″ finished length to be great. Whatever you choose, simply double it (because it will be folded) and add 1/2″ (for seam allowance on the open end). So, for example, if my front bodice is 11″ wide I would cut my front sash piece to be 11″ wide by about 6″ long.


Once you have your front sash piece cut you can also go ahead and cut and sew your Mila bow as directed in the pattern. Gather the raw edges of your two bow pieces and set aside.


Take your front sash piece, fold the long way and press. Then press each long edge in 1/4″ to create a memory crease.

Take your two bow pieces that you already assembled using the Mila pattern, and gather them to fit between your center fold and one of the 1/4″ memory creases.

Fold the front sash piece to sandwich the bow piece in between and sew along the short edge with a 3/8″ seam allowance.

Repeat on the opposite side. Be sure the pointed end of the bow pieces are facing the same direction (either both down or both up).

Once both sides are sewn flip them out and use a pointed tool to create crisp corners. Turn the raw edge in along the 1/4″ memory crease and pin or clip in place.

Topstitch along all four edges using a 1/8″ seam allowance.

Your detachable bow is now finished! You may choose to simply tie this on as a belt and remove it as you wish. To avoid slipping, you may also choose to create small, crochet loops and sew them into the sides of the bodice to hold the sash up when being worn. The loops are fairly unnoticeable on the bodice.


We’ll start by chaining about 2″ worth of crochet loops and knotting off. If you don’t know how to do this you could simply use a loop of yarn or embroidery floss. You can also find a quick tutorial on “chaining off” on Pinterest etc. Leave a tail on both ends to sew into the bodice.

Find the place where the waist seam flips up and sew one tail into the bodice at that point.


Then I simply sew the other end in right above the waist seam and tie the two tails together inside the bodice. Repeat on the other side and that’s it!

You can now have that oversized, beautiful bow for a special occasion, but remove it and wear the same dress to school!

The Mila bow is a great addition to any dress, sewn in or detachable!


Mila bow sewn into the side seams of a Molly dress.

Mila Bow sewn into the side seams of a Jaimesyn dress.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial and I can’t wait to see what you decide to embellish with a detachable Mila bow! Be sure to share your photos in the Simple Life Fan Group so we can all be inspired!

– Stevey




%d bloggers like this: