How To Make A Bow Tie For Every Occasion

Are you getting ready for your next big event or just want to offer a perfect Father’s Day gift and help Dad look nice? Then, a handmade bow tie is just the answer. And while you can always purchase a ready-made one, making your own will make it more special and unique!

close up to man wearing a red bow tie

A bow tie is more of a style icon than an accent. It is a statement that shows you’re self-aware, elegant, and not too timid to shy away from the crowd. These accessories have always been a favourite in menswear and have recently been getting very popular. With just a few basic supplies and one pattern piece, you can make your own in no time, whether it is a sewing project or not. Are you ready? Just keep in mind that creating them is simple, but tying them takes practice!

How to make a quick no-sew bow tie tutorial

Making a bow tie is an easy project that you can complete with or without sewing. Follow this guide to make a no-sew fabric bow tie in a hurry for a costume or one to wear with a suit! Are you excited already?

Step 1: Cut out a 23 by 8 cm rectangle of stiff fabric

Choose a fabric that’s stiff, like felt, wool, linen, quilted cotton or faux leather. That will create a bow tie that is about 11 by 8 cm

  1. First, measure and mark your fabric with a ruler and a pen or chalk. 
  2. Then, cut the fabric using a sharp pair of scissors. If you want your bow tie to be larger, cut a bigger rectangle of fabric. You should use a 3 to 1 ratio for length and width and make the length twice the desired length of your finished bow tie.

Step 2: Cut an 8 by 2.5 cm strip of fabric for the bow’s centre 

This length will work for most bow ties sizes since you only need to wrap it around the bow tie’s centre. For one that is larger than 11 by 8 cm, you should start with these dimensions as a base. Then, add 2.5 cm to the length and 1 cm to the width. Remember that you can always trim the strip down to suit the tie, but you can’t add fabric back on.

Step 3: Fold the rectangle in half for the short edges to be lined up

Lay your rectangle out on a flat surface, and fold 1 end over to the opposite one. Line up the rectangle’s edges and hold it in this position with your hand.

Step 4: Squeeze in the bow at the centre

Using your other hand, pick up the rectangle at the centre and squeeze it in to create 3 even folds. When you do this, the centre should look like an accordion, and there should be 3 even, distinct folds in the tie’s centre. Keep holding it at the centre with your hand to keep it folded.

Step 5: Glue the bow between the folds with a hot glue gun

Heat a hot glue gun about 10 minutes before you use it. When it is warmed up, you should loosen your grip on the tie’s centre slightly to expose the area between the folds. Then, apply a bit of hot glue between them. Continue to apply small dots of hot glue into the areas between the folds to secure the bow tie’s centre.

Step 6: Secure the fabric strip around the bow’s centre with hot glue

Take the strip and wrap it so that the short ends overlap on the bow tie’s backside. Then, apply a few dots of hot glue to the fabric to secure its 2 ends to the back of the bow tie and to each other. You can cut off any excess material if needed to get a better fit. Your bow tie is now complete! Attach it to the collar of your shirt with a safety pin through the backside of the bow tie, and enjoy the compliments!

man with red beard wearing red bow tie

Step-by-step guide: How to sew a bow tie

Your accessory options are endless when you know how to make your own bow ties from scratch. Following this DIY bow tie tutorial will show you everything you need to make your own. It’s now time to dust off that old sewing machine and get crafty!

Step 1: Choose a flexible print or colour fabric

Cotton will work well for making your bow tie, but you can use any other fabric you like as long as it is flexible enough. You will need about 22 cm of material and 22 cm of iron-on interfacing. You can either purchase fabric or even upcycle unwanted clothing from your closet, like an old cotton dress shirt.

Step 2: Search and print a simple bow tie pattern

You can purchase a sewing pattern or search online, download a printable free pattern. If you decide to use one from the internet, make sure to read reviews to know its quality and learn if it is equal to your skill level. If you can’t find a tie pattern you want to use, then you can also use an existing tie to create your pattern. Here’s how:

  1. Place the untied fabric on a construction paper sheet
  2. Then, use a pencil or pen to trace the tie’s outline onto the paper. 
  3. Trace around the tie’s edges, leaving 1.3 cm of extra space all around the tie’s edges of the tie. That will be your seam allowance.

Step 3: Cut the fabric and interfacing for the bow tie shape

Put the pattern piece on the folded fabric and insert a few pins through the pattern and fabric layers to secure them. Then, cut the fabric right along the pattern’s outer edges. Repeat the same process with the pattern piece on the folded interfacing. You will end up with 4 pieces of fabric that are the same shape and size.

Step 4: Iron the interfacing onto your fabric

Lay out 1 of your fabric bow tie pieces so that the fabric’s back/the wrong side is facing up. Place 1 of the interfacing pieces over your fabric piece and line up the edges of the fabric and interfacing so that they are even. Then, run your heated iron over the interfacing to secure it to the fabric and repeat for the other pieces.

Step 5: Sew together the long edges of the 2 interfaced fabric pieces 

Line up your 2 pieces so that the right sides face each other and their edges are aligned. Sew a straight stitch about 0.40 cm from the raw edges on both of the tie’s long sides, but leave an 8 cm opening on 1 side near the tie’s centre part. Sew also around the short end on 1 side of the tie.

Tailor makes bow ties of woollen fabric

Step 6: Snip the excess fabric at the tie’s corners and along the curved edges

Cut the excess fabric at the corners of the bow tie with a scissor before you turn the tie inside out. Then, snip notches into the fabric along the tie’s curved part to push the fabric out on the inside of the tie easier.

Step 7: Flip the bow tie’s inside out

With your fingers, push the material through the opening in the tie’s centre. You may need some time to achieve this, but there are ways to make it easier; use a pencil’s eraser end to help you push 1 end of the tie through the opening in the tie and out the other side.

Step 8: Sew the tie’s remaining short edge

On the tie’s remaining open part, flip the raw edges inward by about 0.60 cm. Then, sew a straight stitch about 0.40 cm from the folded edge to secure the bow tie’s open end. If you want, you may also sew a straight stitch across the other end of the tie for the tie’s ends to match each other.

Step 9: Iron the bow tie

Ironing will make your tie look crisp and neat. Place your bow tie on a flat surface, like an ironing board or on a table. Then, run your heated iron over the fabric to flatten it out. Ensure that the tie is free of creases, bumps, and wrinkles when you are done. Keep in mind that if your tie is made from a delicate fabric, you should place a t-shirt or thin towel over it before you iron it. Also, place the iron on its lowest setting.

man with bow tie hanging loose around his collar
Are you a DIY enthusiast who loves to put your own handmade touches on your outfits or gifts whenever you can? Then knowing how to make your own bow tie is a skill you need to have! Follow our guides to create a no-sew or traditional bow tie everyone around you will love! You can even adjust the dimensions of the instructions to make a baby or dog bow tie that will be unique and beautiful!

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