I've been wearing bowties for years now and the majority of my collection are homemade ties. I started making my own bowties for multiple reasons:
- Bowties are hard to find in stores
- Bowties in stores are expensive
- I don't have enough hobbies (yeah, right...)
Pattern Sure, you can probably buy a pattern somewhere probably. But if you've got one bow-tie handy, you can just make a pattern. You'll just have to do this for your first project anyway. Set your presumably adjustable bowtie to the length designed for your neck size and trace one half of the length of the bowtie onto a piece of paper. At the middle of the tie, cut the paper at a 45 degree angle (not perpendicular to the bowtie) since you're going to want to cut your material on the bias. Then add whatever seam allowance you want as a border; I use a
Material Bowties should ideally be made of silk, but you can make them out of whatever material strikes your fancy. I've made some ties that I like quite nicely out of cotton as well. Truly anything works. The key to a tie that will tie up well is good stiff interfacing. The worst bowtie I have is a storebought one that has terribly thin interfacing (or maybe none at all?) and it won't hold a good shape at all. I usually buy half a yard of material, which gives me plenty of room to cut on the bias and I have lots of leftover if I want to make more ties or a pocket square to go along with the tie.
If you have no idea about sewing (like I did when I started this a few years ago), when you cut out the material, the material should be folded in half (so you'll get two things for every one you cut out). When you cut on the bias, that means to lay your pattern on the material at a 45 degree angle from the grain of the material.
Cut out 2 (you get four pieces) of your material from the pattern and 1 (you get two pieces) of your pattern from the interfacing.
Cut your material:
Cut your interfacing:
Ready your sewing machine You'll need a sweet sewing machine like mine. This was my grandmother's machine and it is fabulous. It doesn't really matter what color thread you use because your seams will be hidden if you follow my directions below. I like to be in the ballpark in case some of the thread peaks out.
Connect the Pieces You'll now have 6 pieces, each of which are half of the bowtie. You'll want to sew them into 3 pieces, each of which is the shape of a bowtie. Two will be your material and one will be your interfacing. To do this, pin your pieces together as shown below and sew a seam
When you unfold the pieces, they should look like this, with the "right" sides facing the same direction and the seam on the "wrong sides".
Next, flatten out the seam by ironing it down. You can trim off the corners that stick out of the edges at this point as well.
Sew in the Interfacing Pin the "wrong" side of one of your pieces of material together with the interfacing. Sew the material and the interfacing together. I like to stay further to the outside than my seam allowance because it prevents this seam from showing when I do the final seam that will be the actual border when the tie gets inverted.
Sew on the Final Piece of Material Pin the "right sides" of the tie material together and sew the whole thing together. You'll have the "wrong" side out on one side and the interfacing on the other side, with your other piece of material sandwiched in between. Halfway through the neck portion, leave a gap of a few inches because you'll need to invert your tie through that space. Here, you'll want to make sure your entire seam is inside the previous seam that you sewed or you'll end up with that seam showing on your finished tie.
Trim Trim away excess material, particularly around the corners. This will prevent you from having lumps in your tie when you invert it.
Invert Pull your tie inside-out through the gap where you didn't sew on the neck so that the interfacing goes inside and the right sides of your tie are now out. This part can be tediously difficult because you have to pull the "bow" parts out through that narrow little neck opening and it can be hard to do. Have patience, though, because you're almost done! I use a chopstick to help me push the tie through.
Hand-stitch the opening Now you need to sew up the opening that you just pulled everything through. It's okay if you're terrible at this part (I am!) because this is going to hide inside the collar of your shirt anyway. This is the last step. You'll just need to iron it to flatten the whole thing out.
Tie! The last step is to tie your tie. Hopefully if you're up to sewing a bowtie, you already know how to tie one. I'm sure you can find a video tutorial somewhere (perhaps I can make my own?). I found that it's easier to practice on your leg than on your neck while you're first learning. I also like to throw in a pocket square. You don't actually have to sew this; just fold up a scrap of your material!