How to make a Bow Tie

How sweet is it to see such cherub faces framed in such aristocratic elegance?  Come on, who does not love the Bow Tie?  I for one have always loved seeing my male counterparts sporting a lux bow tie over a conventional tie,  a Western Colonel Tie, or even a bolo.  There is just something that says “fun loving” in that one simple adornment.  So when I came across a sweet picture of a toddler wearing a bow tie, I just had to do my “skweee cuteness dance” and the fire was lit to learn how to make a Bow tie.

I am not going to lay claim that I developed this pattern all by myself.  That would be a horendous lie, and a disservice to all the wonderful tutorials out there.  Granted I never really have been one to sit and watch You-tube tutorial videos, I always enjoy a good text with sample pictures, so that’s where I started.  If you type into Google “how to make a bow tie”, it will shoot you back pages of links.  Many are You-tube videos, which honestly I never looked at even one.  It even shoots you links on  how to tie a bow tie – which is REALLY neat, if you want to make a true bow tie!  But if all you want is the simple Bow for your little one to wear I HIGHLY recommend these two links.  The first one is absolutely amazing, and the second gives you different set of  insights.

So now you may ask, why is this tittled “How to make a bow tie” if all you are giving me is some links?  Well, I am going to give you some working knowledge to help you get past the kinks I encountered!   So, I am in no way lay claim to their intellectual knowledge, I am promoting it, and adding some on the job learning!

First off:

I had thought to use recycled ties, since thrift shops are always full of them for cheap, and you can get some neat colors.  I also thought that the high end Silk ones would do best.  Boy was I wrong!  The recycled tie idea was great, the silk idea not so much.  I found that with the silks used in real ties the fabric is so thin and flimsy that even with the use of Heatbond (wonder under) the tie does not hold it’s shape, and the fibers begin to pull at the seams.  Not flattering.  Granted you can get some cute results from it, but I admit in the photo below I think it was the talent of the photographer and the sweetest little face that make this bow tie worth while!

Silk tie, done with only heatbond and no stabilizer. Turned out very thin and did not hold it's shape.

How can this be remedied?  On the inside off all ties there is a “form”, usually made out of a thick weave cotton or linen.  I make sure to cut out a square of this the same size as what the heatbond should be, and use spray adhesive on one side and heatbond on the other.  Use the spray adhesive to attach it to the fabric first, and the heatbond on the opposite side.  For when you reverse the fabric, you can then proceed as normal.

Another remedy:  use a silk dupioni or thicker silk as your tie material, instead of salvaging a recycled thrift store tie.


I have found the best material to use is recycled polyester ties.  It’s amazing,that this all natural fiber loving girl, thinks the synthetics do better work!  Granted this material does have it’s quirks.  Do everything the tutorial tells you, just reinforce your sewn seams and corners and make sure to trim your material unevenly.

Unevenly? you may ask. What does this mean?  In the picture bellow; you can see the sew lines, the cut lines of one side and then the red portion.  If you keep one side a little longer when you are trimming, when it comes to turning right side out the layers cascade down instead of creating a solid “ridge”.

Dashes represent stitches, White is top fabric piece, Red is bottom fabric piece.

You also need to make sure that you have your Iron on the right setting and do not melt the material.  This is where it gets tricky, the Heatbond and the polyester material have mutual melting points, they are different by a couple of degrees only.  So take your time!  don’t burn a hole through your sweet tie…

If you do it right you will end up with something like this:


Don’t discount Cottons or Linens!  Just make sure that the fabric will be thick enough to stand on it’s own.


Hot Glue or tacky glue is your friend.  Once you have fought the tie to take the shape you want, you will want it to stay through all types of tugging and pulling.  So once you get everything situated how you want it to look tack the center circle in the back, to ALL the bumps and ridges.  You can hand sew this if you’d like, but I found that the stitches allow movement and sometimes the tie gets all wonky.

Now onto what I think should be the truly helpful part:

After you have made your square and ironed it right side out, now comes the fun part.  Making it look right. First:  you do not need to sew the “opening” where you flipped the fabric, shut.  When you ironed your piece flat, the Heatbond has adhered it together, and it will be under the center piece anyways.   Second:  It took me hours of fiddling to make my first one sit and look right,  I got so mad… the tutorial pictures made it look soooooooo easy.  Yeah right.

My first bit of advice on this is make your center piece smaller than what you think you should, both width and length.  The material magically stretches, because of the bias.  Don’t forget that!

My second bit of advice, follow this diagram:

make sure the top and bottom of the accordion face the FRONT of the center Piece!


Enjoy, I hope you love seeing the sweet little face! Of course there are lots of sellers of bow ties on Etsy, but this time I am doing a single shameless plug for my shop:


Of course a HUGE thank you to Christine over at Dove Photos for the wonderful pictures, and if you want a sweet little Mini Top Hat to go with your little ones bow tie check out her stock at TurtleDove Boutiques on etsy and Facebook!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: