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April 4, 2014

handmade bow tie (+ free pattern!)

DIY Bow Tie

As promised in a recent post, here is my bow tie tutorial! This is about the 7th bow tie I've made, & I think I've finally got it down this time. The key, as it turns out, is patience. Who knew?

Homemade bow tie (and a free pattern!)
I know clip-ons are much easier to make, but there's just something about the classic bow tie. Sophistication? Elegance? Or maybe I'm just old-fashioned.

How to make your own bow tie

You'll need a few things for this project:
  • 1/4 yard cotton fabric (at least 42" width)
  • Thread in a corresponding color 
  • Vest buckle
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • A sewing machine 
  • A pencil or some kind of stick
  • An iron & ironing board
  • Tape for taping pattern together
  • Bow tie pattern (page 1 & page 2)
First, print out your bow tie pattern. The pattern of the tie itself should be 20.5 inches long, so it will need to be printed on two sheets of regular printer paper. When printing, make sure to set the printer's properties so it does not scale the image. Cut the pattern out & tape the two pieces together. 

Downloadable pattern for making a bow tie

Pin your pattern to the fabric, and cut out the bow tie shape.

Handmade bow tie DIY: Cut out pieces

Repeat the last step three times, for a total of four bow tie pieces.  Each piece is identical, so it doesn't matter how you lay your pattern down.

We are making two different bow tie sections for the final product. Pin two of the bow tie pieces together right sides together, skinny end to skinny end. Do the same for the other two pieces. You should now have two bow tie shapes with the pattern facing in on both sides. 

Sew your own bow tie with this tutorial

Take your pieces to the sewing machine & begin sewing around one of your bow tie shapes. Start at the skinny end. Take your time going around the bow end, this part is a little tricky. The pattern allows for 1/4 inch seam allowance. 

How to sew a bow tie

Sew entirely around the bow tie shape except for the bottom of the skinny end, as seen above. Leave the skinny end open. Do the same for your second piece. 

Cotton fabric for bowtie DIY

Your pieces, now sewn together, should look like the above photo with the skinny ends open. 

Handmade Bow Tie: Use a pencil to turn inside-out

Now comes the really tricky part, & this is where patience really is a virtue. Turning these suckers right side out! Use the rubber-end of a pencil or some kind of stick to help you. This will be frustrating, so take your time & go slow. You don't want to force it - you could break a seam!


If it's getting stuck, roll the end around in your hand. 

Handmade Bow Tie How-To

Make sure you poke all of the edges of the bow section out, getting it as flat as you can. 

Black & White Polka Dotted Fabric for Handmade Bow Tie

After you've turned them both inside out, sew the opening shut. I rolled mine inside of itself about 1/4 of an inch before sewing. Alternatively you could fold the fabric over 1/4 inch and sew shut. 

Handmade Bow Tie: Iron flat

Take your pieces to the ironing board, & iron them flat.

Handmade Bow Tie: Use a vest buckle for easy adjusting around neck

Finally, feed the skinny end of one of your pieces through the vest buckle. When putting your bow tie on, you'll feed the second piece through as shown above. I love this feature because it means you only have to tie it once as you can take it off from the back. 

Ta-da! Personalized bow tie

Done! If you need help tying your bow tie, I used a mixture of images and videos. Once you get the hang of it tying a bow tie it's a breeze. But again - remember this tutorials theme: patience.

How to craft a traditional bow tie

Even undone, m'lady looks classy in her new tie. But maybe I'm just biased. 

Handmade Bow Tie: Mint green & white

So what do you think? Is it worth the hassles of tying a classic bow tie, or are clip-ons here to stay?

Dapper neckwear


P.S. Make a Bow Tie Box, or get fancy with a No-Sew Clutch.


  1. Thank you so much, my daughter has been hunting in charity shops for a 'proper' bow tie (not one that clips on) and now she can make her own.

  2. Hi, your pattern seems to just fit the diagram onto a sheet of A4 and does not want to print full size. We are going to draw our own from your diagram but there should be a way to make the pattern come out the actual size you want to cut.

    1. Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention! The pattern has now been adjusted & is available to print as two separate sheets. Have fun on your sewing endeavors!

  3. This looks great. I'll be trying it soon to make for a friend. One thing I've noticed, right before you turn your tie right side out, it's a good idea to make small "v" shaped clips around the rounded edges. This helps the seam lay very flat.
    Using the vest clips for adjusting is a great idea. I can't wait to see my friend's face when she sees them!

    1. Ahh! I can't believe I didn't think to do that! That would definitely help the flatness of the shape. I guess 8th time is a charm then. =)

      Good luck on your sewing endeavors!

  4. Thank you so much! Hope to make one now myself :)

  5. Hi!
    These links for the patterns (page 1 & page 2) contain the same picture. Could You fix this problem please?

    1. Ahh, thanks for the heads up! My bad - problem fixed!

  6. Thank you so much! I sew a lot, but I needed the pattern. You saved me a lot of time, trying to draft my own.


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