Finding a gift for a guy can be quite a challenge. Lyly, a member of the Spoonflower help team, shares how to stitch up a quick and quirky bow tie for the dapper dude in your life. Read on for the full how to and add a little handmade goodness to your gifts this holiday season, or to update his New Year’s Eve celebration outfit!
Bow ties make great gifts, so why not make your own. Beginning sewers, don’t be shy, this bow tie tutorial is for you too!
- Fat quarter of Silky Faille (A fat quarter will create two bow ties.)
- ¼ yard of Pellon® iron-on (fusible) lightweight interfacing
- Matching thread
- Bow Tie Template
- Sharp Scissors – I mean it. You will rue the day you used dull scissors.
- Sewing machine
- Iron & ironing board
- Pointy tool – find something narrow and pointy, but not sharp, to help you turn the bow tie inside out later. Examples: pencil with an eraser, chopstick, knife sharpener, bone folder
1. Measure neck size
First we need to measure the wearer’s neck to create the proper fit. If this is a surprise gift, you can also google how to measure a dress shirt collar to get an idea.
Wrap a measuring tape around the neck, about an inch above the shoulders or just underneath the Adam’s apple. Hold the measuring tape taut and level, but not incredibly tight. Jot that number down, and add 0.5 inches to it, or if you measured on a ¼ inch, round up to the nearest ½ inch. Average bow tie sizes range from 15-18 inches, and patterns can be adjusted accordingly.
2. Put your pattern together
Now that we have the technicalities out of the way, let’s print out the template borrowed from Tie-a-Tie.net, and put it together. Tape the two pieces together at the neck size you need. If you’d like to make multiple ties, I recommend cutting the template out of something sturdy like a piece of cardstock or chip board.
3. Iron the interfacing on before cutting
Iron some of the interfacing you have onto the wrong side of the fabric. Just enough for your template to fit, since you need two pieces of fabric with interfacing fused to it, and two pieces without it.
Make sure you use the correct iron setting for the fabric type! Use your template to cut out two pieces. You can either pin the template to the fabric, or trace around it using sewer’s chalk.
This is half of your bow tie. Now use your template again to cut out two pieces of fabric without any interfacing.
What does “cutting on the bias” mean?
To cut on the bias means to cut the pattern out at a 45 degree angle. Cutting on the bias is important when your fabric has stripes or designs that fall into lines. If you’re working with a solid color, or the fabric has a very busy or random design it doesn’t really matter. You can always cut on the bias to be on the safe side. Here we’re going to cut on the bias because we’re using a pinstripe design. The Dinosirs design we used for kids bow ties was not cut on the bias.
4. Pinning and sewing interfacing
Pin the two fabric pieces together at the ends and sew. Pin the other two pieces with the interfacing together, and allow for ¼ seam allowance. If you cut out your pattern on the bias, the fabric pieces without interfacing will stretch as you sew, so you may want to trim each end by about 0.25-0.5 inches.
5. Time to sew
Now the two bow tie halves are ready to be sewn together. Pin the right sides of the fabric together, and sew along the edge but not too close to the edge. Leave a ¼ inch seam allowance. Don’t sew it completely closed! Leave a couple of inches open near the middle, so we can turn the bow tie inside out.
Carefully cut small notches in the seam allowance on the curves of the tie. Don’t cut into the stitches! Also trim the corners.
6. Turn your tie inside out
Here’s where that pointy tool comes in handy. I’ve used a knife sharpener, a paintbrush handle, and a pencil before. Don’t be afraid to use some force, but don’t yank anything. This step takes a while, so I hope you’re in front of a TV.
7. Iron your bow tie
Once you’re finished, it’s time to iron this puppy out. Remember to use the correct heat settings on your iron for your fabric type. Use a slipstitch to close that middle gap. A slipstitch is a basic stitch that hides the seam, or you can just sew right on top with your sewing machine. It’s up to you, but I think a hidden seam is an elegant touch.
You’re all done! It’s time to paint the town red.
Don’t forget the kids! We used this tutorial from MakeIt-LoveIt to make incredibly easy and adorable matching bow ties. Just add an inch or so to the sizes listed for older children.