Yes, You Can DIY a Bow Tie

Bow ties might be notoriously tricky to tie, but they're surprisingly easy to make — and wow do they look sharp. Wearing a bow tie is an instant style win. If you're planning to make a few for a wedding party or a gift, or just want to rock one yourself, here's all you need to know to DIY it.

1. Cut Out the Pattern

A bow tie is made up of just two parts, the bow and the neckband, which get stitched together to make a long tie. Download the pattern and let's get started.

Start with the bow pattern piece (the one that looks a bit like a fish). Cut out four of those. Now move on to the band part (the long rectangle) and cut out four of those. In the photo above, the pattern pieces have a quarter-inch seam allowance. The pattern also has markings for the neck size, similar to a men's shirt neck measurement.

2. Apply Interfacing

Next, you'll apply interfacing to two of the bow pattern pieces and two of the neckband pieces. This is to give your fabric some structure, so it keeps the bow shape when it's tied. Since we're using a polyester satin fabric in this tutorial, we've picked a non-woven lightweight interfacing.

You might want to test some interfacing on scraps of fabric, so you'll end up with a great combination of fabric and interfacing for your own bow tie.

Note that the interfacing gets trimmed slightly smaller than the pattern pieces, to avoid getting annoying little bits of fusible interfacing on your ironing board!

3. Sew the Pieces Together

Now you'll sew the right sides of the bow tie pieces together. Match each bow piece to a neckband piece, sewing the interfaced pieces together first, then the ones without interfacing. You'll have four long sections.

4. Stitch and Press

Place the interfaced pieces right sides together, and stitch them together across the narrow portion to make one long piece. Do the same for the pieces without interfacing. Press all the seams open. 

5. Sew the Bow Tie

Place the two long pieces with their right sides together. Stitch all around the edge, leaving an opening about three inches long at the back. This opening allows you to pull the ends through and turn your tie right-side out. Make sure you're sewing accurately, so the bow shape stays intact at either end. 

6. Trim and Clip the Seam Allowance

To create a crisp edge on the bow tie (important!), clip the corners as shown in the image above. Then clip the seam allowance around the rounded section. If your fabric is very thick, clip small V-shaped clips as shown, being careful not to clip through the stitching.

7. Turn the Bow Tie Right Side Out

To turn your bow tie right side out, you can use the handle end of a wooden spoon or dowel to help push the fabric through the opening. Once you get the end of the bow tie through the opening, you can just pull the rest through. 

8. Press the Tie

Press your bow tie to give it a crisp edge. In the image above, the bow tie on the bottom is only partially pressed so you can compare it to the unpressed one at the top. Make sure to tuck in the seam allowances along the opening, since you'll be sewing them in the next step.

9. Stitch the Opening Closed

Using matching thread, stitch the opening closed. This part of the bow tie usually won't show when it's worn, so you can hand-stitch or machine-stitch it, whatever works for you.

And there's your classy hand-sewn bow tie, ready to strike a pose!

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