Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Making Bow Ties

In June Deacon asked me to make a bow tie - he wanted one for his baptism. David had recently cleaned out his tie collection and I had saved the discards for some future creative something .... and I made Deacon the most adorable little silk bow tie.


Deacon looked so dapper that we were inspired with a desire for our three little boys to have bow ties to wear at Mark and Tiffany's wedding. Mark was planning to wear one so it seemed perfect. Eden snagged an old tie of Daylan's that went well with the wedding colours, I spent an afternoon, and we had the ties. 

It is really ridiculously simple to make these. No machine sewing is required and pretty much no skill either - just a tiny bit of patience, an old tie, a needle and thread, hook and eye, and a piece of elastic. Here's how I did it:

Cut the hand stitching on the back of the tie so that it can be opened up. Pull out the interfacing and press the tie fabric open and flat.


I used a cutting mat, rotary blade and ruler to cut my rectangles (so that they were nice a even) but simple scissors would work well also. I wanted the ties to be quite discreet and dapper not clownish so I made them narrow. For Deacon's tie* I cut one piece 7.5" x 3" for the body of the tie. For the 'knot' I cut another piece also 7.5" long but only 2" wide. On one long edge (of the 'tie' piece) press a 1/2" fold. On the 'knot' piece, press 1/2" fold on both long edges and then fold the edges together and press again. (See above)


Cut a piece of the old tie's interfacing just slightly longer than your tie fabric and about 1" wide. Lay the interfacing on the wrong side of the tie fabric and fold the edges together with the fold on the top. Slipstitch the seam closed. 
[Update: it is tempting to skip the interfacing but if you do the tie will be too flat and will definitely look cheap - so don't!]

(Note: If the tie you have chosen is narrower and the skinny end of the tie is very straight you can simply cut the tie and interfacing into the length you want and carry on from here.)


Join the ends to make a ring and sew together - it doesn't need to be pretty because it will be covered.



Keeping the seam you have just made under the center of the tie, pinch it all together to make a bow. Be a bit careful here on two counts - you want to be sure that your knot will be in the middle of the bow, and check that it looks like it might actually have been tied. It is a"clip-on" so to speak but you don't want it to look blatantly phoney. Take a few stitches through the center to secure it.



Without cutting the sewing thread attach the 'knot' fabric to the bow (above). Attach it securely because you need to use a bit of tension to make the knot. Cut a piece of 1/4" elastic to go around the neck. Be generous with the length remembering that it needs to go under a shirt collar that likely won't fit your boy's neck snuggly. You will cut it to the right length when you 'try it on'. Lay this piece of elastic between the bow and the knot pieces. Keep the thread out of the way and wrap the knot piece around the bow and elastic. I twisted mine - again to try to make it look as 'real' as possible - as I came around the front of the bow. It might take a bit of fiddling to get the look you want. Cut the fabric, fold under the very end and sew the ends together neatly.


Try the tie on to determine the length of the elastic, adding 1". Fold under 1/2" on each end and sew on the hook and eye closure so you can fasten the tie. (Or you can skip this and use a safety pin but I recommend the closures for safety - ironically.) 

That's it! Finished. I can honestly say that it took longer to write this than it did to make one. Lots of fun to make these and very fun to see dapper little boys.

*I made each tie a different size because our little boys are different sizes. What looks perfect on an eight-year-old would look silly on an eight-month-old. I just imagined each little face above the tie and adjusted the length accordingly.


The boys looked incredibly handsome. I love the picture of Deacon. He was the ring-bearer and bore the rings in a tiny traditional handwoven Salish basket - very appropriate for a wedding at Capilano on the West Coast of Canada.

3 comments:

Jonathon said...

These bow ties looked so cool on the little boys. It's so smart to use old ties that need a new life. They look great. Very clever mom!

Jennifer McCue said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I can't wait to make some little bow ties for Spenser.

richardwilkins said...

I never thought making a bow ties is just so easy, I'm gonna make some for my kids.