Men’s Bow Tie Tutorial

August 26, 2013

Every year The Hubs’ company hosts a Christmas party for the management and their spouses. It’s always a swanky, dress-up affair at a gorgeous hotel or palatial estate, and I search for months for that one perfectly flattering dress that will make me feel amazing for the night. Well a few years ago The Hubs decided he was bored of the whole necktie/suit look and wanted to switch it up some. Deciding he wanted to stand out from the crowd, he asked me to make him a bow tie for the event.

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

I played around with the shape and eventually drew up the perfect bow tie pattern. The first one I made him complimented my dress and we loved being able to coordinate our outfits that night! I quickly followed the first tie with several more and he wore them excitedly to work, family functions, and any occasion that called for a unique neck piece that was completely his style.

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

It’s been so fun to create custom neck wear! I’ve even been able to get him to wear holiday bow ties! And he really likes getting to pick out the fabric himself.

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

Tying them is really pretty easy. A quick Google search landed me on some YouTube videos and we were off! I love the classic look of a bow tie on my handsome man.

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

And now that we’ve got Ollie, he’s letting me make them matching bow ties!! They were so handsome at my brother’s rehearsal dinner in February.

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

(And I made Ollie a little seersucker pant and vest outfit for the wedding. He was 2 weeks old and SO ridiculously precious!)

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

Are you ready to start making some amazing custom bow ties for yourself and the men in your life? Great! Below you’ll find everything you need for the Men’s Bow Tie Tutorial.

First, you’ll need to download the pattern piece. Set your printer margins to 0, DO NOT SCALE the image before printing. And before cutting, make sure the 1″ box measures exactly 1″ to ensure your piece is the correct size.

CLICK HERE to download the pattern pieces!! The pattern is FREE, and takes just seconds to download.

Cut out the pieces on the black lines and connect them together to get 1 long piece. You just need 1 pattern piece, cut your fabric according to the directions.

To make the right size tie, you’ll need the neck size of the man you’re making the tie for. You know when you buy dress shirts and they come in size {16 34/35} or {17.5 36/37}, well the first number is the number you’ll need to make the bow tie.

You’ll need:
-1/4 yard of fabric of choice. I’ve been using woven cotton.
-1/4 yard of Pellon 950F ShirTailor interfacing
-matching thread.

The cheat sheet:

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie pattern

Cut 4 pieces from your fabric and either 2 or 4 from your interfacing. The plaid and ornament bow ties I only interfaced 1 side of the tie. The blue polka dots I did both sides and other than making it thicker, there wasn’t much difference between them.

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

Lay the interfacing fusible side down on the wrong side of your fabric, matching the pieces.

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

The interfacing instructions say to use a damp press cloth to properly adhere the fabric to the ShirTailor.

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

Take 2 of your tie pieces and placing them right sides together, sew along the short, skinny end using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Repeat for the other 2 pieces. Open them up and iron the seams to one side.

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

Now you just have 2 long pieces, so lay them right sides together and pin down the length of the bow tie.

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

Sew around the entire perimeter of the tie using a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a hole 2 or 3 inches wide right in the middle to turn your tie through.

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

Clip the corners on a diagonal and cut slits around the curves so they’ll lay smooth when you turn it.

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

The easiest way to turn your tie is to pinch it at the end so the sides come away from each other,

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

then use a chop stick to push the end down and out the 2″ hole you left in the middle of the tie.

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

It will be a wrinkled mess when you get it turned! That’s okay! Hit it with your iron and use a LOT of steam. It’ll flatten right out. You’ll need to use your chop stick to make sure your corners are poked out and the seams are flat.

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

Then using matching thread (I used contrast so you can see it), sew up the hole you left for turning. You can whip stitch it closed if you want, but it’s hidden under the back of the collar, so it’s not necessary.

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

Sew Like My Mom | Men's Bow Tie Tutorial

You’ll need to iron the tie after each wear to get it nice and flat again, but it’ll come out perfect over and over. I love that it can be washed, since it seems everything in my life is covered with spit up, spaghetti sauce, or snot.

Now go, and tie one on!

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110 Responses to “Men’s Bow Tie Tutorial”

  1. AriB said:

    Very nice bow ties! I’m just wondering about the stress involved with turning them unto the correct side.

  2. Melissa said:

    There’s really no stress at all! They turn easily and iron out great. Give it a shot!

  3. MelissaE said:

    I really loved it!!! I’m so gonna try this for my little man and my hubby, thank u for loaded this up!!! Love ur blog :)

  4. Christine said:

    Thankyou for your pattern & the best instructions I’ve seen for a sewing project!! I’m new to the computer side of things, but I’ve been sewing for a long time!!! I’m making the bow ties for my son’s wedding…you’ve made the whole experience so exciting!

  5. Bryan said:

    Wow! What an amazing job you have done! I am from Mexico and I just love bow ties, last week one of my friends came back from Canada and brought me a tie-yourself bow tie, which gave my the idea to make my own. Gladly I found your amazing tutorial and pattern but I have a question: if I want a diamond-point bow tie what adjustments shall I make to the pattern?
    Thank you so much for sharing this post!

  6. Melissa said:

    Create a triangle and extend it from the straight end on each side. You’ll keep the original shape that’s currently in the pattern and add it to the ends. Good luck!

  7. Bryan said:

    Hi again and thank you so much for your answer, you are very kind! However I still have a doubt: What size shall the triangles be?
    Thanks so much again!

  8. Jessica said:

    Hi! I was wondering if you scaled the bow tie down for the baby? I am making mens bow ties and then one for a boy. I want to use your pattern for the mens, but I’m not sure how big it should be for the boy.
    Thanks!

  9. Melissa said:

    Hi Jessica! For the baby bow tie I did the traditional little boy square of fabric gathered with a little middle piece on some elastic. If you Google it you’ll find lots of good tutorials, I just winged it and made it up as I went along!

  10. Patti said:

    Does the pattern piece have to be cut on the bias? Most ties seem to be, and the first tie in the plaid looks like it is on the bias.

  11. Debbie Perkins said:

    Thanks for the insight. My nephew is in New York working for a tv station as producer, long way from Saraland, Alabama. He loves houndstooth, so that is what I’m gonna start with. Thank you.

  12. Melissa said:

    Nope, I haven’t cut them on the bias yet! Just straight across the fabric.

  13. Welmoed said:

    Thanks so much for the pattern and tutorial!! I used it with great success. I did cut the fabric on the bias, which does help it lay smoothly around the curve of the neck. I also used two different fabrics for the front and back, in case my husband wants to wear it with a different color showing!
    Pictures of the tie being worn are on my blog:
    http://thereshesews.blogspot.com/2013/09/smithson-2013-inside-story.html

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  15. Dayna said:

    Is there a reason why you have to cut 4 individual pieces and sew them together end by end or if your material is long enough could you cut 2 full length long pieces by flipping the template?

  16. Barbi said:

    Hi,
    I was wondering what the 1″ box is used for. I do not see men often wearing bow ties (at the events I attend) and did not know if the 1″ box is optional?
    Thanks!

  17. Caroline said:

    I’m having some trouble changing the margins in the PDF document from 1″ to zero… any suggestions?

  18. Melissa said:

    Dayna, I do it that way to not suck up fabric. If you’d like to do it as 2 pieces you certainly can!

    Barbi, the 1″ box is simply for printing the pattern piece. It lets you know if it printed the right size. Even slight variations in size can drastically change a pattern. That 1″ box tells you everything is the correct proportion.

    Caroline, don’t worry about changing the margins, when you go to print, make sure 100% or actual size is checked and you should be good! Just check your 1″ box.

  19. Kristin said:

    Thanks for the pattern and tutorial, Melissa! My husband needed a dark red bow tie for a Dr Who Halloween costume and this was perfect! I used a mid-weight twill and didn’t need interfacing.

  20. Abigail said:

    You are my hero! Thank you!

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  23. Betsy said:

    Is the interfacing necessary? My fabric is pretty stiff already. I was wondering if you’ve made one without using it and your thoughts on it. Also, what size is this pattern for? I want to make one of these as a gift for my brother. :-)

  24. Melissa said:

    I’ve never made one without, but I’ve only ever used regular quilting weight cotton. These are for men’s sizing, you’ll need to know his neck size since it’s not adjustable. Ask your Mom if you don’t want to ruin the surprise. :)

  25. Carey said:

    Thank you! I got the idea to sew a bow tie, looked up your tutorial, printed, cut, sewed and all in just about an hour total! The exciting part was helping my husband learn how to tie it. I suspect tying may be easier with slipperier fabrics (like most traditional bow ties), but we got there in the end.

  26. Robbin said:

    Hi. I’m confused about your pattern. Eager to try this but why do I need 4 of each piece in fashion fabric and 2 of each piece in interfacing. Don’t I need two of each piece in fashion fabric and 1 of interfacing? I’m worried that I don’t have enough silk for that many bias cuts on what I have.
    Thanks so much!

  27. Melissa said:

    Robbin, the pattern piece is only half of one side of the tie, so you cut 4 and sew them together in the middle to make a front and back. You need 2 pieces of interfacing because you only put it on one side of the tie. If you print 2 of the pattern piece and tape it in the middle so it’s the full length of the tie you can certainly just do 2 and 1.

  28. Eric said:

    Ammmmmazing, the only questions I had Melissa, was when you mentioned cutting a slit in the corners, what did you mean by that? (super noob) when it comes to sewing.

  29. Donna said:

    Thank you! I have been making Christmas presents from the fabric from my mom’s favorite summer dress. She passed away a few years ago and rather than keeping the dress in my closet I made various things for my sisters and nieces but was stumped on what to do for the men. Perfect!

  30. Joan said:

    Has anyone tried using an old straight tie?

  31. Melissa said:

    When you sew any corner or curve, you need to clip them certain ways so they lay flat when you turn. The corners at the end of the tie, when you turn 90*, you need to cut those diagonally. Then the curves along the bulbous part of the bow tie need to be clipped so they can fold on each other and not bunch once you get it turned with the right side of the fabric out.

  32. Melissa said:

    Not that I’m aware of, Joan!

  33. Robbin said:

    Thanks, Melissa! I realized that as I went along, of course. Next question. My fabric has a directional print. This is for my son the science teacher. The fabric has words on it running from left to right (chemistry notations) Are you cutting your pieces on the bias? All of the other tutorials I’ve seen on the web are cutting on the bias, but yours don’t seem to be. If I cut this “science” tie on the bias it will interrupt the flow of text, so I cut it on the straight of grain. Since we’re all using fusible interfacing, I’m not sure what benefit there is in cutting on the bias in the first place since the interfacing pretty much prevents movement of the grain. Thanks for any input.

  34. Kindra said:

    I am trying to make bow tie for my brother for Christmas. I have fabric that only faces one way. (think Marvel superheroes) How to do I sew it to make sure when he ties the tie, the pattern will be correct and not upside down on one side? Do I cut all pieces with pattern facing correctly and then sew it so the patterns are right sides together with pattern facing up?

  35. Melissa said:

    Make it so the heads are facing the same way on both sides. So if you flip it horizontally, the head will be right on one side and upside down on the other. So vertical flipping it will be facing correctly. Does that make sense?

  36. Melissa said:

    No, I don’t cut on the bias, so go ahead and make it on the straight of grain!

  37. Kate said:

    Thank you for this lovely post! I just made an awesome bowtie for my boyfriend with these instructions. This was the first thing I’ve ever sewed and you made it quite easy for me. Merry Christmas!

  38. Ruzzy said:

    Thank you for posting this! I needed to make my brother a bow tie (he’s flower boy at my cousin’s wedding) and your pattern helped tremendously! I am now inspired to make more of my own!

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  40. Pamela Petrus said:

    Hi there! I just wanted to say thanks for the great tutorial! I made my husband some bow ties for Christmas and mentioned your blog here: http://blog.pamelapetrus.com/handmade-holiday/. I hope you had a wonderful holiday!

  41. Diana said:

    I’m planning to make one for my brother, but I was a little confused on how to determine the size. His neck measures 12 inches. Will this pattern be too big for him? What adjustments do I make to make it the right size?

  42. Melissa said:

    You need his dress shirt measurement, Diana. I’m not sure how you figure that out, but a little googling might help! What size does he normally wear in shirts?

  43. Diana said:

    He’s pretty small. His dress shirt says he’s a size 12

  44. Melissa said:

    It’s a pattern for men, so I’m not really sure how to size it down or what would be an appropriate proportion size-wise for him. :(

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  46. Kevin said:

    Amazing Tutorial! This is my bow tie not to perfect but fits well http://distilleryimage6.ak.instagram.com/2e46c48e8dde11e39aa10e3105dfb3f2_8.jpg

    Thanks from Costa Rica!

  47. Gertie said:

    Fab tutorial! Thank you so much! Definitely going to give this one a go x

  48. KATRYCE said:

    How did you scale down the measurements for the baby’s bow tie?

  49. Lucille said:

    I love it!!!!! I made one for my fiance and it works!!!!!!

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  52. Casey said:

    amazing! thank you! going to make my bf and his dog making bow ties for easter!

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  56. Cyndi said:

    How do you scale down the pattern to fit a 3 yr. old?

  57. Melissa said:

    I’m not sure you can. I’d say find a child’s pattern.

  58. Amanda said:

    Hi Melissa – I just used this last night to make a bowtie for my 2 week old nephew, and thought I’d share how I did it. When I was printing, I changed the scaling to 75% so that the bow itself would be a smaller size for a baby. his neck was measuring at 10 inches, so for the part that goes around the neck (the second printed page), I kept the width as it was, and measured the length to be 5 1/2″ (I followed your directions where you had 2 halves and sewed them together in the middle instead of having 2 pieces total) so that there was a little extra room for tying. Turned out perfect! Thanks for the free download!

  59. Cyndi said:

    Thanks for forwarding this to me. The man’s tie turned out perfectly. This is fun! Can’t wait to make many more.

    You were very considerate to send this to me.

    Cyndi

  60. Aaron said:

    I’ve been thinking about scaling down the bowtie width from 2.5″ to about 1.5″ as that looks better on my body, but I’m not entirely sure how to alter the pattern. Should I just makes the angle smaller, or do I have to trim down the curve as well?

  61. Melissa said:

    Yes, you’ll have to trim it down, too.

  62. Chris said:

    Thanks! I made this using flame resistant fabric from an old pair of work pants. Now my uniform has a bow tie! Looks sharp.

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  64. Audrey said:

    Can you make it out of any material other than cotton? I want to make one that matches my prom dress, and I have some silky/ satin like fabric that I want to use. Do you think that will work?

  65. Melissa said:

    Sure! It would be adorable matching your dress. Have a blast at Prom!

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  67. Karen S. said:

    Great tutorial! Just finished one. A coworker needed a bow tie for her husband to match her Easter dress – a chevron pattern! I’d never made one. I told her to bring one of his bow ties for me to use as a pattern (I just added a 1/4″ seam allowance.) Using your directions made this very simple. ***Great call on the chopstick – the only way to get that thing turned inside out! Haha! Thank you so much, you made me look like a pro!

  68. Marcus said:

    Great tutorial, really. I made them and add adjuster. So pleased with my result. I finded a guy online who sold adjuster for bow ties. He shipped them really fast! His email was juanmarcosbowt@gmail.com

  69. Dani said:

    Great tutorial! Although, I think it would be helpful if you placed the first pattern piece on the fold so there doesn’t have to be an awkward seam down the middle. :)

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  72. Lori said:

    I’m not sure how the rectangle with the 15″-18″ on page 2 is used. Can you help me with this? Also, the 1″ square that I printed out is not exactly one inch, but it is about 1/16 of an inch too small. Is that close enough? Do you have directions on how to tie this? Thank you so much!

  73. Lori said:

    Sorry, I now understand what the rectangle is for. Do you think that being 1/16″ off will make a big difference. Thanks! Sorry, again, for the first question!

  74. Melissa said:

    Yes, that means every inch will be 1/16″ too small. So 16″ will really be 15″ and will make a difference. YouTube some videos for how to tie it!

  75. Lori said:

    Can I just add 1/16″ to the pattern length and width? Thanks!

  76. Iwannamakeabowtie said:

    I tried to download the pattern and it says it has expired :(

  77. Melissa said:

    I just tried and the link works. Try again, it’s still there!

  78. Sophie said:

    Thank you so much for the pattern, can’t wait to try it out! I’m going to (attempt to) make my boyfriend’s bow tie for my prom this year. Can I use silk fabric with the same template? I worry that it will pucker or fray unlike the cotton, any tips to avoid trouble with such a pesky fabric?

  79. Melissa said:

    You can use a silky fabric. It shouldn’t fray on you too much, but you can use pinking shears on the edges of the fabric or get a little bottle of fray check and apply that to the edges and let it dry before you turn. Have fun at Prom!

  80. Carla said:

    Thanks for this pattern! I have a question: If the person’s neck is 16″, do I cut the pattern at the 16″ line?

  81. teerdad said:

    thanks for everything.

    but i dont know how to tie it ! it has no strap or grip or clips..

    any picture or video showing how to tie? :-)

    all regards

  82. sewmom said:

    can you show pictures of how to tie them

  83. Melissa said:

    Check YouTube for video tutorials on how to tie them.

  84. Berglind said:

    Hello, I was browsing for a bowtie pattern and your tutorial came up first. I don’t have to look no more, your bowtie looks so great, both for the big and small guy :)

    Thank you so much for sharing it :)

    Greetings from Iceland, Berglind

  85. Brian said:

    Turning it inside out is not nearly as this makes it out to be; the narrowest section of the tie is way too narrow to pull anything else through, even with a stick to shove it. After hours trying to figure it out, I’m just going to open up the whole narrow stretch so I can pull the wider parts through, and then over stitch it by hand with a thread that matches the fabric as best I can….

  86. Melissa said:

    I’m sorry you had trouble! You can’t leave too narrow of a hole or you can’t get it through, but a few inches will do the trick. I’ve made dozens of ties and I assure you, it can be done! I hope you like your new tie! :)

  87. Brian said:

    I printed the pattern on some card stock I had and traced it on the fabric precisely; sewing as close to the edge as possible, while still being on the fabric and the narrow parts were not wide enough. If I try this again, I’m going to add a margin and make the pattern wider. Even opening one end so far and actually getting the wider end turned out, the part that makes the bow doesn’t look all that big….

  88. Melissa said:

    Are you sure your 1″ square is printing at 1″? You need to check that and it needs to be absolutely correct or the tie will be entirely too small.

  89. Brian said:

    Yes, the square was 1″x1″; the scale was correct.

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  92. Bethan said:

    Hi, I am making the bow ties for my brothers wedding and am digitally printing my own fabric for the pattern. What width fabric did you use? The printing width is 130cm. Thank you!

  93. Melissa said:

    The fabric I used is 114cm wide (I think? It’s the standard American width of cotton–45″). The pattern piece itself is 48.26cm (19″) long so you could cut it across the width twice and still have fabric left over. I hope that helps!

  94. vicky said:

    to me I think the easiest thing would be to cut the pattern out on the fold. That way you don’t have the seam at the back of the neck. Anyone try that?

  95. Melissa said:

    Vicky, I chose not to do that just to save on fabric. It’s a really long piece and if you’re using up scraps it’s not an option. If you can swing it, go for it! It doesn’t add bulk and you don’t see the seam, so it doesn’t matter which way you do it.

  96. cat said:

    Hi there,
    Great pattern! Made one with your pattern the other day, and the partner loves it! However, I’m wondering what adjustments or additional length of fabric would be required if you wanted to make the tie adjustable? I have some sliders to use and assume you sew up both halves of the tie, but how much longer should each half be? Hope you can help!

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  98. Rebekah said:

    I LOVE this pattern! I used your Daisy Dress pattern to make dresses for one of my clients that have 3 girls and now she’s due with a BOY! So I made a pair of overalls for the boy in a coordinating fabric to the girls’ dresses and made this for the dad! SOOOO cute! The only thing I did differently was edge/top stitch after I turned it right side out! Thanks so much!

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  100. {leah} said:

    Thanks for the super cute and easy pattern! I’ll be putting a few together for the boys in my brother’s wedding party. ^_^

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  102. Courtney said:

    Thanks so much for your tutorial! I am just learning to sew and this was my third project :)
    http://wp.me/p4Rx50-m

  103. Darlene Payne said:

    Looks pretty easy. Can’t wait to get started.

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  106. Nicollas I. said:

    Hey! :) nice tutorial, i’ve already tried my hand at bowtie making and made one out of red cotton and it came out quite nice, a bit rough on the details though. my question is, could other materials work for the interfacing other than pellon? for instance, i have some scraps of denim which i have no use for, do you think they could work well for the intefarcing?

  107. Melissa said:

    Try it! I’ve never used anything but traditional interfacing, but ties are made with wool, so you could try that as well.

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  109. Ginger said:

    Thank you! I’m so excited. My 17-year old son loves bow ties, and I love to sew. Perfect! I’m really excited to look through my stash of vintage fabrics and scraps, and whip up a few for him:)

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