Hi everyone! Today I’ll be showing you how to make your Groom (& Groomsmen) a Bow Tie!
My fiancé and I decided that we would make our own as we couldn’t find the colour we needed anywhere. Most tailors/high street stores have your standard black & red bow ties… some with patterns, but we just couldn’t find any in the light gold/rustic champagne colour we were looking for. After looking into custom made bow ties (and dropping our jaws at the cost involved) we decided to have a go at making our own. 🙂
I think our first attempt came out great, so here is a step-by-step tutorial of how we did it.
What you’ll need
Here is a list of materials and tools you will need to make your bow tie:
- Fabric (we used Dupion silk, but any stiff fabric that holds its shape would work well – such as cotton & wool)
- Tape measure (to measure the wearer’s collar/neck circumference)
- A permanent pen (or tailors chalk if you have some)
- A knitting needle or chopstick
- A sewing machine (or you could sew by hand if you prefer/have lots of time to spare)
Step 1: Tracing your template
Firstly download and print the template file (at 100%) on an A4 sheet of paper. Cut this out & trace one half of the template onto the reverse (the side you don’t wish to be seen) of your piece of fabric. Remember to leave or mark out a small hole (see image above), so once you sew the fabric together you’ll be able to turn everything inside out (don’t worry, I’ll explain this later).
Once you have traced around the template, you’ll need to flip it and trace it out again (see image above) BUT before you do this, you’ll need to work out how long to make the tie-part of your bow tie. To work this out simply measure circumference of the wearer’s neck and add 7 inches (you might want to experiment with this additional length, but I found that 7 inches was enough to fit around the neck & create the bow without being too loose or too tight).
Once you have traced the template onto your fabric, loosely cut out the shape & pin it to another piece (remembering to pin the side of the fabric you’d like showing, face-to-face). Cut this out too and you are now ready to get sewing!
Step 2: Sewing the Bow Tie Together
If you thought that the bow tie template looked a little too big, that’s because you’ll be sewing inside the lines – leaving about a 5mm border. I used the edge of the sewing machine’s foot (see photo above) as a marker. All you need to do is keep your drawn out line beneath the right edge of the foot – and away you go! Just a basic straight stitch is fine. Take your time on the curved parts, which can be a little tricky. Just go slow and keep turning your piece of fabric as you go.
Sew all around your Bow Tie shape (remembering to leave that gap we made earlier), then once you’ve finished, trim your shape down by cutting along your original lines using a sharp pair of scissors.
Step 3: Turning out your Bow Tie
Now comes the tricky time-consuming part of the tutorial. As we have stitched the tie together inside-out we will need to turn it the right way around again but pulling everything through the hole we left. This can be quite fiddly – especially getting everything through the long thin section, but just keep at it (I made a cup of tea and sat in front of the telly to do this part) and make use of that knitting needle (chopstick or paintbrush end would work too) to really push out the tips of the ‘bow’ sections.
Step 4: Pressing
Once you have finished turning your bow tie the right way around you will probably find that it puffs up (see image above), and the thinner part looks more like a tube than a neck-tie. We solved this by flattening the shape with a hot iron, before sewing up the hole using a basic hemming stitch in a matching champagne coloured thread.
And there you have it! You should be left with a lovely handmade bow tie! 🙂
The first bow tie we made was a little on the small side (as we only added 6 inches to the tie length), but for a first attempt I think we did pretty well. I’d suggest making a practice tie first, using some scrap/cheaper fabric – just to make sure you’ve got the length right. 😉
And… for all those who have no idea how to tie their bow tie, here is a little step-by-step for that part too.
If you loved this tutorial or if you’re going to have a go making a bow tie, please leave a comment below and feel free to share your creation too! 🙂
Jenni & Bradley