Carly Rubach

Make your own Bow Tie

Make a bow tie for yourself or give as a fashionable gift for a fabulous friend. Ladies can wear ties too!

By - May 27th, 2012 04:00 am
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Last Sunday I attended an Art & Craft Materials Swap at Sugar Maple in Bay View. The swap was hosted by Janelle Gramling, who runs the handmade clothing company Little Ocean. You must check out her Etsy store−she creates amazing jewelry, clothing for children and women and more. The fabrics are beautiful and the designs are unique.

I brought in a couple bags of fabric, wood scraps, cork board, buttons and other odds and ends for the swap. I was directed to set out my goodies in a somewhat organized fashion on the available tables and then I could shop around through other crafters’ castaways and make them my own. I absolutely love this idea because it’s so sensible. When I’ve had a funky patterned fabric or some leftover table legs for over two years and still haven’t utilized the materials, I know it’s time to let go. But to think that I can just trade out the goods with materials that feel new and inspiring to me is just lovely. I hope to see more of these events pop up in the future, and I will happily attend.

I picked up a few new fabrics, a handful of buttons, some leather scraps and a ball of yarn at the event. A couple of the fabrics that I picked up had more feminine qualities with their silky touch and floral prints. I thought they would make great lady ties and then I remembered my special man friend requesting that I try my hand at making a bow tie or two. Well, three bow ties later, I came up with my version of a pattern and now I want to make bow ties everyday forever. They’re so cute and, I think, they look great on a man or woman.

I used a Martha Stewart pattern and how-to as a jumping off point. I free-handed my pattern a little bit but she does offer one that you can download on the site.


1/2 yard fabric (you can experiment with different weights–I used a lighter fabric)
1/2 yard medium or light-weight non-woven fusible interfacing
Scissors/rotary cutter
Sewing machine
Needle and thread
Pencil with eraser (this will be your turning tool)


  1. Lay the two pieces of your pattern out on your folded fabric. Pin your pattern onto fabric and cut out two pieces of each pattern.
  2. Pin the wrong sides of your fabric pieces to the fusible side of your interfacing and cut out. I only used one layer of interfacing for each piece–you can use two if you want a more stiff looking bow tie.
  3. Use a pressing cloth (or towel or dish rag) and iron your interfacing to the wrong side of your fabric.
  4. Now, you will sew each set of long and short pieces together with a bias seam. To create bias seam, lay pieces with angled ends placed together, right sides facing, at a 90-degree angle. Pin in place. Stitch with a 1/4-inch seam allowance and press open seam (verbiage taken from Martha–hard to explain the bias seam).
  5. Now pin the two long pieces of your bow tie together with the right sides facing. You should stagger the bias seam if you followed the steps correctly. If they end up overlapping, that’s okay. Sew a 1/4 inch seam allowance all the way around the bow tie, leaving the middle section between the two bias seams open (about 3-4 inches).
  6. Next, take the eraser end of the pencil and begin to push one bow tie end out the middle opening. Do the same with the other end and use your pencil, bone folder or fingers to push out the corners and ends of the tie.
  7. Press the tie and then use an invisible stitch to close the openings.

This video moves way too slow, but I think it gives the best visual of how to tie your bow tie:

Make a bow tie for you or that special someone and share your photos on our Facebook page.

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