Gift for boys: Adjustable Bow Tie, sewing patterns

 Gift for boys:  Adjustable Bow Tie, sewing patterns
Hurray, something you can make for a guy! I'm always on this difficult quest. Though bow ties aren't for every guy, luckily, I have many fun guy friends that they are perfect for. I think these are fairly easy, a beginner's project, and they are quite rewarding. This is a real bow tie you must tie yourself. After a few tries, you'll get the hang of it. It's fabulous. I want to work one into my wardrobe. A photo-loaded tutorial after the jump.

What you'll need:
  • Fabric: 13" x 25" rectangle of lightweight fabric
  • Interfacing: Lightweight and at least the same amount as fabric, or less. Details in the tutorial.
  • Sliders: 2, they usually come as a set, one with a post and one without. 
  • The basics: thread, needle, sewing machine, scissors, iron


The last photo shows the ties I've made. Two of them came from fabric I acquired by buying large or extra large men's plaid shirts at a thrift store. You can get at least 3 or 4 ties from just one shirt - and one shirt will set you  back, what, $5? Fantastic.

I hope you've pressed your fabric. You know I'm a stickler for that.

Now, decide on the interfacing. I've read tutorials that suggest to interface both sides, and I did so. But I found this to make the tie too stiff, especially with the sliders. With less interfacing, the fabric glides easily through the sliders. In the end I decided I preferred to only interface oneside and only the tie part (not the band). In the photos I show here, I interfaced one entire side, this is because this fabric in particular is very thin and I felt it would need a little more strength on the band than it would have on its on, and I was right, it worked out wonderfully. So you'll need to make the call based on the fabric you use.

Cut your fabric in half so that you have two 6.5" x 25" pieces. If you're going to interface one whole side of the tie, you'll need enough interfacing for just once of these two rectangles. If you're going to just do the bow part you'll only need interfacing to cover the up to the end of the last curve. Iron your interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric.


The pattern I started with was from Martha Stewart and can be downloaded here. This pattern is for a non-adjustable tie so I'll explain the alterations I made to make this tie.

Print out and copy the template as described on the page. Cut it out and add: to the short side, 1 inch in length; and to the long side, 5 inches. I did this by tracing the last few inches of the pattern on another piece of paper, cutting it out and moving it the correct number of inches from the end of the original pattern.

Stack your two fabric rectangles and trace your pattern onto the fabric. It is easiest if you can trace with chalk on top of interfacing. You can also, pin and cut or create a template of chip board and use a rotary cutter to trace around.

Once your pieces are cut, pin them together, right sides together.

Also, it's at this point that I trimmed the tail of each piece to a point. You can also go ahead and alter your pattern this way, too.


Sew around the perimeter of your pieces with a 1/4" seam allowance. Leaving a 1.5" or so opening so that you can turn it right side out.

After you've sewn, cut the notches and snips where appropriate along the curve. Next, trim your excess seam allowance (the photo below is after notches but before trim).

Flip your pieces right-side-out and press. Chopsticks are fantastic at this juncture.

Slip stitch your openings closed.


These are the sliders. Windsor Button, the great store near me, did not seem to have the matching piece without the post in the middle so I ended up using both post pieces, it works the same.

Take your short side and feed it through one end of one of the sliders. Wrap it around and secure it down either with hand stitches or a back and forth zig-zag stitch, like shown.

Next, take your long piece. Thread it through the second slider with the post facing what will be the inside of the band. At this time you'll want to make sure you're consistent and have both your interfaced and non-interfaced sides facing the same direction. I kept my interfaced side facing inside.

Take the tail of your long pieces and feed it through the opposite side of the first slider. You don't need the pin shown in this photo, it's just to save you from having my hand in the photo.

Give yourself some slack on the slider on your long piece and feed the tail through the middle, on the right side of the post.

Bring it back down through the left side of the post.

Pull everything taught and straighten out.

Done. Tie!