DIY Bow Tie Tutorial

Sew a Bow Tie You Don't Have to Tie

DIY Adjustable Bow Tie Close Up
Mollie Johanson

Sewing a DIY bow tie is a fun and easy way to customize an outfit for any occasion! With this tutorial and free bow tie pattern, you can make an accessory that you won't even need to tie. It has a clip that goes on in a flash and adjusts to fit any size. 

Teens and adults will look well-dressed for holidays, weddings, and dances, as well as any time they want to feel dapper! Because you can select your own fabric, you can use colors and designs that match other outfits or choose material that features favorite characters or fandoms.

Gather Your Materials

DIY Bow Tie Supplies
Mollie Johanson

For this project, you'll need these items:

Supplies

Tools

  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Needle

A note about bow tie hardware: This tutorial uses the type of hardware that creates an adjustable strap with a hook at the end. These pieces come in different sizes and styles. You can use either 2- or 3-piece sets, as long as a 5/8-inch strap fits through.

Cut the Pattern Pieces

Cut the Bow Tie Pattern on the Fold
Mollie Johanson

Download and print the JPG bow tie pattern at 100%. Attach the two pieces together. The pattern pieces include a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

Pin and cut out the pattern piece on the fold. Repeat to cut out a second piece.

If you want to add a little structure to your bow tie, fuse interfacing to the back of one piece of fabric behind the bow section. Do not add interfacing to the straps.

Sew the Bow Tie Pieces

Pin and Sew the Layers Together
Mollie Johanson

Pin the two bow tie pieces right side together. Mark where to leave an opening on the bow portion.

Sew around the shape with a 1/4-inch seam allowance, leaving an opening for turning. 

Clip the corners to reduce bulk, then turn the bow tie right side out. Poke the corners into shape and press the seams open, while also pressing under the seam allowance on the opening.

Hand sew the opening closed.

Form the Bow

Fold the Bow and Stitch the Center
Mollie Johanson

Fold the center section of the bow tie so the widest part makes the fold of the bow. Fold the straps back so they extend out from the center.

Hand sew the folds to hold them in place in the middle. Stitch through all the layers so it's secure (the next step will cover the stitches).

Wrap the Bow Tie Center

Sew a Center Strip Around the Bow
Mollie Johanson

Cut two 1-3/4 x 3-inch rectangles of fabric and sew them together to form a tube. Turn the tube right side out and press to the seams are on the edges.

Wrap the tube around the bow and fold one end under. Hand sew the folded edge down to hold the center in place. 

Add the Bow Tie Hardware

Slide the Hardware on the Straps
Mollie Johanson

Slide the bow tie hardware onto the straps. On one strap, add the buckle and the "eye" piece, and on the other strap add the "hook" piece.

If you have a two-piece set, it won't have the "eye" because the hook will attach to the folded strap when you wear the tie.

Sew the Ends of the Straps

Sew the Strap Ends Around the Center Hardware Bar
Mollie Johanson

Pull the strap up on the buckle to loosen it and make space for the strap end. Loop the end of the strap through the buckle inside the other loop, then fold it over and sew across the end to secure it. 

On the other strap, fold the end over and sew across it to secure the hook piece in place.

Adjust the Strap to Wear the Tie

Finished Adjustable Easy Bow Tie
Mollie Johanson

Trim any threads and check that the hardware slides and adjusts as needed. Now your bow tie is ready to wear!

DIY Bow Tie Tips and Ideas

Easy-Sew Adjustable Bow Tie
Mollie Johanson

The strap length makes this a good fit for most teens and adults. To make a tie for a smaller neck, you can shorten the ends of the straps. If you want the tie to be smaller overall, you can shrink the pattern, but keep the strap sections 1-1/8" wide.

When choosing fabric, think about the scale and direction of the fabric. Sometimes a larger print actually works well if you place the portions you want to show on the main part of the bow. Stripes and plaids are also fun when you play with the direction of the lines.

Another great way to customize a bow tie is with a hidden embroidered message on the straps or behind the bow!