We all agree that sometimes you just can’t find exactly what you want at the store…or, when you do find that item it costs too much. My compromise? Learn to make it myself. Today we’re going to discuss the homemade bow tie, and how it easy it is to make your own. Of course, this only applies to you if you’re a bow tie fan.
This story starts with a sewing machine. You need one. Try Craigslist. I bought one for $43, which happens to be less than the retail cost for a classic Brooks Brothers bow tie….a small investment for the opportunity to continually create my own original neckwear.
With a sewing machine in now in place, Step #1 is to create a pattern. I looked for one online and found several, but ultimately settled on using a tie in my own closet as a pattern. Lay it down on a piece of cardboard and trace it lightly with pencil. Now cut around the pencil outline an additional 1/4″ so you have room to work with the fabric.
|Top: Pattern for the typical bow tie
Bottom: Pattern for a straight line bow tie.
Note: Pointed tips can be added to either for bonus style points!
Step #2 is to trace the pattern to the fabric you’re going to use. Now, since we added extra fabric around the edges, I suggest using a sharpie. It’s very visible and easy to use and you’re going to wind up cutting off the edges that are marked anyways, so go right ahead!
We may be getting too far ahead of ourselves hear, so let me take a half step back. At some point you will have had to selected your fabric for the tie. My suggestion? Well, since you asked…..I suggest scouring used ties at Goodwill. At $1.49 each you can plenty of options that fit you’re personal style. Plus, you’re not going to worry too much about when you start cutting it into pieces like this..
|Intact necktie from your local thrift store.|
|Dissected necktie from local thrift store.|
Steps #3,4, and 5 consist of taking the neck tie apart(#3), marking the cardboard pattern onto the fabric (#4), and cutting the fabric out (#5). Take your time doing each step, as you want to be able to maximize the use of fabric from the neck tie and ensure you mark and cut nice, clean lines on the fabric.
|An eclectic bow: plaid on one side…polka dots on the other.|
|Homemade bow tie in action at the Suits and Sneakers Gala in Athens, GA.|
Total, it took me slightly more than 90 minutes to make this tie. It was my third (and best) attempt. The first was a complete disaster, the second showed promise, and the third was ready for action. I want to remind you this was done by a sewing rookie, you can easily do this if you’re willing to put in a little time. No doubt, I will continue making my own bow ties as it’s fun to create original pieces and the process is almost meditative.
***(Edit: 12/12/2010) Here’s another image of ways to creatively fasten the bow ties. Crafting 2 halves and then sewing them together to length is the easier approach. Buttons, on the other hand, add originality and sizing flexibility…the process just takes more time.
|Top tie made adjustable with buttons. Bottom tie sewn to custom length.|