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Bow Ties-Unexpected Fashion Flair: Dritz® Sewing Notions

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The bow tie has long been the purview of over-dressed little boys, dapper accountants, and Bill Nye the Science Guy, but we're blasting out of that box. We used unique fabrics and custom designs to create three quirky, confident, and stylish ways to wear a bow tie. Our teen trio effortlessly pulled off each example of this unexpected fashion flair: Newsboy Button Down, Hipster Double Plaid, and Party Chic Velvet. What's the big deal with bow ties? It's all thanks to our friends at Dritz® who sent us their new Bow Tie Kit. These inexpensive kits make creating an adjustable neck band easy - so you can concentrate your imagination on customizing your best bow.

The traditional tied bow tie is one length of fabric that tuxedo experts, such as James Bond, can effortlessly whip into a perfectly elegant bow. The shape of the classic tie is pretty standard and so... pretty ordinary. But, if you use a Dritz Bow Tie Kit to create a thin adjustable neck band, the look of bow itself can be whatever you want. You simply need a center loop through which the neck band attaches. 

The only real limitation is the thickness of the fabric/trim used for the band. The three pieces that make up the Dritz® Bow Tie Kit are small and thin, deservedly so since you want the band to lay flat against your neck without much bulk or weight. However, this means the fabric or ribbon used for the band should be thin yet stable. We used grosgrain backed satin ribbon and interfaced cotton for our three samples, both of these options worked very well. 

Once the band is fitted to and centered on the wearer, you can also tack or safety pin the bow in place. This gives the bow additional stability, especially for heavier designs. 

As you'll see below, the Dritz® Bow Tie Kit hardware is easy to install. It's similar to an adjustable strap on a bag. The kit contains one hook, one eye, and one slider. 

When fitting, start with the bow tie a bit loose and hook it at the back. Adjust with the slider to tighten around a collar or against a bare neck as we show in our Party Chic Velvet bow tie. The bow itself is free to move along the band so you can slide it to dead center or jauntily off to one side. 

Newsboy Button Down

This metallic cotton from Timeless Treasures looks like we snatched it right off Dad's neck tie rack. A traditional fabric was deserving of a more traditional bow tie shape. We offer a downloadable pattern below to achieve the pretty pointed ends. An accordion fold simulates the quintessential tux-tie. Wear this spiffy choice while out getting the latest scoop on celebrity gossip.

Hipster Double Plaid

Mad for plaid? Aren't we all?! So much so, we felt this bow tie needed two layers of plaid-appeal. We used two fat quarters from our scrap stash of Moda Wee Wovens, a soft brushed cotton. The multi-color windowpane plaid takes center stage, backed up by a tiny check in coordinating colors. Wear this new casual classic when heading to open mic night at the neighborhood poetry slam.

Party Chic Velvet

Who says a bow tie has to hide behind a collar? Not us! Instead, we've brought this bow tie out of hiding as a choker in soft, silvery velvet with a sparkling black ribbon accent. As mentioned above, since our velvet was too thick for the bow tie hardware, we opted for two layers of ribbon. We used a shiny satin ribbon on top, for extra glam, with grosgrain on the back.

Our neck bands are sized for a standard young adult. The bands are adjustable with the Dritz® Bow Tie Kit, but if your neck size is a lot larger or smaller than 14-15", you'll want to consider adapting the sizing shown below. 

These are just three ideas; we bet you can up up with a bevy of bow tie designs of your own. If you do, make sure to share them with us on Instagram at #Sew4HomeBowTies or send a photo to info@sew4home.com. Some other ideas to get you thinking: lace, corduroy, velvet burn out, striped ticking, colored burlap, or silk dupioni.

Our thanks again to Dritz® for providing the product behind the process. For more ideas and information, check out their website, or follow them on their Make Something Blog, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  

Quantities listed below are for one bow tie.

  • ONE Dritz® Bow Tie Kit
  • Scraps or ¼ yard cuts or Fat Quarters; we used silver velvet, brushed cotton plaid, and metallic cotton
  • ¾ yard of ⅝" ribbon as an alternative to fabric for the neck band; we layered satin and grosgrain ribbons - both in a soft gray, so we purchased ¾ yard of each ribbon
  • ¾ yard of ⅜" accent ribbon, as shown in the Party Chic Velvet Bow Tie; we used sparkly black ribbon
  • ⅛ yard of lightweight interfacing; we used Pellon ShirTailor
  • All-purpose thread to match fabric and ribbon
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Pressing cloth 
  • Straight pins 
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

NOTE: With all the ties, precise cuts are necessary. We were working with strong vertical and horizontal motifs with two of our bow ties, and even the velvet has a distinct nap. If you are new to fussy cutting, we have a helpful tutorial. 

Newsboy Button Down

  1. Download and print the Bow Tie Classic pattern.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern is one 8.5" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. 
  2. Cut out the two pattern pieces along the solid lines.
  3. Following the arrows printed on the pattern, butt together the pieces (do not overlap) to form the full pattern.  
  4. Tape in place.
  5. From the fabric, fussy cut the following:
    ONE 1¾" x 20" strip for the neck band
    ONE 2" x 3" rectangle for the faux knot
    Using the pattern, cut TWO
  6. From the interfacing, cut the following
    ONE 1¼" x 19½ strip for the neck band
    ONE 1½" x 2½" rectangle for the faux knot
    Using the STITCHING LINE on the pattern, cut ONE

Hipster Double Plaid

  1. From the small background plaid, fussy cut the following:
    ONE 6" x 6" square for the bow 
    ONE 1½" x 20" strip for the neck band
  2. From the large foreground plaid, fussy cut the following:
    ONE 5½" x 5½" square for the bow 
    One 2" x 3" rectangle for the faux knot
  3. From the interfacing, cut the following:
    ONE 5½" x 5½" square for the background bow
    ONE 5" x 5" square for the foreground bow
    ONE 1¼" x 19½" strip for the neck band
    ONE 1½" x 2½" rectangle for the faux knot

Party Chic Velvet

  1. From the velvet, cut the following:
    ONE 4½" x 10" rectangle for the bow 
    ONE 2" x 3" rectangle for faux knot
  2. From the sparkly ⅜" ribbon, cut the following:
    ONE 3" length for the faux knot
    ONE 20" length for the neck band
  3. From the ⅝" neck band ribbon(s), cut ONE 20" length of one or two ribbons.
  4. From the interfacing, cut the following:
    ONE 4" x 9½" rectangle for the bow
    ONE 1½" x 2½" rectangle for the faux knot

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Newsboy Button Down

  1. Place the interfacing against the wrong side of one main bow tie piece. The interfacing should be centered so there is ¼" of fabric extending beyond the interfacing all around. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.
  2. Pin the interfaced piece and the plain piece right sides together, aligning the raw edges all around. Pin together, leaving an approximate 2" opening for turning along the bottom edge. It's best to have the opening along a straight portion of the pattern.
  3. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch the layers together. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot. Go slowly, curving and pivoting along the pattern's perimeter as necessary to keep an even seam. You should be stitching right along the cut edge of the interfacing. 
  4. Press open the seam allowance and clip all the corners and curves.
  5. Turn the bow tie right side out through the opening. Use a long, blunt end tool to smooth out the curves and gently push out all the points. A knitting needle or chopstick works well for this. 
  6. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Hand stitch the opening closed. 
  7. Accordion fold the bow tie along the peaks of the pattern as shown in the drawing below. This is similar to how a real bow tie is folded.
  8. The second fold will sit at the front of the bow tie. We lightly pinned the fold in place to insure our pattern matched prior to cinching the center.
  9. Hand pleat the center of the bow tie. For the best look, you only need about three shallow pleats. 
  10. Hand stitch the pleats in place at the back of the bow tie.
  11. Set aside the bow tie. 
  12. Find the neck band strip, the faux knot strip, and the matching interfacing strips. 
  13. Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the strip and knot so there is ¼" of fabric extending beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the strip and knot. 
  14. Fold the strip and the knot in half lengthwise, right sides together, and pin in place. 
  15. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch down the 20" side of the neck band and the 3" side of the knot. The ends of each remain open and raw.
  16. Turn the band and knot right side out through the open ends. On each, roll the seam to the center back and press flat. 
  17. Find the bow tie. 
  18. Wrap the faux knot around the pleated center of the bow tie. Fold under one raw end of the knot and overlap this folded end over the raw end. Pull the loop of the faux knot snug but not super tight. Remember, you need to be able to slip the band through the loop of the faux knot. Hand stitch the loop ends together. Again, you are only stitching through the faux knot. Do not stitch into the bow tie or you'll block the path of the neck band.
  19. Find the Dritz® Bow Tie Kit hardware. There are three pieces: one hook, one eye, and one slider.
  20. Find the band. Place it wrong side up (seam side up) on your work surface. Insert one raw end through the bottom half of the slider. 
  21. Bring the end back through the top half of the slider. The band is now looped over the enter bar of the slider. As you pull the band through, it is now facing right side up. 
  22. Pull through about ¾". Tuck under the raw end (⅛" is enough) to form a tiny hem. Pin in place against the wrong side of the band.
  23. Stitch the tiny hem in place.
  24. Find the eye hardware. The remaining raw end of the band should now pass through the eye. As above, the band should be facing wrong side up as it enters the eye; it will then face right side up as it completes the pass through. Double check there are no twists in the band prior to inserting it into the eye.
  25. Feed the raw end up and over the slider and continue pulling through. This "up-and-over" step is what creates the adjustability of the band. 
  26. Continue pulling that raw end all the way through. And, find the remaining piece of hardware: the hook. 
  27. As above, pass the raw end through the hook wrong side up to right side up. Now's another good time to double-check there are no twists in the band. 
  28. Tuck under the raw end to form a tiny hem.
  29. Pin in place against the wrong side of the band. 
  30. Stitch the tiny hem in place to complete the adjustable neck band. 
  31. Find the finished bow tie. Slip the band through the back of the faux knot. 
  32. Pull all the way through and hook. 

Hipster Double Plaid

  1. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse interfacing to the wrong side of all four pieces: foreground bow square, background bow square, band, and faux knot. In all cases, the interfacing should be centered so there is ¼" of fabric extending beyond the interfacing on all sides.
  2. Find the smaller foreground bow square. Fold it in half and pin in place. If you have a directional motif, this fold should be horizontal. Leave an approximate 2" opening at the center.
  3. Using a ¼" seam allowance (we're still using our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot), stitch together. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 2" opening.
  4. Press open the seam allowance and roll the seam to the center back. 
  5. Pin both sides together. The piece is still right sides together; you have not yet turned it right side out. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch both sides.
  6. Clip the corners and turn right side out through the center opening in the back seam.
  7. Use a long, blunt end tool to smooth out the curves and gently push out all the points. A knitting needle or chopstick works well for this. Press super flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Hand stitch the opening closed.
  8. Repeat with the larger background bow square.
  9. Layer the two finished bow squares one on top of the other, centering the top on the bottom.
  10. Run a hand basting stitch through both layers at the exact vertical center.
  11. Draw up the basting thread to create a soft pleat through the center. As above, hand stitch the pleats at the back to secure. Remove the original basting thread.
  12. Following the same steps as above for the Newsboy Button Down, create the center faux knot and the neck band: interface, seam, and turn right side out with the seams rolled to the center back. 
  13. Again as above, wrap the faux knot around the center pleated portion of the bow and hand stitch to secure. Remember to fold under one end of the knot to create a clean finish.
  14. The neck band is attached to the Dritz® Bow Tie hardware in the exact manner as above. Secure one end through the slider. 
  15. Then loop the opposite end through the eye, up and over the slider, and through the hook to complete. 

Party Chic Velvet

  1. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse interfacing to the wrong side of the main bow piece and the knot. The interfacing should be centered so there is ¼" of fabric extending beyond the interfacing on all sides.
  2. Find the 3" length of optional sparkly ribbon. Pin it through the exact center of the 2" x 3" knot rectangle. 
  3. Thread the machine with thread to match the sparkly ribbon in the top and bobbin. Stitch the ribbon in place along both sides. 
  4. As you did above with the other knots, fold the rectangle in half, right sides together, and stitch along the 3" side, using a ¼" seam allowance. Turn right side out, roll the seam to the back, and press flat. Use a pressing cloth and check your heat settings when pressing velvet
  5. Re-thread the machine with thread to match the velvet in the top and bobbin. 
  6. Fold the bow rectangle in half, right sides together, and stitch along the 10" side, using a ¼" seam allowance.
  7. Press open the seam allowance and turn right side out through the open ends. Roll the seam to back and lightly press flat. 
  8. Bring the ends together (the 4" sides) and pin. The bow is right side out.
  9. Zig zag the ends together. The seam should run right along the raw edges; you are seaming and finishing in one step. This forms a loop.
  10. Flip the loop so the finished seam allowance is now facing the inside of the loop. Center the seam at the back...
  11. ... so the front of the bow is a smooth, flat panel. 
  12. As above, gently finger pleat the center of the bow and wrap the faux knot around the pleats, securing it with hand stitching at the back. Since the velvet is much thicker than the cotton used for our other bows, we created just two soft pleats. Remember, as above, you are hand stitching only through the faux knot loop; do not stitch into the bow. 
  13. We created the neck band for this bow tie with two ribbons: one grosgrain for the back and one satin for the front. 
  14. Layer the two ribbons wrong sides together and pin down the center. 
  15. Re-thread the machine, if necessary, with thread to best match the ribbons in the top and bobbin. 
  16. Edgestitch along each long side through both layers. 
  17. Place the sparkly accent ribbon down the center of the layered ribbon. 
  18. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the sparkly ribbon in the top and bobbin. 
  19. Edgestitch along each long side of the accent ribbon through all layers.
  20. Now that the band is constructed, it can be threaded through the Dritz® Bow Tie hardware in the same manner as the bow ties above.
  21. Thread through the slider.
  22. Secure this first end in place. The one issue you may have with this band style is that the layers will be a bit thicker and stiffer. Stitch slowly and carefully. You can even choose to turn the wheel by hand if need be.
  23. Weave the raw end through the eye, up and over the slider, and finally through the hook. As you can see from the side view in the photo below, you'll need to be careful threading the thicker band through all the pieces. It looks a little "ripply" here, but it steamed out well when finished (our course using a pressing cloth).
  24. Make a neat hem in the final end.
  25. And stitch to finish your glamorous bow tie. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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Comments (4)

glassyladyks said:
glassyladyks's picture

The bow tie pattern link will not open correctly.  Please help!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ glassyladyks -- We've double checked the link and everything is delivering correctly on our end - we've tested on a number of different browsers and all is well. Unfortunately, this means something is happening on your end, which we can't really troubleshoot long distance. Make sure you have the latest version of Acrobat Reader (it's free), and that your security settings allow a new window to open. 

mpistey said:
mpistey's picture

How cute and stylish!  The girls look great, but I was thinking about making one for my grandson to wear at Christmas.  He would be adorable wearing one!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ mpistey - that's certainly a great idea. As we mention above, you'll just need to shorten the neck band - and you'd want to watch the size of the bow so it doesn't overwhelm. He will look adorable!

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