Who wouldn't like their own unique bow tie for a special occasion and a home-made one at that?! In this tutorial, we'll take you through every step needed to sew your own self-tie bow tie so that you can ooze style at occasions like weddings.
The special thing about our sewing tutorial is that you'll be sewing your bow tie using the exact method used by custom tailor Sebastian Hoofs in his tailor's studio. Sebastian will explain his method.
Any woven fabric is suitable for a bow tie. Materials that are not rigid enough can be reinforced with fusible interfacing. Alternatively, you can also sew in a layer of silk organza. The material should not be elastic because otherwise it would become heavily distorted when you tie it. In this example, we are using Sebastian Hoofs' material of choice: Wild silk.
Start by aligning the pattern so that it runs parallel or at a right angle to the selvage and so that a 1-centimeter seam allowance can be cut. As is the custom, men's tailors normally cut bow ties without a seam down the middle at the back. However, we are using a seam so that the bow tie's length or neck size can still be adjusted later. If you would prefer to miss the seam, add a fold where the rear seam would be.
Once you have cut out all pieces with a 1-centimeter seam allowance, mark out the sewing lines on one half of the bow tie in each case. It is important to leave a small opening of around 7 centimeters on the strap.
Once you have marked them up, place the two halves right side together and fix with pins.
Now use the sewing machine to stitch along the sewing line with a matching thread. Because bow ties are normally made from fine materials or even from wild silk like in our example, the sewing machine needles must be in pristine condition. Blunt needles or needles that are too thick could pull threads out of the woven fabric or even destroy it completely at the insertion point. We always use sewing machine needles by SCHMETZ. Our silk is very fine – I am using an NM 60 Universal Needle. If your silk is extra fine and thin, then you'll also get incredible results with the Microtex Needle.
To allow you to turn the corners out properly, press the outer edge around the seam, then press the corners right and left of the edge. It doesn't matter if the seam rolls in slightly here. The seam will roll back to the right place after turning the tie the right way out.
By the way: Do not cut back any of the corners that are under 90 degrees. This will make the finished corner stable. This not only applies to bow ties, but also other sewing projects, too.
The next step is to turn the two sides of the bow tie so they are right side out. There are countless tips and tricks for using long objects so that you can turn your bow tie right outside quicker. I advise steering clear of all of them. Ideally, you should turn the bow tie out slowly and carefully. This may take a few minutes but will prevent the top layer from becoming baggy or even piercing.
Sebastian Hoofs is a custom men's tailor and loves to share his expertise. He began sewing at age 14 and evolved from a passionate amateur sewer into a professional craftsman. His pet passion is pattern construction. At his Cologne-based tailor's studio, he also offers special sewing courses for ambitious amateur sewers. His goal is to spread his knowledge of custom tailoring to the world of amateur sewing as the finish is normally of a better standard and lasts longer.
Images: Sebastian Hoofs