Friday, January 21, 2011

Adjustable Bow Tie

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


FABRIC AND INTERFACING

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 one side 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.

PATTERN

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.

SEWING

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.

SLIDERS

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!


Here are the ties I've made so far. I hope my guy friends are funky enough - and I think they are - to wear these. Like I said earlier, the two plaid ties are made from thrift shop shirts.

Hopefully this made everything clear, but please let me know if something is confusing! I hope everyone tries this.

Oh, and here are instructions on tying, also from Martha.

34 comments:

  1. What a good idea! My guy won't wear bow ties because he doesn't like the fussiness of tying them just right. I assume the neck band can be pulled out big enough to leave the bow tied and just slip it over the head?

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  2. Ha! Jessica and I were just talking about that! (I'll let her answer.)

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  3. Eileen,

    We were just talking about that. I wasn't sure if this type of adjustable was mean to be taken off or just that it would fit a range of neck sizes. There are other ties that have clips, hooks and elastic and are clearly for taking off. I looked around a bit and I believe this type is just meant to be adjustable.

    I tried this one but couldn't get it over my head. At it's largest, tied, the band has a circumference of 18.5 inches. So it can fit a larger neck, but to take it off I think you'd need to add at least 3 more inches - maybe more so for a guy. It seems like you could just add more length to one of the sides, my only concern would be if you made it long enough to take over your head that it was too long when you tightened it to fit your next and you have gathering or a tail hanging out somewhere.

    The store I bought my sliders from also had the hooks, so you could make it the same way, but instead of 5" on the long side, add one inch and attach it to a bit of elastic and then the clip.

    Hope that helps!

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  4. What a great tutorial. Now I've got to see about sizing it down for my toddler son. Because there is no way my husband would wear one, but the baby doesn't get a say :)

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  5. I used to make those once. If you don't mind, I have a tip -to achieve more sharp, pointy-looking corners, trim them to max (to reduce bulk)). After the item is turned right-side-out, use any thick needle (like the upholstery one)to pull the corner out.

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  6. this is incredible! thanks so much for sharing.

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  7. I love these! My husband wears bow ties so this is an excellent project. Plus, your fabric taste is lovely. Gingham is my favorite. Well done.

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  8. Hi there! I am including a link to this awesome tutorial in a post I'm doing on boys dress up for Easter clothes. You can check it out here: http://bisforboycreations.blogspot.com/2011/04/fabulous-finds-for-boys-all-dressed-up.html

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  9. This is beautiful. I am wondering where you got your adjustable notions? I scoured the stores around me and had to settle for swim suit hooks that are not adjustable.

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    Replies
    1. You can buy bow tie sliders from me.
      Send me a email if you wanna have some.
      juanmarcosbowt@gmail.com

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  10. Sara: Thanks! I wish I had a better resource for gingham here, I'd love to make some linen ones!

    Erica: Thanks!

    Delia: I got them from a store here in Boston called Windsor Button. Here is a link so some on Amazon pretty near what I used, hope that helps: http://www.amazon.com/50-1-Triglides-Metal-Round/dp/B001LVX7VQ/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1303079414&sr=1-17

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  11. I dig your adjustable bow tie instructions. Is there anyway you could tell me how long the two pieces are in the pattern? That would give me a point of reference to make sure I am on the right path.

    Thanks!

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  12. Hi, Jay!

    All of my things are actually in a pod being shipped across the states right now so I don't have access to my pattern. All I can say is that I started from the Martha Stewart template I linked to in the post and then added the one and five inches I describe.

    When I get my things and get unpacked (maybe a bit though) I'll be sure to let you know!

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  13. Wonderful! I will share it on Pinterest.

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  14. Jay, I've retrieved my pattern! From point to to end the short pieces is 16 3/4" and the long piece is 23 3/4"

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  15. Thanks for the information- It is greatly appreciated!

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  16. I cant figure out how to enlarge the martha stewart pattern by 200 percent. Any tips? Thanks!

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  17. I used the following pattern to make my pieces:

    https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=1f26b226c8e87f51&id=1F26B226C8E87F51!111

    the bow part of it is good, and you dont need to enlarge the pattern. You just have to modify the long part of the pattern. If you use the length measurements from two posts above, you should be all set. Hope that helps.

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  18. Thank you so much. I have been looking for such tutorial on bow ties for a long time! I just have problem with flipping right-side-out part.The tails are so tight that nothing passes through them. Do you have any solutions?

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Dana!

      Have you tried chopsticks or kebab sticks? I usually keep one with my sewing stuff for times just like that. Medical clamps, (like this on Amazon, and not at all as scary as it sounds) can also be useful because they'll hold tight to and end and allow you to pull it through easily. Also, you can trim your seams as close to the stitch as you can to make some more room.

      Hope that helps!

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  19. I am trying to find the sliders. Windsor button doesn't appear to b in business anymore. Any suggestions. Have tried all the local sewing businesses. Found online but had to order a large quantity.

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    Replies
    1. use the ones from your old bras!!!

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    2. You can buy them from me, send me a email if you wanna get some.
      juanmarcosbowt@gmail.com

      Delete
  20. So the ties consist of one interfaced side and one none? The Martha Stewart instructions made me think that all for pieces were interfaced. Maybe I read wrong?

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  21. Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me what size sliders you used? Your bowties look great!

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  22. I'm using 3/4" sliders. After reviewing about 10 different patterns for the best features of each, it seems to be the most popular.

    I got them here, and they're great.
    http://www.sewsassy.com/BraProducts/braringsslideshooks.html#anchornyloncoatedslides
    They also came in just a couple days, even with standard shipping.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Also, I also noticed that Martha Stewart's pattern suggests applying interface to both. I found a couple resources that mentioned that the stiffness and added thickness of the interfacing can cause the sliders to stick and make the tie more difficult to manage. Some even suggest adding interfacing only to the bow area, tapering it into an acute triangle to end near the first part of the band.

      If your fabric is already pretty hefty, I think one side is going to be plenty stiffness. My experience, however, is that thinner materials or some that might have a bit of their own texture (i.e. seersucker) might benefit from a little more structure.

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  23. Could you explain which ends to add the 1" and 5" to the length? I am guessing the thin ends, but want to be sure. I have the Martha Stewart pattern. Thanks.

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  24. Thanks for explaining the tutorial in such a simple way.Through this I can easily make bow ties for men.Thanks once again.

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  25. Hey there, I was wondering if you thought this pattern could be used as a reversible bow tie pattern (using two different fabrics one for each side) or if you had any tips on how to adjust your pattern in such a way that this might work?

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  26. I bought my sliders from a guy I find online. He shipped them to me, really fast!
    Good quality to. His email was juanmarcosbowt@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. I found the sliders at etsy and it worked perfectly. Here is the link: https://www.etsy.com/se-en/listing/187669799/bow-tie-hardwares-sliders-adjuster-2-pcs

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