Monday, November 12, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Project: Bowtie

I recently found a necktie that I wanted to alter into a bowtie.  I figured with all that length there'd surely be some guides and patterns online to do a quick conversion.

Not so.

There are plenty of guides for *tying* a necktie into a bowtie form, although I have to say they look super crummy, and you've got a long skinny tail tucked inside your shirt that *you* know about!  So I set off to make my own bowtie all by my lonesome (well, with a bit of help from my sweetheart!).


First, seam-rip the entire tie, except the main thick portion, which you probably want to keep as a tie bottom, but use as a faux-pocket square.  From the tip of the tie, save about 8 inches.  Fold up and sew the edge you saved.
Don't cut the little stitching that holds the two sides together,
or you'll have to fix it lamely, like I did.

Okay, now on to the tie.  You've seam-ripped the rest of the tie, and can take the liner out of it if there is one.  Won't need that.  We have to have two equal pieces of fabric to sew together.  Hopefully your necktie has enough. If not, grab another necktie and make your bowtie double-sided!  Iron any ex-necktie so that it's easier to work with, and looks better when it's done.

The two pieces of fabric I used,
one from a necktie, the other not.
Trace one of your existing bow ties onto the fabric, with about a quarter inch of space all around - extra at the curvy 'bowtie' parts (maybe 3/8ths of an inch there) -- I learned this the hard way.  Pin the two ties together, with the 'fancy' side of each fabric facing in.  Once it's pinned around the edges, start sewing the two ties together, only leaving about 1 inch, at the bottom of one of the tie parts un-sewn.  This is where we'll pull it right-side-out from its current inside-out orientation.
I left a large un-sewn part at first,
but then realized the error of my ways.
(Click to Zoom)

Okay, now pull it out, I found it easier to 'push' it out using a chopstick.  Now that it's correctly oriented, trim and tuck the remants inside and hand-sew the remainder shut.  You won't notice the hand sew, as it'll be behind the vertical band of the bowtie.

Use the chopsticks to poke the entire
tie through the opening you left.
(Click to Zoom)

Use the point of the chopstick to get the corners all pointy.
Note how the hand-stitching is visible, but if you're better at sewing you
can use a more stealthy stitch and make it truly invisible.
(Click to Zoom)
 Iron it flat the way you like it, and, Ta-Da! 
Red, storebought tie with unsightly adjuster thing.
Blue and gold home-made bowtie from necktie.
(Click to Zoom)