Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sew 50s - Trifold Bow Tie from Redundant Necktie

Maybe you know someone who has a favourite necktie that is rarely worn, but would be just the right textile for a smart bow tie for a special night out.  I found a lovely vintage bow tie that had an unusual tri-fold bow section, so I have unpicked it and drafted a pattern & instructions.  Feel free to use these to make smart bow ties for your nearest & dearest ready for the winter party season.  (Please do not sell the pattern, instructions or the finished bow ties, thank you).

This is the original bow tie, very grubby and with a metal clip rather than a neckband on the back.  I loved its tri-fold form and asymmetric finish.

The tie I used was a lovely rich silk tie dating from the 80s or 90s.  Firstly, choose the most even sized piece of tie to be the long neck band section.  Fold narrow section of tie so that width (approx. 3cm) matches most evenly.  Cut this section 51cm long.  If ends of the long central seam need restitching, do so now.  Open each end of neck band, trim 1.5cm of interlining from each end.  Fold and pin ends neatly using 1.5cm seam allowance.  Overstitch by hand.

Unpick any label on main front tie section carefully.  Unpick tie section along seam.  Remove interfacing and any linings.  Press outer silk piece flat (even an 8cm wide tie will often be 20cm wide once opened out).

Fold tie interlining section in half widthways.  Pin pattern to fold & cut interlining section.  (Pattern diagram at end of post).

Fold main tie silk piece in half lengthways, right sides together.  Pin interlining piece on top, taking care to position straight along pattern.  Cut with 1.5cm seam allowance all round. 

Machine around interlining as closely as you can, leaving the bottom central “V” section open. Clip curves and points, turn right sides out. Turn under seams on bottom edges and sew by hand. Press.

Cut section which will form knot, 3cm wide by 11cm long.  Cut piece of tie interlining 1.5cm x 11cm and place along length.  Press long edges to middle so knot section is 1.5cm wide. 

Fold bow section into 3 (as per photo of original red bow tie).  Run a couple of gathering stitches through middle.  Draw up. 
 Place neck band on back of bow section so that 8cm is to the side of the centre. Wrap knot section around centre of neck band and bow section. Pin knot section on reverse, turning under ends to neaten. Stitch around this section onto neck band.

Pattern diagram



  1. I found you via sew retro. This looks fabulous. I may have to make a floral one for myself from my enormous pile of fabric scraps. Thanks for the instructions.

  2. great instructions and what a lovely bow!

  3. Thank you, glad the instructions are useful, happy there will be more beautiful bows out there!

  4. What a super idea they are so lovely and would look great on bags or hair bands.
    Hope you don't mind but I have nominated you for an award over on my blog.


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