Sewing a bow tie for children (or even adults) is a super easy task and it’s low cost too.
A kid-size bow tie adds stylishness to simple children outfits whenever they attend a ceremony, a festive dinner or just a party.
Some time ago a dear friend of mine got married and my youngest son was asked to be a pageboy. He and some other little boys were asked to wear the same outfit and anticipate the bride’s entrance by throwing flower petals. As some of the pageboys were basically toddler, the outfit needed to be very basic and comfortable. Furthermore the weather was expected to be pretty hot.
So the pageboy dress-code was decided to be a white short-sleeved shirt with khaki trousers and blue suspenders. Yet the bride and myself were not entirely satisfied. How to add an elegant touch to the whole?
That’s when I had the idea to craft a series of little bow ties. The bride chose the fabric she preferred. At first we considered a solid color satin fabric, but, at the end, we chose a patterned cotton (which was even easier for me to sew!)
At the wedding, the pageboys and their bow ties were adorable and they looked totally… professional.
So here I am to share how I sewed different size bow ties in no time, making them comfortable and wearable even for the youngest children.
For the bow I used:
a 11,5 cm * 7 cm pattern (for kids 3 to 7 years old)
a 11 cm * 5,5 cm pattern (for toddlers under 3 years)
a 4,5” * 2,7” pattern (for kids 3 to 7 years old)
a 4,3” * 2,1” pattern (for toddlers under 3 years)
For the band:
I calculated the measure of the pattern this way: I measured the collar of the shirt the kids were going to wear (in my case 34 cm / 13,3”) + 7 cm / 2,7” to close the center of the bow + 4 cm / 1,5” of allowance.
So I made a pattern 3,5 cm / 1,3” height * 45 cm / 17,7” long
After chosing the fabric you like, cut a square following the pattern you created (mine was 11,5 * 7 cm)
Fold it in half as shown in the next picture, with the wrong side up. Sew only the lenght, leaving the short sides opened. You get a little “tube”. Do not iron!
Cut the exceding fabric along the seam. Leave just the smallest amount.
Now turn the fabric inside out, so you can see the right side of the fabric. Roll the fabric “tube” until you bring the stitching at the upper center (see picture below). Now -and only now- you should iron the fabric.
…And you get a flat “tube”.
Pin the left side to the right side. Remember the stitches must be visible at the center horizontally.
Sew it close to the edge. Do not iron.
Again, turn the fabric inside out, then, roll the fabric “tube” until you bring the (vertical) stitching at the upper center, while the horizonal stitching has disappeared inside the tube (see picture below). Do not iron the fabric ever again. The “tube” must stay curved (not flat!) This piece of fabric will soon be our bow.
Now take another piece of fabric and cut it following the measures for the bow tie band. I picked a piece of fabric 3,5 cm (1,3”) height * 45 cm (17,7”) long. Then, apply an iron-on interfacing to make the fabric stiffer.
Separate a piece of about 7 cm (2,7”). We will use it later to attach the bow to the band.
Fold both pieces horizontally and pin them along the edges.
Sew both of them (only) horizontally, leaving the far ends opened. You get 2 narrow “tubes”.
Once again, cut the exceding fabric along the seam.
Roll the fabric “tubes” until you bring the stitching at the upper center (see picture below). Now it’s time to iron the fabric and make the bands as flat as you can.
Flip them. They start looking like the final band you need for your bow tie. Aren’t they?
Get back the first fabric you sewed. Pinch the bow at the center with your fingers. Creating 3 small waves is the best option.
With the help of the smallest of the 2 bands you made, attach the bow to the longer band. Pins or clothespegs will be necessary to join all the parts (see picture below).
We are very close to the end and the bow tie begins to look a lot like a real one!
Now you need to sew by hand the fabric “ring” in order to close it tightly.
It must be tight enough for the band and the bow not to slide off, but not too tight: the central “ring” must be nicely rounded.
Cut the excess fabric away, as close to the seem as possible without spoiling it.
At this stage you can already see the final effect. But we haven’t finisched yet…
Measure the right circumference by trying the bow tie over the shirt you are going to wear it with. Try to be sure about the exact size you want. You’ll be able to adjust the fastening a little bit, once the bow tie is completed, but the more precise you get to be in this one step, the better.
Now it’s time to apply an “invisible” velcro closure.
Cut the smallest piece of velcro possible (it must be enough to close well the tie but it should turn out as unnoticeable as you can get)
Sew the velcro on both the band’s ends. If necessary, you can trim the exceeding lenght of the band itself.
And… here it is: your handmade bow tie is all finished!
Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you decide to make a bow tie following these instructions, I would be delighted to see a photo of your work posted in the comments.
Thanks for reading!