How to Make a Bow Tie Out of Fabric

Updated February 21, 2017

Many costumes require a bow tie. Any play set in the last century will feature men in bow ties as will any plays with men in evening wear. Women's dance costumes with bow ties and tails are also popular. A costume bow tie requires only about a quarter yard of fabric and you can make one up in just a few minutes. This is important when you are costuming a whole chorus line.

Cut a 5-by-9-inch rectangle of fabric. Fold it in half lengthwise by bringing the long sides together with the right side of the fabric on the inside.

Sew along the long side and one end with a 3/8-inch seam allowance. Turn the bow tie right side out.

Iron the bow tie flat and lay it on a table. Fold the ends of the tie to the centre and stitch them together by hand. Turn the tie over.

Cut a 2 1/4-inch strip of fabric 4 inches long. Fold, sew and turn this rectangle the same way you made the bow tie. Turn the strip right side out and iron it flat.

Measure the wearer's neck and cut a piece of 1/2-inch elastic 1/2 inch longer than the measurement.

Lay the bow on top of the centre of the elastic and wrap the strip around the centre of the bow and the elastic. Wrap the strip around the bow tightly enough to give it a bow tie shape. Hand sew the finished end of the strip over the raw edge. You may have to cut the strip shorter before you sew the end down.

Overlap the ends of the elastic 1/2 inch and machine sew them together to form the elastic neckband. Be sure the elastic is not twisted. Pull the bow tie over your head to wear it.


Your may use a safety pin to attach the bow tie to your shirt instead of an elastic band.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • 1/2-inch elastic
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About the Author

Camela Bryan's first published article appeared in "Welcome Home" magazine in 1993. She wrote and published SAT preparation worksheets and is also a professional seamstress who has worked for a children's theater as a costume designer and in her own heirloom-sewing business. Bryan has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Florida.