How to Make a Clip-on Bow Tie

Picture of How to Make a Clip-on Bow Tie

Clip-on bow-ties are a quick way to add a suave retro touch to any collared shirt! Slip one in your back-pack, man-bag, pocketbook, or jacket pocket for any fashion or flirting emergency.  They are great one hour projects, as they have minimal construction and sewing (you can even make them by hand).....and they are eminently suitable for luxury or recycled fabrics, as they require very little materials. Most bow-ties are about twice as wide as they are tall, but some mid-century clip-on bow-ties were as much as four times as wide as high – between 3/4”” and 1 1/2” tall and up to 5” wide, with 1” x 4 1/2” being typical. The leaves were usually rectangular with flat ends. In the late 1960s through the 1970s, some butterfly-shaped bow-ties were up to up to 3 1/2” tall by 5 1/2” wide. Those ties had very narrow centers and wide leaves. Although we give size suggestions, feel free to modify your pattern to suit your taste!
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Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

Mid-weight fabrics such as necktie silk, linen or cotton are preferred. You need less than 1/4 yard:
2 pieces of mid to lightweight fabric, both at least 2” x 8”, up to 3 1/4 x 11”, for the body of the bow tie
1 piece of mid to lightweight fabric, at least 3” x 4”, for the center band
Thread matching the background color of the tie fabric.
Bow-tie clip

Tie patterns
12” ruler
Tailor’s chalk, marking pencil, or ball-point pen
Sewing pins
Sharp scissors
Iron and ironing board
Hand sewing needle

Optional tools:
45 Deg. triangle (for accurately cutting on the bias)
Sewing machine
Japanese chopstick (the kind with the pointed end) or similar thin dowel
Whippersnap (author) 8 months ago
I've made over 100 bow ties since I created this tutorial, and can now confidently say that all you need to do is insert the clip arms (pieces with three holes at the end) through the hole that you cut, pleat the leaves, and sew on the center band. You will not need to sew the clip ends!
hippophant48 months ago
I figured out where the interfacing piece goes (I just had to go back to the top and read it, haha!) I do have another question though. You mentioned that if the fabric is slippery to sew the clip onto the tie, and you said to either sew it on the front of the interfacing or on the back of the leaf. How would you suggest to sew the clip on the front of the interfacing?? Would this step need to be done earlier before the leaf is sewn together?
Also, do you notice if the tie stays on better if the clip is on the inside of the leaf rather than on the outside?
hippophant48 months ago
hi I have a question. You said that there are 4 total pieces. So what "leaf" does the interfacing go on? (the outer one, or the back one?) thank you!
dryan122 years ago
This is great! Thanks!
Lindie3 years ago
Very nice! Love the fabric!
bobobano3 years ago
Bow ties are cool
So are fezzes.
Not as cool as cowboy hats of course
Not cowboy hats, stetsons. Stetsons are cool.
I havent been able to see the new season yet. :(
And stetson hats!
MEMJIM3 years ago
KEVLAR Helmets are cool. especially when they have a chance to work,
sueL23 years ago
Great visuals.
mikeasaurus3 years ago
nice fabric!
Whippersnap (author)  mikeasaurus3 years ago
Thanks! They are both Japanese cotton/linen blends made by a company called Kokka......they make truly fabulous fabrics. I bought the robot one at Britex in SF, and the pirate one elsewhere.
Swank! Thanks for the great instructions. :D
Whippersnap (author)  jessyratfink3 years ago
Thanks for the shout-out! It is my first Instructable, but hopefully not my last.

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