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Making a Bow Tie Using the Thackery Acrylic Pattern

Gather supplies:

  • Fabric
  • Acrylic bow tie template
  • Interlining / interfacing
  • 3 piece adjustable bow tie hardware
  • Iron & ironing board
  • Rotary cutter & cutting mat / chalk and fabric shears
  • Sewing machine & thread
  • Bodkin


Pre-wash the fabric if necessary, and press it using the recommended steam and temperature setting for the type of fabric.


Arrange the pattern pieces onto the prepared fabric.  Pay attention to the fabric bias and design, for instance you may need to match stripes or plaids.  Not every fabric requires a bias (diagonally on the fabric), but lines are included on the pattern to help align the fabric.


Place the acrylic template on the fabric and trace the pattern with tailor’s soap/chalk to mark the fabric.  You can use a rotary cutter or fabric shears to cut the fabric.  (Pro tip:  The best way to cut the fabric pieces is with a rotary cutter and cutting mat once you have traced the pattern.  The pieces stay flat on the cutting mat and eliminates stretching that could cause unequal pieces.)

Pin the Pieces:

Once you have cut all the fabric pieces, you should have four pieces total: two long halves, and two short ones.

Add interlining as necessary.  Generally a bow tie needs a very thin lining, but especially thick fabric (like wool) might not require a lining at all.

Pin the matching pieces together, right sides facing.  Use four pins on the long pieces, and three on the short ones.  Places your pins length-wise, down the very middle of the fabric so they won’t interfere while sewing.  (Pro tip:  Stitch down the middle length-wise using long basting stiches.  This holds the material better than using pins and you don’t stick your fingers.)


Determining where to begin sewing depends on the pattern.  If the pattern has a point on the tip of the tie, begin there.  (If it is a round tip you may have to begin at the narrow end [more on that later].)  Position the fabric under the sewing machine foot so there is ¼” seam allowance.  Sew the entire length of the side.  When you come to about two inches from the corner, begin to taper slightly to the end, making your seam about 3/8” when you finish.  Sew to the end of the fabric.  Reposition your fabric and sew across the end, closing the end with ¼” seam.  Sewing across the seam makes the corners stronger.  Reposition your tie to now sew down the opposite side, repeating the process you used on the first side.  (Pro Tip:  to ensure not stretching delicate fabric, sew in the same direction you used on the original seam, but on the opposite side.)  Leave about a 2 inch space unsewn in the middle of the piece for turning the tie to the right side; using the middle of the tie for turning makes for neater ends.  The tie needs to be sewn in the same direction to keep the fabric from stretching.

Snip & trim:

Use your rotary cutter or shears to trim the corners, and trim the seam allowance as needed.  This makes it easier to turn right-side out, and prevents bulk at the seams. 


Using a bodkin (also called a loop turner), carefully turn the fabric right-side out.  Once inverted, you may stitch down the opening.  Pro Tip:  If you don’t have a bodkin, a long wooden knitting needle and a crochet hook are good substitutes to use in turning the material.

Press both halves:

Now that you have both halves turned right-side out gently press and roll the seams so that the sides of the ties are equal.   Be careful not to flatten the bow tie too much as you want it to have some structure.

Next, you will install the hardware that makes the bow tie adjustable.

Install the hardware:

Thread the end of the short piece through the hook.  Stitch it down with a strong stich.

Thread the end of the long piece through the slide and loop.  Introduce the eye.  The center of the slide must form a closure point, and the eye must reside between this closure point and the spot where the end loops over and forms the adjustable part of the slide.

Maneuver the fabric under the machine’s presser foot, and stitch as before.

Adjust the length as necessary.

*Note, the sewing pattern’s length can be adjusted for a 2 piece hardware configuration, or even made to measure for an exact length without hardware at all.  For made to measure, measure the neck and divide by 2, and use the extensions for that specific length.