New DIY Craft Project: How to Make the Cutest Boy’s Bowtie (in time for Easter)


A guest post tutorial from Jessica of Living the Swell Life.

Last weekend I made a little bow tie for our son’s Easter outfit, and since then I can’t seem to stop. They are so fun to make with your small scraps of fabric! Althoughthis tutorial focuses on a small, kid-friendly version with velcro in the back, this pattern could easily be adapted for even the most manly-man’s neck…Or turned into a hairbow for the most girly-girl! But right now I absolutely love the bow tie look on little boys. I feel like the simplest bow tie could make even the most spoiled brat look like a perfect gentleman. This tutorial requires a bit of sewing know-how, so I’d classify it as intermediate level. Now dig in!

Supplies (must haves): fabric (6×20″ strip), interfacing (medium/heavy) (4×15″ strip) although not 100% vital, this provides great structure to the bow tie, Velcro (1″), scissors, sewing machine, needle + thread, iron, measuring tape

(nice to haves): pins, pencil, fabric marker, rotary cutter + mat

Here’s how you make it: *Before we begin, just a note on sizing: I found that 15″ of fabric for the band created ample room to go around my 2-year-old’s neck and shirt collar. If you are making this for an older child or adult, simply measure the circumference of his shirt collar (preferably while he is wearing it!), and add 2 inches of length for velcro overlap. The strap could further be modified to create a more adjustable grown-up finish, but that’s a different lesson.

Step 1: Cut your fabric into the following dimensions: 2 1/2 x 15″ for band and 3 1/2 x 3″ for center and 3 x 20″ for bow

Cut your interfacing into the following dimensions: 1 x 14″ for band and 3 x 10″ for bow

Step 2: Begin your bow! Fold your 3×20″ piece of fabric in half the short way (wrong sides facing out) and place 3×10″ piece of interfacing on top. Pin these three layers together as shown. Next straight stitch along three edges of the rectangle. Leave one of the short ends open for turning.

Step 3: Turn your bow inside out. Don’t worry about the unfinished edge. Press flat. Using your measuring tape and fabric marker, mark the center of the rectangle. Then fold both ends in toward the middle.

Step 4: Pin the edges together. Then make one big fat zig-zag stitch down the center. You may need to adjust your machine’s tension, as this is a little chunky.

Step 5: Now fold your rectangle in half again the long way. Make a 1″ straight seam perpendicular to your zig-zag stitch (I used my fabric marker to draw a guideline for myself).

Step 6: It’s time to make the band! Take your 2.5×15″ strip of fabric, fold it in half the long way (to make the strip even narrower, wrong sides facing out) and place the 1×14″ piece on top. Pin the three layers together. Sew a 3/8″ seam along the long unfolded side of fabric and along one short end. (I.e. just sew 2 sides!) You’re ready to flip your fabric into a tube. This can be a little bit tedious, but trust me, it’s worth it in the end! Use a pencil with a good eraser to help prod your fabric along. Press flat.

Step 7: Sewing velcro to the edges: To address that pesky unfinished edge, we will simply hide it underneath the Velcro: Tuck in 2 sides of fabric and fold the edge down into a point (like an envelope). Simply pin a piece of velcro to the top and sew around its border. Do the same thing on the opposite end (and on the opposite side of band). No need to get fancy with the envelope technique on this side, as it is already finished off nicely.

Step 8: Now for the center piece of the bow: Fold your 3.5×3″ fabric in half the long way. (No interfacing necessary for this one!) Pin and sew a seam along 2 unfolded edges. Turn & press. It’s ok to leave the open edge unfinished. We will tuck it in and sew it in the next step.

Step 9: Putting it all together: The moment we’ve all been waiting for! Use your fabric marker to draw a mark at the center of your band, then line it up with the center of your bow. Next wrap the center piece around the middle of the bow. Turn all 3 pieces upside down, pull the center piece to your desired tightness, and fold in its unfinished edge. Use your needle and thread to manually whip stitch this piece in place. (Or for instant gratification: whip out your hot glue gun!)

Hooray! You’ve done it. Now stick it on your little guy and party!

About the Author: Jessica enjoys sharing beautiful everyday things in word, craft, and photo. And she does all of that on her beautiful blog, Living the Swell Life. She lives in a white house with a red door in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband and little boy. You can also catch Jessica and Jeff (her husband) at their photography site, Jeff Loves Jessica. Gorgeous photos! *Jessica took all the photographs for this tutorial and they are amazing!


For more ideas for quick and easy projects, click here to visit the craft tutorials and diy page  filled with more than 50 diys. If you like this project, please help us spread the word by using the twitter and facebook buttons below. Thank you so much.

61 comments | Click here to reply

This is so sweet, I love it!
Camila F. recently posted..Yummy Weekend

Camila F. | March 29th, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Thanks Camila. I love it too. Jessica did a wonderful job.

papernstitch | March 29th, 2011 at 3:35 pm

These are so cute!! Thanks for sharing!
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Emily | March 29th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Thank you Emily for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed Jessica’s project.

papernstitch | March 29th, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Thanks for sharing this! I will definitely try this project this week.

Evie | March 29th, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Awesome Evie. I’d love to see what you come up with if you take pics.

papernstitch | March 29th, 2011 at 9:42 pm

thank you so much!

ira | March 30th, 2011 at 3:27 am

Thanks for this fun tutorial! I have two boys so anytime I see anything teaching how to make clothing for boys I’m all over it…it’s usually for girls!!

Meagan | March 30th, 2011 at 9:09 am

Your right Meagan. I hadn’t really thought about it, because I don’t have kids of my own. But most kids tutorials are for girls. So this is a refreshing change. Thanks again to Jessica for sharing it here on the blog.

papernstitch | March 30th, 2011 at 10:13 am

Thank you, I will try this.

Apex | March 30th, 2011 at 11:43 am

These are way too cute!
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Tang | April 1st, 2011 at 3:19 pm

[…] The cute factor in these wee-sized boy's bowties might be almost too much to handle. They are perfect for Easter or any time your little guy feels like getting spiffed up. Jessica of Living the Swell Life shares how to make them over on Papernstitch. […]

How-To: Boy's Bowtie blog | April 4th, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Adorable! I will have to try this! What a cute little guy!

Kami | April 4th, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Completely adorable! I will definitely be keeping this in mind for the future!

Tomi Ann | April 4th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

wow… sooo cutee
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enno hayano handmade | April 5th, 2011 at 12:30 am

So cute,I have two little boys and I am always searching for cute things to make for them,this will be great with a vneck jumper and shirt this autumn!!!!
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littlemissdoily | April 5th, 2011 at 4:35 am

I made one of these for my son when he was a toddler. It was for Easter and I made it out of a large sunflower print to match what I was wearing. Instead of putting it around his neck I used the clip from an ugly clip-on bow tie. He’s 21 now, so it’s been awhile, but I made several of them in a way that I could use the same clip for each tie.
Surely I have a picture somewhere. He was so cute!
Thanks for the reminder.
Jan recently posted..Owley Cats

Jan | April 5th, 2011 at 11:02 am

Thanks to everyone who has been commenting on Jessica’s tutorial. Aw, how sweet Jan. I’d love to see a picture if you have one.

papernstitch | April 5th, 2011 at 11:13 am

Those are so cute!!! I am going to have to try to do some. Thanks for the info.

Nicole | April 5th, 2011 at 11:15 pm

How adorable! I have daughters, but that won’t stop me from trying this out for my nephew! Thanks :)
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angie | April 6th, 2011 at 1:30 pm

LOVE it! Made my first one tonight and think I might have to add this to my list of things I make and sell for fun! Thanks for the GREAT tutorial, couldn’t have been more clear and easy to understand!

krissy | April 6th, 2011 at 10:48 pm

I can’t find any pictures of the bow tie I made right now, but when I turn it up I’ll put it up and send a link. It’s so much fun to sew for little boys when the right project comes up.
Jan recently posted..Owley Cats

Jan | April 7th, 2011 at 11:21 am

Sounds great Jan. Thanks!

And thanks to everyone for all the lovely comments.

papernstitch | April 7th, 2011 at 11:53 am

Thanks for the post! I can’t wait to try it, and CUTE little boy!

hill | April 7th, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Am I the only one who thinks these would be adorable as a bracelet?

Cristina | April 8th, 2011 at 2:52 pm

[…] found this blog last week and knew I had to give it a try. The […]

Bow ties « melody of the mundane | April 10th, 2011 at 10:05 pm

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Pajaritas para niños | Bueno, bonito y barato | April 21st, 2011 at 4:47 am

If I could ever figure out trackback, I would totally use it! Anyway…I made a bowtie from your tutorial and blogged about it:

So cute!
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Melissa | April 22nd, 2011 at 9:53 am

Oh, my gosh… these bowties are so dang cute. I love the first pic of the little guy holding the nest. Thanks for the great tutorial.
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maria noel | July 28th, 2011 at 7:45 pm

This tutorial makes awesome looking bow ties!! I have tried serveral other ways and this one by far worked the best! Thanks

Leslie | August 23rd, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I used this to make four bow ties as my first sewing project! Thanks for the clear instructions. I’ve never done sewing before and was able to make perfectly cute bow ties!

carol | September 9th, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I used your tutorial to whip up a quick bow tie for my son’s first school picture today. And I repurposed a t-shirt in the process! Thank you for such an easy-to-follow set of directions, I have a feeling I’ll be making many more bow ties in my future!
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Audrey | September 22nd, 2011 at 1:35 pm

These are the clearest instructions I’ve found for making a bow tie and so darn adorable. Would you have any idea of the measurements for a full sized bowtie or should I use a bow tie I already have a stencil?

Caitlin | November 1st, 2011 at 8:34 am

So cute! Thanks!!!!

noush | November 11th, 2011 at 4:28 pm

These are adorable, and I think I’m going to make some for my son for his birthday this coming year. 8 years old… Bow tie would make for some adorable birthday photos.

Not Supermom | November 16th, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I made one of these today and am working on another. Maybe I’m missing something, but how do you take the rectangle of step 5 and make it look like a bowtie (the picture in between #5 and #6). Mine does not look nearly as bow-like even with sewing the center piece tighter than your instructions say. Help!

Becki | December 10th, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I love this bowtie; I am modfying it for my grandson, Henry’s Easter lamb applique I am making for his onsie! I’m making the lamb from a Cricut cartridge, Create a Critter. I’m cutting out of organic materials, including faux lambs wool! So excited! He’s 5 months old.

Renée Benson | April 2nd, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Just made a red gingham version of this for my little dog Melville… he’s coming to our wedding and told me he felt underdressed. This is a great alternative to flowers for boy dogs who want to look distinguished.

Here he is in his new outfit:

Enid | April 2nd, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Such an inspiring project! I linked to it yesterday!

Laura Bray | April 10th, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Love this idea! Can I use your picture(s) for a Make This/Buy That blog post? With credit of course! What a nice, easy tutorial. I think I’ll have to make up a few for Father’s Day coming up too!
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Robin | May 15th, 2012 at 6:40 pm

I love these so much I’m going to add them to my new line of accessories, if that’s alright with you. They will be easily adapted to work with my other fabric products. Thank you for this tutorial! This is a great example of what I was wanting to make.

Catherine Parillo | June 12th, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Hi Catherine. I’ll have to check with Jessica, but typically with tutorials they are for personal use only. i.e. Not for use for resale.

papernstitch | June 12th, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Muito Obrigada! Eu amei…

Camila Garcia | September 3rd, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Your lovely tutorial was featured in our 2012 Ultimate DIY Gift Guide with 101 projects & recipes! Thanks!

Limefish Studio | November 13th, 2012 at 6:35 pm

@_paula_p_ I am going to try this tutorial but haven’t used it before

sarah b. (@onestitchshort) | November 18th, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Love this and so easy! But to make it easier I recommend a safety pin for the part where you pull the band through. Made it way faster. Took me about 5 seconds.

Gina | January 12th, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Hey there – first the bow ties are adorable so I decided to make a couple for my little guy – Second, I have everything cut and ready to go – I read through all the instructions and looked at all the photos before I started the process but before I do Im not sure how the instructions actually line up with the photos? This is by far the first sewing project Ive done but I’m not seeing where the instructions actually line up with the photos and I think there may be a step or two left out but I may be wrong – in step 2 it says to fold the 3×20″ strip in half the short way meaning you will have a strip now that is 1.5×20, is that correct? If so where exactly do I place the 3×10 strip of interfacing? Do I just center it leaving 5″ of material on either end? Also it shows in the pictures you cutting off the corners but does not mention this in the instructions? You see the cuts in step 2 photos but not in steps 3-5 then you see them in the end of step 6 – was this an optional cut or is this something I have to do – sorry for such a long comment I just dont want to screw them up and Id love to make a couple for a photo shoot being done at my sons 1st birthday party and for his first birthday photos

Ashley | January 18th, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Hi Ashley. This would be a question for Jessica of Living the Swell Life. She created and wrote this tutorial. Her email is{at}gmail{dot}com. Hope that helps. Good luck!

papernstitch | January 20th, 2013 at 1:30 am

Thank you! This is the best tutorial that I liked. From trial and error, I tried an elastic band from another website, but I prefer this idea of velcro better. I did make the bow a little smaller: 3 x 18. My guys look adorable!

Freckles | March 23rd, 2013 at 3:10 pm

OMT – Your instructions are great! Super easy.

Freckles | March 23rd, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Great tute! Thanks for posting-made one for my little guy!

Sarah | March 23rd, 2013 at 5:40 pm

it’s so cute! maybe I can make one for your friend’s baby’s 1year old birthday gift.
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monkeycocoa | April 18th, 2013 at 4:16 pm

I just used this tutorial to make a bowtie for my little guy and it is stinking adorable! Turning the band inside out was a labor of love but it turned out great. Thanks!

Theresa | June 3rd, 2013 at 3:54 pm

[…] 3. make a bowtie from scratch […]

7 DIY Father’s Day Projects to Try | Paper & Stitch | June 7th, 2013 at 8:00 am

I am definitely going to try this. Super cute!
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Scraper | June 9th, 2013 at 2:49 am

[…] Last weekend I made a little bow tie for the son’s Easter outfit, and ever since then I can’t seem to stop. They are so fun to make with your small scraps of fabric! Althoughthis tutorial centers on a small, kid-friendly version with velcro in the back, this pattern could easily be adapted for even the most manly-man’s neck…Or turned into a hairbow for the most girly-girl! But today I really like the bow tie look on little boys. Personally i think just like the simplest bow tie will make even the most spoiled brat seem like a perfect gentleman. This tutorial requires a bit of sewing know-how, so I’d classify it as intermediate level. Check it […]

DIY Luxuries blog | How to Make the Cutest Boy’s Bowtie | July 19th, 2013 at 4:24 am

it’s so cute, thanks for sharing!!! :)

Athena | March 6th, 2014 at 1:35 pm

[…] sure he looks the part! I was disappointed by my choices so after a quick search online I found a basic tutorial and got to work making my own. 3 hours later… […]

DIY: Bow Tie | Littlest A | April 29th, 2014 at 9:22 pm

These are so cute!! I make bow ties similar to this in all sizes so if anyone is interested this is my etsy link!

Little Brotique | October 22nd, 2014 at 7:08 pm
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