How to Make A Bowtie (for Kids + Adults)

By Brittni • Updated on 02/28/2024

Learn how to make a bowtie for kids (and adults), just in time for Easter (or any other time of year). Bowties for little boys (and adults too) are not always the cutest, but these are adorable! I love ’em all…and you can customize them to match any outfit or personality. Have a kid that loves construction? Bulldozer bowtie it is. Or what about a child that loves yellow? Grab some yellow scrap fabric and you’re good to go.

woman holding 3 kids bowties in her hand, in various colors / prints

I asked Jessica of Living the Swell Life if she would share her adorable Easter bowties DIY for kids. And not only did she share every possible detail for making your own, she even included an easy way to alter the size to fit an adult. Take it away Jessica…

Making these DIY bowties is a great way to use up leftover scraps of fabric. And you can alter the bowtie pattern to create kid-friendly bowties for kids (with velcro in the back), bowties for adults, and even DIY hair bows. So many options with this one! This tutorial requires a bit of sewing know-how, so I’d classify it as intermediate level.

Wanna make your own bowties from scratch? Click through for the step by step instructions.

supplies needed for making kids bow ties from scratch

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, similar to my tutorial for how to make a stuffed animal!

And while this 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 hair bow for the most girly-girl.

But right now I absolutely love the bow tie look for little boys. So let’s get to it…

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

Supplies (nice to haves):

  • pins
  • pencil
  • fabric marker
  • rotary cutter + mat

How to Make a Bowtie

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.

green fabric laid out in strips on a green cutting mat, for sewing

Step 1: Cut fabric.

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.

steps for making a bowtie from scratch

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.

steps for making a fabric bowtie (sewing with a sewing machine)

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).

scrunching a handmade green bowtie in between fingers

instructions for making a green bowtie from scratch

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.

folding over fabric to make a bowtie for kids and adults

sewing velcro to a handmade bowtie

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.

final instructions for making a bowtie from scratch

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!

Child wearing a yellow bowtie with dressed up outfit, ready for Easter

closeup of handmade green bowtie with floral pattern print on it

Toddler wearing a bowtie, button-down shirt, and khaki pants, holding onto plastic Easter eggs

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. 

61 comments | Click here to reply

These are so cute!! I make bow ties similar to this in all sizes so if anyone is interested this is my etsy link! https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleBrotique?section_id=16127585

Little Brotique

[…] 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

it’s so cute, thanks for sharing!!! 🙂

Athena

[…] 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

I am definitely going to try this. Super cute!

Scraper

[…] 3. make a bowtie from scratch […]

7 DIY Father’s Day Projects to Try | Paper & Stitch

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

it’s so cute! maybe I can make one for your friend’s baby’s 1year old birthday gift.

monkeycocoa

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

Sarah

OMT – Your instructions are great! Super easy.

Freckles

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

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

papernstitch

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

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

@_paula_p_ I am going to try this tutorial but haven’t used it before http://t.co/xQKq2OCR

sarah b. (@onestitchshort)

Your lovely tutorial was featured in our 2012 Ultimate DIY Gift Guide with 101 projects & recipes! Thanks! http://limefishstudio.blogspot.com/2012/11/2012-ultimate-diy-gift-guide.html

Limefish Studio

Muito Obrigada! Eu amei…

Camila Garcia

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.
-Brittni

papernstitch

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

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!

Robin

Such an inspiring project! I linked to it yesterday!

Laura Bray

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: http://enidsteals.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/dapper-chap/

Enid

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

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

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

So cute! Thanks!!!!

noush

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

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!

Audrey

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

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

Leslie

QUE HERMOSA FOTOGRAFIA!!!!! FELICITACIONES! LAS MOÑAS ESTAN RE- BUENAS GRACIAS POR EL TUTORIAL BECHO

maria noel

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Fliege nähen | Matrjoschki

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.

Angela DiGiovanni | Living Out Loud

If I could ever figure out trackback, I would totally use it! Anyway…I made a bowtie from your tutorial and blogged about it: http://itssewforyou.blogspot.com/2011/04/bowtie.html

So cute!

Melissa

[…] Teniendo en cuenta que la Semana Santa es una fecha de celebraciones, os traemos este tutorial de Papernstitch para que aprendáis a diseñar y coser una pajarita para poner guapos a los más […]

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

Bow ties « melody of the mundane

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

Cristina

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

hill

Sounds great Jan. Thanks!

And thanks to everyone for all the lovely comments.
-Brittni

papernstitch

Brittni,
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

Jan

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

How adorable! I have daughters, but that won’t stop me from trying this out for my nephew! Thanks 🙂

angie

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

Nicole

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.
-Brittni

papernstitch

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

Jan

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!!!!
thankyou

littlemissdoily

wow… sooo cutee

enno hayano handmade

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

Tomi Ann

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

Kami

[…] 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 @Craftzine.com blog

These are way too cute!

Tang

Thank you, I will try this.

Apex

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.
-Brittni

papernstitch

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

thank you so much!

ira

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

papernstitch

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

Evie

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

papernstitch

These are so cute!! Thanks for sharing!

Emily

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

papernstitch

This is so sweet, I love it!

Camila F.
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