Eclectic Cut & Sew Bow-Ties

Encouraged by all the positive comments I’ve received recently about the bow ties I’ve been designing and making (and wearing), and my Spoonflower fabrics, I’ve been diligently working on some new designs these past few days. The first two shown are available for sale now, and the others will follow later this spring.

Nine Eclectic Bow-Ties cut and sew pattern

My first design was for a bow tie that was not adjustable… sized to fit me (15 3/4″). I did this because it just so happened that the length of the tie, with seam allowance came to exactly 36″… perfect for putting a row of them on one yard of fabric. At the time, I didn’t really think I would post them for sale. But I’ve received so many compliments and questions about where I got them, I thought “why not?” The problem of course, is that not everyone has a size 15 3/4″ neck.

So I re-designed the tie to make an adjustable one. I found a source to buy the specialized hardware in bulk. I also decided to upgrade the fabric it was designed for from cotton sateen (at 56″ wide) to Spoonflower’s cotton silk (at only 40″ wide). The cotton sateen worked well for my first batch of ties, and I can fit more of them on a yard of fabric, but the silk is a more traditional material for making ties. It is also very smooth and shiny.

5 Baroque Bow Ties, © 2012 J. Thomson -

5 Baroque Bow Ties cut-n-sew pattern © 2012 J. Thomson


5 Baroque Bow Ties, © 2012 J. Thomson - I’ve already written a step-by-step tutorial here.

My plan is to create a line of cut-n-sew patterns for adjustable bow ties, and some coordinating fabrics to make matching accessories like jacket/pocket linings, pocket squares, cummerbunds, neckties, ascots, etc. At just $27 per yard, you can make five bow ties for less than the cost of one commercially-available bow tie. (The last bow tie I bought, a Countess Mara tie on sale at Macy’s, was about $40.) To that end, I’ve opened up a new account at Spoonflower just for my ties and related designs. (I still have the other account for other designs.)


As a sewing project, sewing a bow tie is very simple… even a beginner can achieve success on the first try. (Unlike sewing a seven-fold necktie, which seems too daunting even for me.) And the tools and materials are simple and readily available, except for the hardware that makes the bow tie adjustable— I plan to make those available at a nominal fee to anyone who buys my fabric. They can even be sewn by hand if you don’t have a sewing machine, although I wouldn’t have the patience myself to do it that way.


The Flamingo Collection: 7 kitschy cut & sew bow-ties. Fabric designed by J. Thomson © 2013 All rights reserved.Also, with this new venture I am trying to ramp up my skills using Adobe Illustrator and Spoonflower. While I’ve always felt very comfortable designing things with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator poses a new challenge to me. For instance, yesterday I had a breakthrough when I learned how to make a repeating pattern within Illustrator, without having to resort to exporting to Photoshop only to import the resulting pattern back to Illustrator. The savings on time and file size is huge.


5 Leopard Bow-Ties

5 Leopard Bow Ties cut-n-sew pattern © 2012 J. Thomson

All of these patterns will (eventually) be available as bow tie cut-n-sew patterns. Except for the “Painted” bow ties shown below, all of these patterns will also be available individually so that you can use them as you wish (not limited to just bow ties). I think they would make excellent linings for pockets or jackets, matching pocket squares, scarves, etc.

My goal with this new line is to design patterns you wouldn’t find elsewhere. I will post projects in the months ahead as I complete them. I really want to make a pair of jeans or chinos using the Royal patterns  as linings for the waistband and pockets. Stay tuned!


The Royal Crown Collection: 7 Regal DIY Bow-Ties

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