Ahh, boys. So cute, so lovable, so few cute clothes. It's always a bit disappointing to go to a store and see all the fluffy puffy pink ruffles for girls, and then you go all the way back into the corner to find the ONE rack of toddler boy clothes. Would you like doggies or cars or dump trucks?
It doesn't get any better when you look for boys' dress up clothes. At Target, I found I could choose between khaki slacks and khaki cargos, a blue blazer and ..nope, nothing but a blue blazer, and collared shirts in red, blue or green. I know I could have gone to Gap or TCP and spent a lot of money on a white collared shirt, blue slacks and a khaki blazer, but really, he's gonna wear this once. And really, it's just blue, khaki and a neutral color - just change the combination a bit. So imagine my giddiness when I found the idea to accessorize the little man in matching suspenders and bowties. Why is it that these cuties look so good when we dress them up like little old men? We don't dress little girls up like little old women, do we? I wouldn't know.
Anyways, if you have a boy of your own, you're probably chomping at the bit and wondering when I'm going to get to the tutorial ALREADY. So here we go.
I used the tutorials at Prudent Baby, Make It-Love It, and Living the Swell Life as my references. And I realized that I didn't really take a lot of pictures, so I'll try my best to explain, and feel free to visit the other tutorials to get more details.
Ok, let's talk basics. Your bowtie is essentially comprised of 3 pieces - the main body, the loopity loop in the middle, and the strap that goes around the neck.
We'll start with the body - it's just a tube of fabric that you'll scrunch up in the middle. Figure out the final measurements of your bowtie, then double both the length and width, and add 1/2 inch for your seam allowance. Eg. My bowtie, for a toddler, measures 4 in x 3 in. So I cut my fabric to be 8.5 in x 6.5 in.
TIP: If your pattern has lines on it, cut the fabric at a bias - it looks better! (I've never noticed until now, but all of hubby's ties use a slanted pattern.)
Take your main body piece of fabric, fold it the long way, right sides together, and sew down the long side with a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn it inside out and iron with the seam flattened out, in the middle - this will be the back of the body. Then fold your piece the short way, front sides together, and sew down the short side with a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn it inside out and iron again the with seam flattened. Now you've got your tube. Set it aside and make the loop.
This picture shows the body and the small loop, before they turn into loops. The seam is ironed flat in the middle.
For the loop, you're basically going to do the exact same thing as the main body, except with a much smaller piece of fabric. I cut my fabric to 3" x 2". With a 1/4" seam allowance, this should give me a loop that is 3/4" in width (subtract 1/2" from 2", then divide by 2). I sewed the loop together with a 1/4" allowance on the short side as well, but you can make this tighter or looser depending on the fabric you use. Remember, the loop needs to go around the scrunched main body, as well as the strap, so leave enough room, but don't make it too loose. There's a bit of "making it up" involved here. Make a teeny tiny tube!
Now fold the main body in a zigzag fold (or just scrunch together), and slip the loop over the body. Position the loop at the middle of the main body, and you've got yourself a bowtie, without the strap!
Who knew? A bowtie is just a loop around a piece of fabric.
At this point, you can make a strap to go around the neck, or just hot glue on a clip, whatever floats your boat. If you're making a strap, cut a piece of fabric 15" by 2". Again, this mean the width of the strap will be 3/4". 15" sounds like a lot, but remember there needs to be overlap for the velcro. Fold the fabric the long way right sides together, making a narrow strip, and sew down the long side with a 1/4" allowance. Turn inside out, and iron flat.
TIP: Attach a safety pin on one end of the tube to help you scoo(t)ch the fabric along as you turn it inside out.
Once the strap was made, I slid it through the bowtie loop before I added the velcro. I wasn't sure if the strap would fit through the loop once the velcro was sewed on.
All the seams are in the back of the bowtie.
Cut about 2 inches of 3/4" velcro. Sew the scratchy end on the outside of one end of the strap, and the soft side on the inside of the other end. I folded the rough edge in on itself, sewed it shut, folded it over and sewed the velcro on top of the fold to hide it. You can also just fold the corners in, then fold the whole thing and sew the velcro on top. Either way, you're using the velcro to hide the rough edge.
You can see a bit of the velcro here.
That's pretty much it. I messed around with the look of the bow tie for a while, but then just gave up and went to bed!