Bow ties are what all the hip dogs are wearing. Your pup doesn’t need a special occasion to get in on this fashion trend, and you don’t have to spend a fortune on neckwear. Bow ties are super simple to make, with only minimal sewing skills needed. Just follow these easy instructions, and your dog will be stylish in no time!
Tools and materials:
- Fabric of choice, minimum of 7 inches square, but a bit larger for cutting errors is always safe
- Velcro, ½ to ¾ inches wide and 3 inches long
- Fusible interfacing (ask for this iron-in stiffener at the fabric store’s cutting counter)
- Needle and thread
- String or yarn of any kind, about 6 inches long (optional)
Directions for a 4-inch bow tie:
Cut a 4.5-by-7-inch rectangle from the fabric. Cut a second piece into a 2-by-7-inch rectangle.
Turn the larger piece of fabric so that the longer (7-inch) sides are on the top and bottom, with the wrong side of the fabric (if it has one) facing down. Bring the right side and left side in to overlap in the middle. Fold over each side and pin the folds into place, one on top of the other.
Stitch the open ends closed. You can hand sew or use a sewing machine.
It’ll look like the photo below when both sides are stitched. When the ends are sewn together, you can remove the pin in the center.
Turn your rectangle inside out. Use scissors to get into the corners and push them out square.
Cut a piece of fusible interfacing to fit inside the pocket you just made.
Slip the interfacing into the pouch, being sure to push it into the corners well, so that the fabric lies flat on the outside.
Iron it into place, following the manufacturer’s instructions for interfacing with regard to iron settings.
Once ironed, it’ll be warm (obviously) and pliable. This will stiffen as it cools, so while it’s warm, pinch pleats into the bow, folding two or three pleats, whichever you choose.
Using needle and thread, sew these pleats together to keep them tight. Option: You can tie the string around the center. It’s far easier, but be sure to keep it tight and knot it well.
Using the smaller piece of fabric that you cut, fold the long sides in to meet each other, making ribbon. You’ll use this to wrap around the middle of the bow, and you don’t want the raw edges showing. Iron the fabric as you fold it. Be careful you don’t get your fingers too close the iron. (I speak from experience.)
Next, place your Velcro pieces so that they slightly overlap, and grip each other.
Take the “ribbon” that you made (you made ribbon!) and fold one end over, then pin into place on top of the Velcro where it overlaps in the center, as shown below.
Stitch into place. This will be easier on a sewing machine because Velcro is tough to get a needle through, but if you don’t have a sewing machine (or don’t want to break one out), you can still hand sew. It’ll look like this when you’re done. (You may be tempted to hot glue this part, but I would not. This is what holds the bow tie onto your dog’s collar, and you’ll want it to endure scratching, your dog running through the shrubbery to escape the yard, or tugging by other jealous dogs wanting bow ties of their own.)
Take the other end of that ribbon (without the Velcro) and start wrapping it around the center of your bow tie. Be sure to keep it tight as you wrap. You’ll want to finish your wrap with the Velcro on the back of the bow. (You’ll know it’s the back because the opening will be there that you slipped the interfacing into. You won’t want to see this fold on the front of the bow.) If the Velcro doesn’t hit the right spot, you can trim the ribbon a bit so that it fits better. DO NOT CUT THE VELCRO AT THIS POINT.
Hand sew the ribbon into place, being sure to secure it in all four corners around the Velcro.
You’re done! Now you have an adorable bow tie for your dog (or cat) that you proudly made all by yourself.
To attach the bow tie to a collar (or harness or leash or your purse handle …) simply wrap the Velcro around the collar and stick it to itself. This is where you can trim the Velcro if you find it’s too long to fit well. Be sure you don’t cut it too short, or it won’t meet and hold!
Congratulations, you’re done! Let us know how it went in the comments!
Read more by Karen Dibert:
About the author: Karen Dibert is a wife, mom, and dog lover living in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. She has five kids, three French Bulldogs, and a flock of useless chickens. Karen authors a pet column for her local newspaper, advocates for her son with Down syndrome, manages Louie the French Dog’s Instagram accounts, compulsively photographs everything, and lives in the sewing room, filling orders for her Etsy shops, The French Dog, The French Dog Home, and Collar The Dog. A snapshot of her life can be seen on Facebook.