How To Sew A Tie

Making A Tie

When Colette Patterns recently released a free pattern for A Gentleman’s Necktie, I was really interested. Making a tie didn’t look so hard… Surely I couldn’t foul this one up! Oobop made a fantastic version for a friend’s son. (To see the awe-inspiring prom dress she made to go with the tie I strongly recommend a visit here.)

Tie Pattern

This is a downloadable pattern. It took me 15 minutes to tape the pages together – not bad. I then traced the templates onto Swedish tracing paper.

Next up, choosing fabric. Not as straightforward as it sounds. I stood in front of my stash pile and really struggled to find something suitable. A lot of wools were too heavy, silks too drapey, prints wrong, textures bad. Ooh, you need just the right fabric for a tie! In the end, I chose a navy lightweight wool and a gender-neutral printed silk for the lining. As I started making my tie, I tried not to worry that I was basically reproducing the school tie I’d burnt years ago. Hey, not that many years ago – cheeky! Okay, a serious number of years ago.

Cutting out my pattern pieces was simple enough. Sewing the pointy points also known as ‘tails’ less so. My work was… What’s the word I’m looking for? Atrocious!

tie ends

Still, I powered on through. I’m stubborn like that. I inserted my interlining piece and pinned the back together.

constructing tie

All I had left to do was slip stitch the back closed. If you’re going to hand sew something, I really recommend beeswax to stop your thread from knotting and to strengthen the thread.


Then I took my work out into the sunshine and sat, happily slip stitching as Ella happily destroyed my garden.

hand stitching tie

Job finally done! In the end, I didn’t think my tie looked bad at all. I mean, I wouldn’t thrust it on someone to wear for a job interview, but it wasn’t too shabby.

Here are the lessons I learnt:

• Choose your fabric carefully. You want something lightweight yet stable.
• Accept that your first tie is going to be a practice go. You’ll want to get your technique down pat, so buy enough fabric to make two ties.
• Try not to mess around with the tie too much during construction. Every piece is cut on the bias, and bias cut fabric can stretch.
• Have a press cloth to hand so that you protect your tie when pressing with an iron. (A press cloth can be something as simple as a clean tea towel or as luxe as a square of silk organza.)

Have you ever made a tie? Would you?

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29 Responses to How To Sew A Tie

  1. Great work! Yes – this bias is making all sewing a little more complicating… 🙂

  2. I’ve mended plenty (or maybe it was just the same one, many times) but never made one. Yours looks fab. I’d wear it to a job interview. Nah, actually, I wouldn’t; not my style – but if it were, I would. 😉

  3. I love your tie, it’s a lovely texture. I don’t know if you’re interested, but I also made one of these ties! Mine was a lot slimmer though as I made it for my partner and he likes a skinny tie. I found the point area a little confusing… and cut the lining piece upside down three times! Eventually running out of fabric, and having to go for a rather girly floral.

    What are your feelings on women wearing ties? I haven’t worn one since school, and they remind me a little of Shania Twain, but I do love that androgynous look (though unfortunately due to my shape impossible to achieve).

  4. Nessa says:

    I’ve mended and re-shaped ties, but never made one from scratch. I do have some fabric chosen by my Mister to make him a tie, so thanks for highlighting the pattern, I shall go take a look.
    Well done to you for trying something new!

  5. lauriesannie says:

    Yes, I’ve made several. The men in my life tend to wear bow ties. I couldn’t find a pattern anywhere, except for the pre-tied variety. They like to tie their own (or rather get their women to do it!). So I took one already made and traced it out, added seam allowance and carried on. The corners were a challenge but I’ve gotten much better at that over time. I’ve used quilting fabric and it worked beautifully. Lots of body. Rosen and Chadick sells lovely tie silk and you don’t need a lot for a bow tie. The appropriate hardware is a challenge. I’ve seen bow ties fastened with buttons and I’ve tried that. But the hardware is still preferable if I can find it. I love your tie, especially the lining. Most men wear such conservative clothing during the day. A pretty lining is a nice surprise when the tie blows in the breeze.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Even though I would never make a tie myself (too lazy!) I always enjoy/learn something from your entries!

  7. This could not be more timely! I was meant to be making a tie for our wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago and due to buggering up my shoulde carrying the baby around in one arm, I have put it off. Now I am glad I waited! Thank you for the advice. Although I have already bought some lovely old kimono silk, I might just use that for th eliding instead and choose something less slippery.

  8. Sadie says:

    Hmmm, this is very timely as I was thinking of sewing the ties for my husband to be and his groomsmen for our wedding. I need to have a trial run first to see if it’s achievable! I think it may be a case of sounding more straightforward than it actually is…

  9. Maggie says:

    I made a horrendous tie for my dad back when I was in middle school. It was made with a very loud very slippery 70s print (it was in the 70s!). I still feel traumatized by it. Thanks for sharing your experience, maybe I’ll consider trying it again.

  10. Sheree says:

    I did see some silk tie fabric once when I went to a few factory shops in Sudbury, Suffolk. At the time I was hoping to buy some dress fabric and had read on-line that the area is well known for silks. For dress fabrics I found it quite disappointing as it was more home furnishing based. There was the tie fabric though for anyone that is interested………

  11. Betty says:

    Congrats, it looks great! I never thought to make it in anything other than silk.

    I’ve made a few ties but never had much luck with them. There’s actually some lovely tie silk sitting in my stash for the day I choose to try again. 🙂 You can get some gorgeous, but not cheap, tie silk from the Cloth House in Berrwick Street in Soho.

  12. Marie says:

    Karen, you look so sexy sporting the tie in that first picture! I’ve been wanting to try this pattern out for the boyfriend, but need an occasion to…maybe a friend’s wedding coming up in October!?! Thanks for the tips and advice! On the beeswax front…do you literally just run your thread through a chunk of it?!?

    • Thanks, Marie! Yes, you just run your thread through the wax as pictured. Important second step, though – then press with an iron on medium heat to seal the wax into the thread. This second step makes a big difference.

  13. I made my boyfriend 3 lovely silk ties for Christmas last year. They were probably the gift that I spent the longest time making out of all the presents I gave. And I have seen him wear one of them once since then. Oh well. Next time I’m making one for myself instead!

  14. Taja says:

    I made several ties for my father in the late 60s/early 70s. Ties were horrendously wide, and he was a wiry, strong fellow, but a bit on the short side. Those ties completely swallowed him! lol

    As you noted, the first attempt (probably two attempts) were not very good, but once I learned the techniques (obviously, well before the internet!), I could adjust the current look to suit his physique and churn out ties for him fairly quickly.

    I also made a few ties for my ex, at his request, which completely surprised me! The request–not the ties! He was one of those men who could make clothes look good–his proportions were just right.

  15. Michelle says:

    Thanks for giving us the benefit of you experience. I’ve wanted to try a tie, but I can’t ever seem to find a fabric that makes me want to sew one. There’s got to be a good resource out there for tie fabrics.

  16. Joanne says:

    Hello hot stuff! You look awesome and all sort of Annie Hall in that pic Karen 🙂 loving it.

  17. suth2 says:

    My brother used to make ties from the remnants from my dress making.

  18. ooobop! says:

    Great job Karen. And thanks for the link back. What kind of interlining did you use? I am trying to find the stuff that I took out of the old tie I used but it’s really hard to find. They are such a satisfying make. I might have to make another now I’ve seen this! x

  19. louise says:

    I’ve been wanting to make my husband a tie for ages – thanks for the inspiration to actually just get on with it!

  20. LinB says:

    I’ve made ties, yes — at least one every decade. They’re a tiny bit fiddly, but not particularly difficult to assemble. You’re so right that the fabric makes all the difference between “a lovely tie” and “an abomination unto the Lord.” None of the men in my immediate circle wears ties except to weddings and funerals (except my co-workers, the minister and the music director; and the one only wears a tie when he’s in the pulpit and/or not wearing his formal robes that Sunday; the other only on a whim). My father refuses to attend any more funerals, so he doesn’t need new ties. My husband doesn’t even have a suit in his closet except the cheap one he last wore to a funeral two years ago, so he doesn’t need new ties. Working-class men just don’t need many ties anymore.

  21. CUP + PENNY says:

    I love a good tie! Sometimes I borrow my husband’s ties and wear them with a button-down shirt, for a little bit of chic androgyny. Although I can understand why men don’t wear ties as much these days (uncomfortable), I do love the look of a man in a “suit and tie.” Mad Men-style! All I needed to convince me of that was this swoon-ful pic of Joseph Gordon Levitt in a suit on the cover of GQ:

  22. Lillace Christianson says:

    So glad to find this post! I happen to have just ruined my hubby’s solid color silk tie trying to clean it. (I know, dry clean only, but I hate sending out something I might be able to handle myself. Lesson learned.) I’m going to try my hand at making ties for him now as most that are available rtw are too short for his “tallness”. He especially needs solid colors just now, so I’m thinking of using some fabric from thrifted prom dresses that I found. I’ll let you know how they turn out. Have a great day!

  23. Katy says:

    Hello, quick question – do you still have the instructions for the tie? I’m sure I used them about a year ago and now I want to make another tie but can’t find any instructions to get that tricky little lining/facing/stitching/snipping part at the corners! It’s driving me nuts! Please help?

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