Dapper DIY: Turning Two Dated Old Ties Into One Reversible Bow Tie

My friend Travis loves these two old ties but they're too wide to be on trend. Wanting to re-use the fabric, Travis came to me with a request to turn these old dated ties into stylish new bow ties bow ties. Ask and you shall receive, my friend. This is a perfect job for Captain Dapper!

Before I started, I created a paper pattern by placing one of my store bought bow ties on a piece of Kraft paper and then tracing around it. Once I cut the paper pattern out, I was ready to get started.

Step 1: First, I used a seam ripper to cut the stitching on the back of the tie.
Step 2: Then, using scissors and a seam ripper, I opened up the tie and removed the interfacing.
Step 3: Next, I used an iron to press the creases out of the tie. I started off with a cool iron setting and then gradually increased the heat to make sure I didn't ruin the fabric.
Step 4: With the creases removed, I used my pattern to cut the bow tie shape out of the old tie. I then repeated the process with the second tie. When I was finished, I had four bow tie pieces - two from each tie's fabric.

Step 5: Next, I used the bow tie pattern to cut the interfacing. I used the interfacing from both ties to get the two pieces of interfacing necessary to complete the tie.
Step 6: Then,  it was time to start piecing the tie together. Since I used contrasting fabrics for this tie, I placed one fabric face up on the table and then laid the other fabric on top of it face down. Then, I placed the interfacing on top of the two fabrics and pinned all three pieces together. Using a sewing machine, I stitched the pieces together, being certain to leave an opening at the narrow end of the tie for the next step...
Step 7: With the pieces stitched together, I then turned the bow ties right side out. To make the process a little easier, I used a pencil to help push out the seams.
Step 9: Then, I used the iron to press the bow tie pieces flat. As you can see in the photo above, once the pieces are ironed, the really start to look like a bow tie!

At this point I had two halves of a bow tie. Now, if I was making this bow tie for myself, I would pin the two pieces together so that I could find the perfect size and then stitch the two pieces together. Since Travis wanted to be able to make small adjustments to the size of his tie, I added buttons to the back of it.

And there you have it! Two big and wide old ties transformed into a reversible bow tie. Wear it with pride, Travis! It comes Captain Dapper approved!

Images: Jason Loper


  1. Amazingly simple. gotta make some for hubby.

  2. Very cool. I definitely want to try this. I do have 2 follow up requests: first, where did you get the pattern? and second, could you do a post with the basics of sewing?

  3. This is such an easy tutorial, but i am having the darndest time turning the bowtie right side out. NOTHING I do is working. How do you get the big end of the bow tie down to turn and able to pull through the narrow channel?

    1. I haven't followed this tutorial but make my own. You must be careful to leave a big enough opening when you sew (which you then sew from the outside after turning it inside out). You can leave the opening/hole at the end of the piece of tie, as shown in the tutorial, or along the side right before the end, which allows you to make the opening a little bigger than just the width of the tie. If the opening is too small and you can't get your fingers through, chopsticks and crochet or knitting needles (blunt-ended) can help you poke it inside out, a bit at a time.

  4. Does the pattern need to be slightly bigger than I want the end result to be?