The ability to turn a necktie into a bow tie opens up great options in a man's or woman’s wardrobe. Perhaps you have a long tie that would look better as a bow tie, or maybe there’s a formal event to attend that requires a bow tie and you don’t have one.
Alternatively, many standard bow ties don’t fit comfortably around a larger man's neck, so this approach is great to know. Keep in mind that the width of the normal tie you choose will influence the size of the resulting bow tie.
- Place the tie with the thin end on the left, the wide end on the right and the front facing down. Fold the large end of the tie over to the left and tuck it into the loops that typically hold the excess material in place. You’ll pull the end of the tie about a 1/2-inch through the loop to secure it.
- For the next fold, take the thinner end of the tie and fold it right toward the loops, creating a rectangle. The width of this rectangle will determine the size of the final bow tie, so it should be even on either side.
- Fold the tie back on itself to the left with the crease just shorter than the first fold. This will create a leaf.
- Create a leaf on the other side by folding the tie back to the right, with the crease just shorter than the width of the previous fold on the left side.
- Put your finger on the tie where you envision the location of the bow tie's knot in the center of the rectangle. Pinch the long side of the tie and create a concave arch with the material, creating a crease along the seam on the underside of the tie.
- The next loop creates the center knot of the bow tie. While pinching the tie, loop it up over to the front of the tie (with the material facing down) and up around to the back again (where your finger is).
- Place your middle finger under the loop that was just started and loop the material that you’ve pulled up around the left side, under and through to the right. Tighten it slightly and you’ll start to see the bow tie shape.
- The next step makes the piece that goes around the neck. Loop the end of the tie back to the right and back toward yourself. Thread the end under the left side of the knot just made.
- To better shape the tie into a bow, pinch the center and pull up the end of the tie that’s secured to the knot. Repeat this pinching and tightening a couple of times to improve the shape.
- Flip the tie over and check that it’s the intended shape. If necessary, pull up the ends of the bow or pull the knot on the back to tighten the center. The bow tie is ready to be worn.
- With your collar up, loop the end of the tie over your head and position it around your shirt as intended. Take the loose end of the tie that was previously looped and pull it tight so the tie is in place and the loop is snug around your neck.
- Fold your collar down and enjoy your new bow tie.
Neil Gladstone's writing has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today and Popular Mechanics. He's also the co-founder of the DIY community CraftFoxes and The Craftys, awards for makers and crafters.