Monday, September 17, 2012

Sewing for James: A Dapper Bow Tie

The family and I had the opportunity to attend a wedding in Milwaukee over Labor Day weekend...which of course gave me the opportunity for fun, wardrobe-enhancing projects.

This was my first sewing project for James and has been on my list of sewing to-dos since we received the invite: a Brooks Brothers-esque bowtie. I wanted all out preppy cuteness.

While in DC with Kevin in the spring, I actually stopped in a Brooks Brothers store to look at bow ties, just to get an idea of sizing, price, fabric type and quality etc. First, Brooks Brothers does not carry a lot in 2t size range. Second, it really is a bit too expensive for my 2t kid's messy stylings. There is a reason why I frequently comment that I am raising Pig Pen incarnate.

I surfed the web looking for a good bow tie tutorial and ended up settling on this one at Prudent Baby. Apparently, the bow ties debuted in a photo shoot for the Martha Stewart wedding blog, and got enough attention that Prudent Baby created a tute. Works for me!

The only challenge for this tutorial was that I needed real bow tie hardware, which I was able to order readily on Etsy: three bowtie hardware sets for about $5 with shipping.  (You bet I'll be using this tute again at Christmas...think brother/sister Christmas eve coordinates...)  And, while we're on the subject of cost, this project, fabric, interfacing, hardware and all, probably cost about $5.  Thrifty and fabulous!

A few notes: Sizing was definitely a trial and error experience.  The tutorial sized the bow piece to be a bit large in the name of funkiness.  \Honestly, it was a bit large for my preppy sensibilities and my two year old's face. I wanted to avoid anything resembling a clown bow tie.  So, I took the bow tie width down an inch and kept everything else the same.

The tutorial called for double sided fusible interfacing, which seemed to totally mystify the lady at the fabric cutting table at JoAnns, so I just went with a medium weight, single sided fusible, which I fused on both sides of the piece that is folded into the bow.  This provided the thickness and texture needed for the bow tie to hold its shape and resist drooping.

After making my bow piece, I also realized that I needed to be more strategic in which part of the madras pattern I cut out.  Not all cut pieces are created equal, and I really wanted to pick up more of the pink and white, as opposed to the medium blue. 

I ended up making the neck strap twice because the first time, it was too short, and I also made the middle connector loop twice becuase I sewed it too small the first time (I thought the tute called for a loop that was too big, turns out I was wrong!  Though, I think it could be a bit more snug, so I may tack the bow to the connector at some point.)  So, I ended up making the whole thing twice, with one set of pieces being not quite right.  Oh it goes with sewing and garment construction....

Here's the final super cute result:


So cute. Totally worth the effort!

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