Doesn’t Humphrey look doggone dapper in his oversized polka dot bow tie? And handsome old Professor Oli? These DIY reversible dog collar bow ties (standard or oversize) are easy to sew, soft, washable, and hold their shape beautifully. Here’s how to make your own!
Doggone Dapper DIY Dog Bow Ties
Dog bows and bow ties are quick crafts and are great projects for using offcuts or general stash busting. They don’t require large pieces of material, so they’re great for offcuts or upcycling. Bow ties are usually one sided and are often made of stiff fabric or stiffened with interfacing to help hold their bow shapes. Today’s DIY is a fully reversible bow tie with padding for a super soft but shapely tie. It works for standard doggy size or an oversized party version. It’s also VERY easy to sew!
When I created these ties for our boys for Christmas, I decided to make them with padding because of their oversized style. The padding was to hold them hold shape without being hard or stiff. I actually love them far more than expected! They’re super soft but still hold their shape exceptionally well. They also wash beautifully. Bonus!
How to Make a Padded Reversible Dog Bow Tie
Supplies and Materials
To make a similar padded reversible dog bow tie, you will need:
- Complimentary coloured thread
- Velcro / hook and loop tape (optional for the fastener)
- Sewing machine
- General cutting / sewing supplies
- Iron and ironing board (optional but recommended)
Washable fabrics are recommended for dog clothing. Wherever possible (and fabric permitting), I prewash/preshrink fabric and then iron flat prior to cutting or sewing.
Making the Bow Ties
Preparing the materials:
- Cut an equal rectangle of each tie fabric in the width and height of your finished bow tie plus a small seam allowance around the edges. Scale the project to suit the size of your pet and style of tie you’d like, whether standard or oversized.
- Iron flat. Optional: Crease or mark your seam allowances.
- Cut a rectangle of quilt batting in the size of your rectangle without including the extra for seam allowances.
Sewing and stuffing the bow tie:
- Layer your fabrics right-side-in.
- Sew together along the seam allowance, leaving an open gap at one end for inverting and adding your batting.
- Trim any threads and/or excess material from the internal corners (helps reverse into a point).
- Invert to right-side-out.
- Fold your batting, slide it in through the gap, and work in into a flat position inside the tie. Make sure it extends into all of the corners.
- Fold your gap seam allowances in to match the neighbouring edges. Topstitch all the way around the outside of your bow tie, closing the gap, securing the batting, and adding a little extra style to the tie.
- Sew a seam top-to bottom the through the centre of the tie to further secure your batting.
- Trim any excess threads.
Tip: If your dominant fabric colours are different, you can use different thread colours on the top spool and bottom bobbin to better blend your seams, if you wish, as shown in my photos.
Forming the bow:
To keep this tie reversible, it doesn’t have a permanently sewn loop. You can simply pinch the tie together along the middle seam and hand-stitch repeatedly through the centre to secure the bow tie into shape.
Attaching the bow tie to a collar:
Attach as you wish to your dog’s collar, such as a ribbon tie, elastic loop, slide, or Velcro. Remember, embellishments are for supervised wear only. See tips below and our method for these ties.
Options for Attaching a Bow Tie to a Dog Collar
Securing Embellishments and Accessories to Dog Collars
The best method of attachment really varies depending on the size and temperament of your dog, the type of collar, and the type of flair or embellishment. A lightweight decoration may be fine with a simple ribbon, and attached loop of elastic to slip onto the collar, or a little Velcro. Larger or heavier pieces may need several loops of firm elastic or wide Velcro. To make sure that things stay in place for a very special event or with an extra active pup, you may even prefer to sew your embellishment onto a matching collar slide or directly onto the collar. Good behaviour to go with the good looks is not guaranteed.
Attaching Dog Collar Bow Ties
If your dog wears a narrow collar, you can easily attach a bow tie with a single loop of fabric, elastic, or other material that slides around both the collar and your bow tie’s center. If your dog has a wider collar (like Oli’s), this doesn’t look as nice around the bow.
Some of our no-sew bow ties use a simple ribbon tie. Quick and cute! Our easy sew bow tie shows a two-piece loop and Velcro strip method. That’s great if you’d like the collar piece to be wider than the tie loop. For this bow tie, I thought I’d show a one piece loop and Velcro strip combo.
If you’d rather use a double loop (elastic or Velcro), you can attach it to the bow instead of the slide. Double loops keep the ties level on the collar, which can be helpful for floppier ties (or wild wearers). Again, this can be problematic on wide collars, depending on size and placement.
Making a Bow Tie Slide with Velcro Collar Attachment
This was somewhat fiddly sizing and sewing (as small loops always are), but important to the look I wanted to my matching bow ties relative to the sizes of Oli and Humphrey’s collars. The one-piece slides take advantage of the padded bow ties’ ability to hold their shape without needing extra support on the collar. They also allow the ties to be easily rotated for reversible wear.
Making the one-piece bow tie slide with Velcro collar attachment:
- Cut a narrow rectangle of fabric in double the width of your desired slide plus seal allowances, and a length three times the width of your collar, extra to loop around your tie, and seam allowances to finish the ends. Not sure about length? Make your strip a little longer and you re-adjust later in a test fitting, if needed.
- Since long skinny tubes of material are a pain to inverse, we’re going to make ours kind of like a binding instead. Fold lengthwise along the mid-line into half and iron to crease. Fold a seam allowance inwards along the edge of each strip, and iron to crease.
- Optional: Pin around your tie, check your length around you collar, and adjust if needed.
- Ensure that your seam allowances are all folded inwards, then topstitch all edges, including the fold on the closed edge, just for consistent looks.
- Fold the strip at the centre. Double check position for size and sew to create the loop for going around the bow tie. Make sure this seam is strong.
- Attach your Velcro to the ends of the strips. Sewing Velcro can sometimes be a bit fiddly and small pieces can be difficult to pin and sew. If your Velcro isn’t self-adhesive, you may find a little double-sided tape helpful in keeping things in position for sewing instead of trying to pin.
Finishing and attaching the bow tie:
- Roll one side of your bow tie tightly and slide it through the loop.
- Fluff it up and you’re good to go!
- Velcro the tie into position on the collar for wear.
Additional Bow Tie and Slide Styling Tips
The tie can be spun within the loop to reverse sides/patterns. Spin, adjust the folds if/as needed, and you have a whole new look.
Although the slide is also washable, I prefer washing and drying separately (with a gentle iron afterwards, if needed). It’s better for the cleaning process/time than being all scrunched into the slide. It’s also good for the shape of the tie. Reinsert and it looks as good as the day it was made!
Because the slide is removable, you can change the attachment method, swap attachment loop styles, etc. Changing the loop can totally change your look. This red, cream, and green combo is nice and Christmassy all together, but our bow ties weren’t made for Christmas only. They can easily be used any time for plenty of other looks and styles.