How to Make Dog Bow Ties: Time to Dress Up for the Special Occasion

Image showing a dog in bow tie
Emily Young
Written by Emily Young

Many of us have been tempted to dress our dog up in one of those cute little outfits they sell in pet stores at least once. Dressing your dog up helps show off their personality and make them the center of attention. But these clothes can be expensive, and your dog may not like the itchy way the fabric scratches at their skin. If you’re only looking for a simple accessory that won’t break the bank or make your dog want to tear it off their body, learning how to make dog bow ties can be just the thing you need.

Bow ties are a great accessory for your dog if they cannot handle full costumes or if you prefer something a little more lowkey. Full costumes are great if you plan to enter your dog into competitions, but bow ties are definitely the better choice for everyday occasions. Moreover, your dog won’t be averse to wearing it, and you won’t have to spend hours struggling to get him into his costume before you can finally take your handsome pet out on a walk of fame as his proud owner.

A dog wearing a bowtie

In this article, we’re going to show you how to make dog bow ties. You don’t need to order anything online or empty your bank account on it. They’re easy to make, and you can have one for every occasion! But before we get to the step by step guide, we are going to provide some more in-depth reasoning as to why you should try your hands at making a dog bow tie, if we haven’t managed to convince you so far.

Why Should I Make a Dog Bow Tie?

You may be debating whether or not you should even try to dress up your dog. Well, why not give it a try? There are many pros to dressing your pet up.

It Shows Off Their Personality

No one knows your dog better than you do. So, why not show their personality off? With a bow tie, you can pick the fabric and style which best suits them.

Image showing a dog with a bowtie looking at the camera

If they’re feminine, give them a cute pink bow tie. If they’re more assertive, have a bow tie with skulls on it. Show off your dog’s best features with a bow tie.

All Dogs Love Attention

You cannot name one dog that doesn’t love being petted and adored. With a bow tie, they’ll certainly get the attention they want and deserve. If your dog is a natural showman, then they’ll love having their photo taken and treats given to them by people who adore them.

It’s a Bonding Experience

When you make your dog something to wear, there’s a certain amount of love that goes into it.

dog-in- red with white bowtie

Picking the fabric, creating the bow tie, having them try it on—it’s all a bonding experience for you and your dog.

You Can Wear Matching Bow Ties

Who wouldn’t want to wear matching bow ties with their dog? It’s the cutest thing in the world. For Halloween, you two can wear matching pumpkin-themed bow ties or for Christmas, put mini gingerbreads on them. Do you see the possibilities? They’re endless. You’re able to have matching bow ties for every holiday in the year.

A man wearing Bow Tie Matching with his dog

Also, when you and your dog are wearing matching bow ties, this makes for a great photo session. Bow ties are the perfect accessory for any photo. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing Christmas cards or sending a selfie of you and your dog to your girlfriend—it’s the fun that counts.

Now that you know why you should try to make a bow tie for your dog and even for yourself, it’s time that you learn how to make one. So, we’re going to tell you the supplies you need and how to make your dog’s bow tie.

How to Make a Dog Bow Tie

Before anything, you’ll want to make sure that you have these supplies ready. To make a dog bow tie, you’ll need:

  • A piece of fabric of your choice
  • Iron (not necessary but preferred)
  • Needle and thread
  • Velcro ( However, we strongly recommend it)
  • Soft measuring tape

Now that you know what supplies you’ll need, we’re going to teach you how to make a bow tie.

Step #1: Measure Your Dog’s Neck

You’re going to have to measure your dog’s neck with a soft measuring tape. Make sure you measure around the base of the neck where the bow tie would naturally sit. Place two fingers under the measuring tape, ensuring that there’s enough room for your dog to breathe with it on. Write down the measurement. If you don’t have a measuring tape, then use your dog’s collar if it fits appropriately. If you’re not sure on the size of your dog’s collar, we can help.

A man measuring his dog's neck

Dog collars usually range from extra small to extra large:

  • Extra small: 8 to 12 inches
  • Small: 10 to 14 inches
  • Medium: 14 to 20 inches
  • Large: 18 to 26 inches
  • Extra large: 22 to 30 inches

Step #2: Cut Your Fabric

You’re going to have to cut a large rectangle which will be used for the body of the bow. Of course, the rectangle will vary on the size of your dog. Below we’ve provided a sizing chart to help you figure out what size of a rectangle you’ll be needing for your dog:

  • Extra small to small dogs: Cut a 4-inch by 9-inch rectangle
  • Medium dogs: Cut a 6-inch by 11-inch inch rectangle
  • Large to extra-large dogs: Cut an 8-inch by 14-inch rectangle

Note: This will not be the actual size of your bow tie. This rectangle will be folded by its width, resulting in the final bow tie approximately half the width of the rectangle you started out with.

Image showing a woman making a tie for dogs

The measurements above were for the main body of the bow tie. Now, you need to cut the second piece of fabric for the center of the bow tie. Naturally, the size of this strip of fabric will also vary depending on the size of your dog:

  • Extra small to small dogs: Cut a 2-inch by 4-inch strip
  • Medium dogs: Cut a 3-inch by 6-inch strip
  • Large to extra large dogs: Cut a 4-inch by 8-inch strip

Step #3: Fold the Fabric

You’re going to want to take the fabric which you cut for the body of the bow and fold it in half. This means the width of the fabric will be halved but the length will remain unaffected. Then, you’ll take your iron to press the folded edges, making them flat. If you don’t have an iron, you can also sew the edges together.

Step #4: Stitch the Lengthwise Edges Together

With either a sewing machine or by hand, stitch over the lengthwise edge of the folded rectangle and on one width edge. Allow for a ½ inch seam on both. You’ll want to leave one width edge open.

Image showing a woman working on a dog tie

If you’re unable to sew, you can also use fabric glue. However, be warned that fabric glue is not as durable as stitching.

Step #5: Flip the Body Inside Out and Sew the open Edge

Now, you’re going to flip the body inside out, pulling it through the opened edge. Then, with the opened edge, fold it ½ inches in and stitch it closed either by hand or sewing machine. You can also use fabric glue if you’re not using needle and thread.

Step #6: Flatten Each Edge

With your iron, you’re going to want to iron the entire body, making sure to pay close attention to the four edges. This step is extremely important as it gives the bow the straight edges that complete the look. Once you finish ironing it, place the body of the bow to the side since you’re done with it.

Step #7: Double Fold the Center Strip

You’re going to now want to focus on the center strip. You’ll want to have the right sides facing outwards and fold the lengthwise edges towards the center of the strip. Once you do that, fold the strip half down its lengthwise center, making sure you hide the raw edges which will be visible inside the fold.

Image showing a dog tie on a table

The length of your strip should be unaffected. Only the width will be reduced in size. Once you complete this, iron the edges of the fabric.

Step #8: Stitching Down the Lengthwise Edge

Either with a sewing machine or by hand, you’ll want to stitch down the center of the folded strip, lengthwise. If you’re not using a needle and thread, you can also use fabric glue.

Step #9: Make the Shape of the Bow

Now you’ll want to grab the body of the bow. To give it its shape, you’ll need to pinch the fabric, lengthwise. Then take your center strip and wrap it around the center of the body where your fingers were holding it. You’ll then pin the center strip and the ends together.

A dog wearing a black bow tie

This is where you can play with the tightness and the look of the bow. The tighter the center strip is, the more defined your bow will be. If you’re finding that the center strip is too long for your bow, don’t worry. You can either cut it off or tuck it behind the bow.

Step #10: Stitch the Center Strip into Place

Now that you know how tight the center strip will be, it’s time to stitch it into place. You can hand-sew it, machine-sew it, or fabric-glue it, whichever you prefer. Stitch it into place behind the body of the bow, where your fingers were holding it. However, before you do that, make sure you leave one finger’s worth of space between the body of the bow and the center strip. You’ll need this space to attach it to the collar which needs room.

Step #11: The Bow Tie Band

You’re going to need a bow tie band to hold your bow tie in place. If you’re not going to attach it to your dog’s collar, you can make your own band.

Image showing a bowtie on a table

You’ll want to take a look at the measurement of your dog’s neck that you took previously and use it to measure out the fabric you’ll be needing.

Step #12: Double-Fold the Strip Lengthwise and Stitch the Open Edges

You’ll want to fold the strip lengthwise where both edges will meet in the middle of the strip. Press them into place. Then, stitch the open edges either by hand, sewing machine or fabric glue. This is where you’ll be able to get more creative with your stitching. You can do a decorative stitch or something more traditional.

Step #13: Double Check the Length

Double check again the length of the band. The ends of the band should overlap by approximately 2 inches. You’ll want to be able to have two fingers slide easily between your dog and the band.

Step #14: Attach the Velcro

Place one part of the self-adhesive velcro onto one end of the band and then attach the other part of the velcro onto the other end of the band.

Image of a dog wearing a bowtie on a walk

Test the band around your dog’s neck one more time and see if it fits comfortably. Reposition if necessary.

Step #15: Assembling the Bow Tie

Now you have all the components of a bow tie. Simply slide the center strip over the band. Once that’s done, you can place it on your happy pooch! Make sure the velcro is properly fastened. If everything’s good, it looks like you just made your very first bow tie!

Wrap Up

Now, you may know the extent of what people go through in order to dress up their dogs. They order costumes online, spends hundreds of dollars on them, and then maybe even watch their dog rip it to shreds. Dressing your dog in an extravagant costume isn’t a bad idea. However, you may want something a little more understated. In this case, you can put them in a bow tie you made yourself. You’ll be able to save a lot of money simply by making one yourself while also enjoying the experience with your dog.

Our step by step guide on how to make a bow tie seems a bit long, doesn’t it? But really, it’s not as difficult as you think it is. For all that there are 15 steps, each step is simple and can be done within minutes.

Image showing a cute dog wearing a bow tie in front of a house

We gave you the tools you’ll need and the steps included in order to make a dog bow tie. Your dog will love the fact that you’re making this bow tie just for them. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get started!

Have you made a bow tie before? If you have any tips or tricks, let us know in the comment section below! We’re also looking forward to hearing all about your first attempt at making a dog bow tie while following our step by step guide.

About the author
Emily Young
Emily Young

Emily is originally from China where she graduated from The University of Hong Kong with high distinction learning about fashion and design. During university she opened her own magazine about Dog Fashion as dogs were always in her heart. She was surprised, when she moved to a beautiful British Columbia 10 years ago, to see many great Boutiques with dog's designer clothing and desire of pet owners to make their babies look nice.