Halloween is my faaaavourite time of year. I love it! In my late teens and early 20s, I used to throw a big house party every Halloween. But now it’s a little quieter and more sophisticated; I’m talking cocktails and dinner parties. But this doesn’t mean you can’t dress the part! Fancy dress doesn’t have to be silly and novelty. It can be pretty sleek and stylish – even when it’s handmade. This DIY bat bow tie is a perfect example!
This project was inspired by my Singer sewing machine’s ability to sew leather. All I needed to do was use an inexpensive leather needle and non-slip Teflon foot. With these tools, it’s possible to sew through any mid- or light-weight leather, just as easily as I can sew woven fabric like cotton. I’m SO excited to explore this more in future makes!
DIY Bat Bow Tie
Supplies and tools
- Printable bat bow tie template (click to download)
- Lightweight leather or faux leather
- Sewing machine – I use the Singer 7285Q Patchwork
- Teflon-coated sewing machine foot
- Leather sewing machine needle
- A good pair of fabric scissors
Shop these supplies! Click on an image below to buy on Amazon.
1. Firstly, print out the bat bow tie template from the link above.
2. Cut out the relevant template pieces for you, then use them as a stencil to draw the shape onto your leather. Make sure you draw on the reverse side of the leather!
3. Next, use a sharp pair of scissors to cut out the bat bow tie pieces from your leather.
4. It’s now time to add some details! First, add a teflon foot and leather needle to your sewing machine. Then thread your machine with a cotton thread that’s a similar colour to your leather. Programme the machine to a straight stitch, with a length of approximately 0.5cm.
5. Place the main piece of your DIY bat bow tie under the foot and clamp in place – just like you would with any other fabric. Slowly sew a few lines across your bat, to give it texture.
TIP: When you’ve finished a line of sewing, do not backstitch as you would with a normal woven fabric. This will just punch more holes in your leather than you need to – and will ruin the finish completely. Instead, leave a loose thread at the end. Cut the thread, leaving 1-2 inches of excess on your leather. Then gently tug the bobbin thread (on the wrong side), until the top-stitch thread comes though. Tie this in a knot by hand to secure and finish it off.
6. Take the smaller leather piece (that will form the central part of your bat bow tie). You’re going to add two separate stitches to this piece, which I’ve explained in the next steps.
7. Firstly, you need to add decorative zig-zag stitch (to look like vampire bat teeth!). To do this, simply programme your machine to a large zig-zag stitch. Sew directly onto your leather, positioning the stitch just beneath the pointy ears. It’s definitely worth practising this step on some scrap leather first, so you can gauge the size and width of the zig-zag.
8. With the decorative zig-zag added, you now need to sew the piece into a loop. Curl the leather strip into a loop, overlapping by approximately 1cm. Aim for the overlap to be positioned behind the zig-zag. Clamp this in place with your sewing machine foot, then stitch a simple straight line to hold it permanently in place. Use a slightly smaller straight stitch length than you did in steps 4-5, then tie it off as explained in the tip above.
9. Fold the larger bat bow tie piece into a concertina. Feed this through the loop you made in steps 6-8, then let the ends of the bat wings fan out naturally. You can add a little bit of leather glue to hold this in place if necessary, but this is optional.
10. Finally, add a pin or clip to the back of the bat bow tie. Use a small amount of glue to hold it in place, then pin it to your collar when it’s dry.
In total, this project took around 20 minutes to make. It’s therefore the perfect last-minute Halloween costume for men! Couple it with a black tuxedo and a touch of face paint for a low-effort/high-impact outfit. Happy Halloween! 🙂 – Mike.
Like this? Share it on Pinterest!