How to choose the right bow tie hardware

How to choose the right bow tie hardware

Are you looking to buy hardware for your business? Or you have decided to sew a bow tie, but not sure what kind of hardware is suitable?  Whichever your reason for buying bow tie hardware, you must know how to select the right hardware.

Do I need a bow tie hardware?

A bow tie can either be pre-tied or self-tied. For self-tied bow tie, you can make it in its simplest form which does not require any hardware.  But you will need to tie it every time and you cannot adjust the neckline size.  So it will be more friendly to wear if you add bow tie hardware to it.  For pre-tied bow tie, you must need bow tie hardware.

What size should I look for?

The width of bow tie strap is normally 3/4 inch (around 20mm) so you will be looking for hardware with inner measurement approximately this size.  But if you are making bow ties for babies, or for other design purposes, the strap could be slimmer (or wider if you like, but this is very rare).  There are bow tie hardware in different sizes to fit straps of different width, but it is relatively harder to find.


What style or material?

Next you need to know what types of bow tie hardware there are and their pros and cons, which I am going to talk about here.

Eye, Hook and Slide

This is the most common type for DIY bow ties, especially pre-tied bow ties.  The slide is used to adjust the length of the strap, and the the hook and eye act as the closure.  

Many hardware in this type is made flimsy and coated by spray painting.  These are cheap in price, and despite being flimsy, it is sturdy enough to be used in bow ties.   

If you look for higher quality and better looking hardware, you should choose the sturdy type of hardware with the colors hang-plated.


  • Easy to sew with


  • Relatively loose closure
  • The hardware will show if the bow tie is worn on stand-up collar shirts

Size Ribbon, T-Hook and Eye

This type of hardware is commonly used in high-end fashion brands.

The size ribbon is to be sewn on the inside of the strap.  There are holes in the size ribbon where the T-hook would be inserted in order to adjust the strap length.  The T-hook part is usually made smaller than the strap width so that it will not show and the strap looks like a continuous strap on the outside.

  • Professional and high-end looking bow tie
  • Suitable for stand-up collar shirt as the hardware will not show.
  • Firm closure


  • Relatively difficult to sew

Slide and Buckle

This kind of hardware is more secured as there is a click-lock. These are normally made in plastics which is more flexible to make that "click".  Suitable for young men's bow ties so they can move around without the tie loosening.


  • Firm closure.
  • Easy to sew


  • Not as professionally look as it is made in plastics.
  • May not be suitable for babies due to choking hazard. 

Slide and Joint Buckle

This kind of hardware is hang-plated with a smooth shiny finishing to give an expensive look.  It is sewn like the slide hook and eye type but the joint buckle part gives a better closure look. 


  • Nice finishing.
  • Easy to sew


  • The hardware is a bit heavy so your strap cannot be made with fabric that is too soft.

Other types

Basically any hardware that allows the strap adjustment and a closure will make a bow tie hardware.  So depending on your bow tie design, you can choose your suitable hardware.  Like the cinch buckle in the picture above is normally used in bags, but a smaller size of it paired with a slider can also be used for bow ties!

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If you have other thoughts about choosing bow tie hardware, please share with us in the comments!  I hope this article helps!


About the Author
Key Lau is the founder of KEY Handmade, an online shop for craft supplies and handmade products. 

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Very informative. Thank you very much

Rosana Jackson

Hi I am looking for a bow tie hardware that I have seen on my sons bow ties. It is similar to the slid and joint but it made slight different. It looks more like a bar sliding in to a holder. So only on side has a bar the other is like a holder is was plastic.


Hi! For the size ribbon, how do I measure where it needs to be sewed on to the bow tie? Is there a general principle to follow? The ones I own start at 13 1/4" however when I measure from the tip on the tie that point is measured at 12". Any assistance would be helpful!


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