Sewing with Neckties
So I'll share what I know.
I will probably post more on this soon, as there is much to say.
Why sew with neckties?
Well, first off it's a great form of recycling, and it's a fun way to use whimsical fabrics that often make bizarre neckties, but great quilting fabric.
Too, it's often a cathartic project in that people often use ties to memorialize a loved one (a mourning quilt, for example).
Are there any books available with ideas and instructions?
Most of the books with instructions are currently out of print, but you can sometimes find them on ebay or places like bookfinder (or their affiliates, like Alibris).
Unfortunately, they've gotten quite expensive--far more so than what they originally cost new.
Quilts from Neckties, by Sharon Newman (1995)
Tied Up!, by Gail Ellspermann and Frances Krupka (a Design Originals booklet, 2002)
Love to Quilt: Necktie Sampler Blocks, by Janet B. Elwin (1996)
Ties, Ties, Ties: Traditional Quilts from Neckties, by Janet B. Elwin (1996)
Threads and Ties that Bind: Exquisite Quilts from Tie Fabrics, by Jean Johnson (currently surprisingly affordable on Amazon)
and the only one in print:
Daddy's Ties: a Project and Keepsake Book, by Shirley Botsford.
How do I use the ties?
There are two ways of approaching sewing with ties:
using them as is,
or removing the 'guts' and using the fabric (including cutting templates, etc)
I do both, though surprisingly I more often just use the fabric.
How do I clean neckties, especially the fragile silk ones?
You might want to wash your ties first.
I combine all the fabrics in my projects--cotton, wool, silk, and polyester, but you can certainly only choose the silks if you so desire.
I throw all of them into the washing machine--the ones that disintegrate, well...better now then in your project. There may have been worn areas not visible to the eye.
Yes, I wash the silk ones too.
Don't just toss the ties in loose, or you'll get one big knot.
I take five or so, place them in a pillowcase, and close it somehow (rubberband or a knot).
Hang to dry.
The polyester usually washes beautifully.
The silks may come out all twisted, but if you're going to take them apart anyway--it doesn't matter (if you're not taking them apart, you might want to dry clean).
article about cleaning neckties
How do I take the ties apart?
Let them dry, then clip the two anchoring stitches on the top and bottom of the underside (horizontal tack stitches).
Once the tacks are snipped, you can usually take the thread and just pull it out in one swoop, thereby freeing the lining (so much easier than seam ripping).
Now you can iron the fabric and cut as desired.
What if I don't want to take the ties apart?
If you're making a skirt, or if you just want to use the ties 'as is', you can butt them up tightly next to one another and stitch them together with a triple zig-zag or similar type stitch.
And, as I just stated, you might want to dry clean.
Now, how about some inspiration, eh?
I love this unusual quilt by Lori Mason, called Ronny's Ties.
Dragon Top by Amy Weis of To Tie For
Skirt also by Amy Weis (her website is not longer active)
Maylina has some brilliant designs
Incredible rugs by Eileen Away
"straightjacket" by Bespoke by Brouhaha (I like this back detail)
pillow by Carol Sews
Blue Vest and Green Jacket by Joan Wells
Liturgical Stoles by Janet Armstrong
Prom dress made from neckties on craftster
dress by Deviant Art
Vest by T Vindy
tampon cozy on craftster
Quilt on Dacia Ray
Quilt by Precious Relics
Items for sale
Fit To Be Tied--hand sewn clothing line out of Seattle
handbags from KB Originals
pail pattern, and crazy necktie pattern, from Henrietta's Handbags
HGTV project for necktie handbags
handbag by Sonya Style
Schoolbag on CraftBits
Backpack with necktie handles, by Crafty Gal
Tie angel project
DIY project for reupholstering a chair
another source for reupholstering a chair
article about designer Frances Krupka
article about Pillows of Remembrance
article about bags made from Rudy Giuliani's neckties
My past posts about inspiration for sewing with neckties:
my first log cabin block
my second log cabin block
my owl coin pouch
tons of Laura's tutorials for purses, skirts and accessories
also Laura's zippered clutch
Posted on one of my other blogs:
There are also more inspirational projects (especially clothing) posted to my Flickr group, Sewing with Neckties.