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Old neckties

jyang949 | Posted in General Discussion on

What can be made with old neckties? Can they be used in rag rugs?



  1. kswolff | | #1

    I don't have an answer for you but would like to say I have the same question. My FIL has given me (literally) pounds of gorgeous ties that he no longer wears. He's 88 and just can't be bothered except for an occasional bow tie which are his favorites. About half of the ties are Hermes and I just can't bear to part with them but don't know what to do with the fabric. I too would love some ideas that are not too 'crafty' but pretty and creative projects.

    Hey maybe a Mens Tie Challenge?!


    1. starzoe | | #2

      "Daddy's Ties", a book by Shirley Botsford has a wealth of information on what to do with them. It's for sale on Amazon.

    2. gailete | | #12

      Wish I had a FIL with those kinds of ties. Once I read about the ability to use them as beutiful binding I have been coveting-bad bad me! For years I always check out men's ties and the especially nice ones I think about how I could cut them apart and make things from them. One nice silk tie should yeild enough binding at least for a jewel or scoop neckline. It wouldn't be too cutesy like an entire vest or skirt (both great ideas by the way). They would also be great to make into crazy patch fabric.

      1. decoratrice | | #13

        I saw a nifty footstool (round) upholstered in ties, gathered in the center with a pompom.  Looks like a fairly easy project.  You can see the general idea on the MacKenzie-Childs web site.

      2. kswolff | | #14

        You are the second person to recommend using them for bias binding and I think that's a great idea. As much as I love that swirl dress, where on earth would I wear it? If you are coveting ties like this you might try garage sales or thrift stores. One of my favorite sources for fabrics is the Good Will or St. Vincent's. The prices are very low and it's amazing the items that people will donate. By the way, have you, or anyone else reading this, tried the Simplicity Bias Tape maker? I saw a video of it somewhere in the last week or so and it looks really great. Of course Singer would make their product look great in a commercial but has anyone tried it?Kirsten

        Edited 9/20/2009 5:56 pm ET by mrswolff

        1. gailete | | #15

          No I make mine by hand even though I have a couple of those metal things that are supposed to fold the fabric, but I think they are rug size. I'm just now starting to use bias binding on clothing. My last two dresses I substituted bias binding for the facings and I think the neckline looked much better.

          I live in blue collar country and it seems the only nice fabric ties I see are still around the guys necks! The ones I see at thrift stores are those clunky/chunky polyester ones with gravy spots (at least I hope they are gravy spots!) We don't have a St. Vincent thrift store out here but I hear that they are wonderful. We have no TV (for actual TV watching)so see no commercials.

          1. kswolff | | #16

            I found the link for the video of the demonstration. First time in years that I'm actually tempted to get one and try it. Here is the link below. Oh, and I have absolutely no connection with this company at all.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xp3ouhsqK6MI've always been a fan of bias bound edges including using it for a Hong Kong finish on unlined tailored items but it's such a pain to make your own, like you said, and the stuff you buy already made is usually that cotton or a blend that is really stiff and way too heavy for much of my garments. I would like to see what you think of this gizmo - it's not cheap but maybe on ebay?Kirsten

          2. marymary | | #17

            Found this Blog devoted to neckties: http://sewingwithneckties.blogspot.com/  There are some interesting things make from neckties.

          3. gailete | | #18

            I'm on dial up and can't upload youtubes unless I want to sit around all night! Sorry. Is there a regular website for the gadget?

          4. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #19

            I most assuredly recognize the problems with dial up speeds -- or lack thereof...   Anyhow, here is a link to Simplicity's site, and if you put your cursor over the picture of the bias tape maker, it'll give you a close up so you can see how it works well enough, I think.



          5. gailete | | #21

            After choking on the price and then seeing it only comes with one 1" tip, I would need to be making LOTS of bias tape to justify the cost of that gadget. I wonder how much the other size tips will run? If this will be sold at places like fabric stores, I would at least hold out until I had a 40-50% off coupon to buy as I think it is very pricey. considering you have to cut the strips and then it looks like very carefully wind them onto the machine before unwinding them to make the tape, the only convenience you are getting is not burning your finger tips and as long as you have the fabric strips set up right, the folds will be ironed correctly. I wonder what happens if you don't get the strips wound into the machine as neatly as they should be, how fussy would it be. But, yes, if I were going to make lots and lots of bias binding, a lot of the time professionally, I would consider this as an expense. But for me, I couldn't at this point justify the cost.

            Now if some company would like to give me one to try out and test, I would be happy to do that and give a better evaluation :)

          6. kswolff | | #20

            Yes, I found the same video and listing on the Simplicity site. Here is the link:http://www.sewingmachinesplus.com/simplicity_tapemaker.phpK.

          7. Palady | | #30

            If it's of value to anyone - the URL has info on Cool Fingers.  The notion works.  My daughter introduced me to it (them) after she found them in the now closed Fabric Place. 

            I found mine usable in other than bias making efforts using the metal sized bias folder.  Lurkers, or others, unfamiliar with these, can open the second URL.



            The forms I have, 1/2" to 2", were bought years ago.  1 of the sizes has plastic.   The others are all metal.


          8. gailete | | #22

            While cruising the Internet, I just found that bias tape maker cheaper here http://www.dpauls2etlinda.com/whats_new.html then of course trying to find the thread where we had talked about it! No affiliation, blah blah, just saw it was $20 less and wanted to let you know of another option.

          9. KharminJ | | #23

            What a great site, Gail! Bookmarked!

            When you consider that *one* 3yd. package of solid-color bias binding will set you back in the neighborhood of $3 at the store, and how many yards you really use on a garment or quilt(!), the price works out to "reasonable cost per yard" pretty quickly. You'd have to cut the bias anyway, and it may not need to be wound on, just lined up carefully...If I sewed more and computered less, this would be an interesting tool! (grin)

            Gotta wonder just what prompts their "Not intended for professional use" disclaimer, though?Kharmin

          10. gailete | | #24

            The 'not intended for professional use' is probably the same thought that causes many of our sewing machines to be labeled that way. They weren't made with the intention of running non stop 8 or more hours a day. For this gadget to be for professional use, it would probably need much hardier components, replacing plastic parts with metal, etc.

            I have fallen in love with using bias instead of that nasty facing which is a pain to cut out, interface, make it look 'pretty', attach it to the garments, hope it doesn't roll out, etc. My only problem with the bias binding, and I think it is due to my dyslexia, and that it the fastening the two ends together and not make an ugly lump. But I'm working on it! so much easier to do the bias binding than the time it takes for the other and when I am sewing I need to save all the time I can. Cutting the bias isn't a problem for me as I quilt so I have the long rulers and rotary cutters so that is a snap. I usually use a fold down the middle, sew the raw edges to the raw edges of the garment and wrap the binding around and sew it down.

          11. sewelegant | | #32

            I never liked the ugly bump you get when butting the ends of the bias binding at the joining, nor do I like the method of just easing it off the edge.  It may take a few times doing it to get the "knack" but it is pretty easy to leave about 2 inches of binding free at the beginning, sew around until you are about 4 inches or so from the end.  Take it out of the machine and cut the thread at this point.  Now, continue pinning the binding to the edge and when you get to the point where it meets the beginning, fold the binding down so you have a slant looking edge. (45 degree angle) Fold the binding, where you started, up in the opposite 45 degree angle.  (Just like when you sew two strips together with a bias seam).  I use a marker or chalk to mark these two lines as this is the seamline for joining the two ends in a bias seam just like all the other bias strip joinings.  Take out the pins and sew your binding together at the marked spot with the two ends at right angles just as usual.  This is the only tricky part because if I don't think it through, here is where the dyslexia may kick in and I will sew it wrong!  But, it's easy to take out the stitching and redo it the right way so don't take any backstitches or make knots.  You can now trim the seam and you will have just the right amount of binding to complete the job and no one will ever know where you started or ended.

            Note:  It may be easier to make the joining if you pin baste both ends away from the permanent stitching before making the mitered markings.  It allows you to get it under the needle easier.  When I re-read my instructions I do not feel they are very clear, but if you do this you will find it is not hard to figure it out. 

            Edited 10/6/2009 4:19 pm by sewelegant

          12. gailete | | #33

            Thank you I will try that the next time. So glad someone understand the dilemma of dyslexia and the fun of R>L, wrong>right sides, etc.

          13. gailete | | #37

            I was at my library's book sale this week and found a Singer sewing book that has a picture of how to join the ends of the bias binding! Between your instructions and the picture, hopefully my next bias binding won't have that nasty bump. Thanks a lot. I'm sure I already had a book somewhere that shows this same type picture, but which of my several hundred sewing books would it be in??LOL Like did I really NEED more sewing and crafting books? Nope but they are so much fun to look at and get ideas from and they were cheap and it supports the library and what other excuse do I need? :)

          14. Ceeayche | | #38


            Regarding "needing new craft books" I am in the process of unpacking my craft/sewing books.  I'm embarassed to admit the three shelve book case I purchased for sewing room is woefully inadequate.  And now I'm assembling another one to get the rest of them out of boxes.  Of course the process is hampered....  as I unpack them it's like rediscovering them all over again, so I have to browse my old friends!


          15. sewelegant | | #40

            You are so right about our sewing related books being old friends.  I have tried weeding them out several different times and the ones I have let go always come back to mind when I am searching for information.  I had a Bishop sewing method book from the 1950's that I never looked at anymore but shortly after tossing it there was a huge discussion in Gatherings about that method and, of course, my book was gone so I couldn't go see what was being talked about.  All I knew was that it went back to my old Home Ec ruffled apron project and a stuffy approach to sewing that I couldn't be bothered with.  (Kind of like wanting to learn to play the piano with pop tunes instead of the classics, I suppose.)


          16. Ceeayche | | #41

            I'm a heading up there to spend some time with my friends... taking a glass of milk and some Oreo cookies with me!  Usually don't eat in the studio, but this is an exception cause I'm not going to sew. 

            .... if I can turn this site loose!

            okay... I KNOW these cookies won't help me drop any weight.  I'm going to have them ANY how.  That was to my conscience.

            Edited 10/24/2009 9:52 pm ET by CHL

          17. gailete | | #42

            I found one of the Bishops books this summer at a sale. It is terrific!

          18. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #43

            That is wonderful news, Gail. I find the 1958 version I own to be an invaluable resource. I find it covers a lot of the prepwork in depth, with excellent instructions on how to do things like underlining, and lining. It has an exactness to instructions that in more modern instructions, seems to be lacking. It is easy to read, and I loved the finishing embellishments in mine. Cathy

          19. marymary | | #44

            I have been making fabric beads from ties.  I am still at the experimental stage, but the amount of fabric in a tie is perfect.  I have experimented with different glues and find that some change the color of the fabric even if they do dry clear.  So far, I have only used silk ties, but have also used some quilting cotton.

            If you haven't seen fabric beads, do a search, or look up "Kristal Wick".  She has written a book that makes you want to make fabric beads.  I am waiting for my book to arrive.  I did check it out of the library first.  These are not the tied beads of a few years ago. 

          20. sewelegant | | #39

            I'm glad you found a book with pictures!  I think you will be surprised how easy this is to do once you have done it and figured out it just looks hard.  You said you like to bind the neck edge on many garments so I know you will be pleased.

          21. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #25

            My friend sewed bridesmaid and wedding dresses professionally for several years. Her TOL Bernina was put through it's paces, and required emergency repair in the middle of one order. The Repair Guru kept asking her if she was using her machine for sewing for profit, due to the amount of wear on the machine. It would annul any warranty on the machine if she did. Using her HOME SEWING MACHINE for BUSINESS USE cancels the warranty. It is use above and beyond what is considered normal home use.
            Machines like these are supposed to be used by the home crafter for occasional use only. If you sell your product, you have to be careful, as you may automatically void your warranty. Cathy

          22. KharminJ | | #26

            Thanks, Cathy ~ I guess I *knew* that, but I generally react badly to "Thou shalt not..." ~ especially from corporations! Sigh. Kharmin

          23. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #28

            It basically comes down to the durability factor. Industrial use machines are meant for heavy duty use, and the moving parts are meant for longterm, high speed, daily use. Home machines are not designed for the same high use. Some home sewers do use their machines that much! Those are the people who really should look at industrial machines to meet their needs. You really have to look at the cost of the machine based on the amount of use you intend to put into it.
            The way I look at it, if you make your living driving a car all day, you are not going to be happy or comfortable driving around in a basic economy model car. Sewing is the same way. Your tool should be the one that fits your needs. Cathy

          24. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #27

            I'm supposing that would be why *industrial* machines are so much more expensive. Makes sense to me. It keeps the cost of machines designed for home sewers in a range that is more affordable for most of us.

          25. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #29

            Exactly. The parts are made from heavy duty metal, very expensive to make. Home machines often have lighter weight parts, sometimes from nylon, or lightweight metal. This makes them easier to transport as well. Home machines tend to be multifunctional as well. We have to sacrifice something somewhere. Cathy

          26. lou19 | | #31

            thanks for link to video, but I have 3 sizes of clover tape makers which you use with your own iron. They work great and very cheap to buy ....I use mine all the time


  2. stillsuesew | | #3

    Take them apart carefully and remove the interfacing. Press them flat. You will be suprised how much fabric you have in them. I have seen clever skirts with ties sewn side by side with an elastic waist - makes a cute flare skirt. They could be cut up into patchwork. They would make great little purses.

    1. Malindi | | #4

      Once you have taken the ties apart and probably had them cleaned (especially in the knot area) and pressed, they are perfect cut with a roller for a narrow bias trim.

  3. Teaf5 | | #5

    There are thousands of things to make from discarded neckties!  No matter what you make with them, be sure to pre-launder or clean them beforehand in the way you will launder or clean the new item.

    If you plan to wash the rag rugs, wash the neckties first, checking to see which ones bleed and which don't.  The polyester ones from the 1980s and 90s are the toughest, though most nice ties even at that were made of silk.  On a rug, you don't want to use the ones that bleed because they can stain the floor you want to protect. 

    A lot of silk ties wash up well, but sometimes the jaquard ones shrink unevenly, and many of the red dyes bleed.

    I prewashed a bunch of like colors together, then tumble dried and laid them flat.  If you have a lot, grouping in like colors or patterns helps when you find an inspiration to create from them. 

    Some ideas include woven vests, multi-gored skirts, bias piping or binding, embellishments, patchwork bags, pillows, throws, fabric origami, scrapbooking, decoupage...anything that needs a bit of pizzazz!

  4. MDNB | | #6

    I've made some fun little quilts with old ties. I love the gored skirt idea I will try that one.

  5. miatamomma | | #7

    My DD made a skirt from her father's ties.  She used the pointed ends as the hem.  DGD (she is 16) made a shoulder bag from ties, even using ties for the strap.  Real cute (for her, not me).



  6. krichmond | | #8

    Have you checked out etsy.com?  Type 'glamarita' in the search space and you will see the work of a designer/restyler who reworks neckties into some pretty interesting clothes - not quite my taste, but inspiring nonetheless.


    1. kswolff | | #9

      Holy Cow! I just went to Etsy.com and looked up glamarita. Not only are the pieces beautiful, I'm now trying to figure out how to make that blue strapless number. The bodice at least has to be stabilized to keep the bias cut fabric vertical but then the skirt section has that swirl like the skirt pattern most of us still have from the 70's. I wonder if maybe the entire garment is underlined. Then the ties would be steamed to match the shape of the underlining fabric pieces cut on the straight grain, basted together and then sewn together. That way the stress and weight of the finished dress would be handled by the underlining, and not the delicate tie fabric. I would also make the dress with a built-in boned support. If someone else has another idea about the construction, I'm open to other options. Oh, and I might need some more ties - heheheheKirsten

      1. regatta | | #10

        Someone,  at a quilting group that I went to years ago,  made a vest out of ties sewn onto a foundation pattern using the sew and flip method and then lined it.

        If I remember correctly she trimmed each tie to fit the pattern.  Hope this is helpful.


  7. marymary | | #11

    There was a dress on Burda Style that was made from ties and the bodice was gathered ties.  I have tried to find a link to it, but can no longer find it.  Did anyone else see this?  It was very pretty and elegant.

    1. diday | | #34

      Dress with bodice made of neckties on Burda Style:Necktie Feathers Pressing Tutorial
      http://www.burdastyle.com/techniques/necktie-feathers-pressing-tutorialClick on thumbnails for close-ups, including one for the bodice.Here's another interesting source:Necktie Dress by Post Decadent Trashionista

      1. gailete | | #35

        WOW! Thanks for those links. Some terrific ideas for using old ties! Now nobody's tie is safe from me!

        1. Ceeayche | | #36

          Hi Gailete,

          I've been off a couple of weeks.  I seem to recall this question asked here in Gatherings several months ago--probably last year.

  8. jessegomes | | #45

    Got one solution for your neck ties!

    Best of luck for your search Janet, I made shreds of my old satin neck ties and made flower pins out of it.  I googled few new neck ties and other accessories for my mens shirt. I found that there are online stores that offer high quality products which guarrantee low price rates! I doubt you would find any retail stores that offer such deals for neck ties and other accessories to put on a mens shirt these days. cheers !! Jesse

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