Silk necktie trimming.

Silk necktie trimming.

There is often an abundance of silk neck ties in thrift stores. Here is how to use the beautiful, colourful and decorative ties for trimmings on your dresses.

We buy too much and waste too much in the western world. That means we could easily re-use a lot of the things we already have or things that other people let go of.

On the other hand I don’t always feel like just re-using things as they are, I love being creative and add my personal touch to especially my clothes. Also I’m tall and it’s not often I find recycled clothes that are big enough to alter into a new garment that will fit me and my hight. So if I want to upcycle clothes I have to be very creative in the ways that I do it. I don’t just want to patch old things together and then look like a clown. I still want to keep my own style and try to make the clothes I make look sophisticated, elegant and feminine. When I’m scavenging the thrift stores in my local area I’m always on the look out for interesting things I can use for my sewing projects. One day my eye caught some old silk neck ties, and I fell in love with the colours, patterns and the fact that they were silk.

I started collecting silk ties thinking I could use them for something new. It turned out to be a lot harder than I thought to collect enough ties to make a colour-coordinated skirt or dress. Instead I began to think of other ways to use them. As the ties are cut on the bias you can of course always use them for beautiful and colourful bias binding.

I wanted to elaborate a bit on how to use the ties so I ‘ve made four dresses where I’ve used silk neck ties as different sorts of trimming. I start by machine washing the ties on a wool cycle, and if it turns out they can not be washed I throw them out. I don’t want to use dirty ties and some of them are stained. check for stains before you buy, they can be hard to spot. Next I cut them up and take out the padding stuff in the middle and iron them. Then they are ready to use. Some of the ties are super thin and I always interface them no matter what I use them for.

Trim down the front of a wool dress.

The first dress I made is a wool blend Burdastyle 6833 (above) and I pretty much just sewed on the tie down the middle. For this dress you can use thinner interfaced ties. I was a bit scared that it would end up looking too much as if I just stuck the tie on, but I actually like how it looks and I have worn the dress a lot, and not one person so far has said ‘oh, so you stuck on a tie’. I have only had comments on how lovely my dress is:-) I find it difficult to be objective to whether things work or not when you have done them yourself and know all of the history behind the scenes.

Silk tie for cuffs and collar stand trim.

The next dress I made is a brown wool dress of my own pattern. I used a rather thick tie that I had interfaced to make the cuffs and the collar stand, but I barely managed to get it out of one tie, but did succeed by making the cuffs a bit narrower than I ordinarily would have. I would have loved to do a collar as well, but did not manage to find at perfect tie to match. But the dress also works fine without a collar.

Statement collar out of one tie.

The third dress is my favourite. It’s a green wool blend dress and it is a burda magazine pattern 03/2016 mod. 125. I used one tie for the collar, and two different ties for some panels on the back of the dress. I forgot to interface the panels that I sewed onto the dress fabric, and it shows, so it really ought me the lesson. Interface the ties especially if they are made form thin silk even if they are sewn on to another fabric.

Three silk ties combined as decorative front of a wool skirt.

The fourth model is a skirt of my own design. I scraped together three ties with the same sort of colouring and used them as decorative front panels of the skirt . I you can manage to find more ties, this could easily have more panels, and turn it into an even more stunnign piece of clothing.

On a final note, most of my accessories are either thrifted or handmade.

Have fun playing with neck ties, Tina.



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