While cleaning up some old digital file folders I came across this Quilt Inspiration post of quilts made with men’s ties and silk tie fabrics. Here’s a hand pieced tumbling blocks stunner from that post. It’s called Universal Ties, and is by Nancy Ota.
I’ve made two quilts with old ties and can attest to the need for special handling of the fabrics. I picked apart the ties I had and fused the silk to interfacing made for knits. The resulting fabric is stable to work with but bulky. I pressed my seams open to reduce bulk.
Here are my efforts.
Tie Sticks is based on the simple chinese coin pattern. I was pleased to have found a use for the skinny ends of the ties. The legs at the bottom belong to my son, and aren’t part of the quilt.
Taffeta Ties is old, circa 2006. In a burst of hubris I decided to make a quilt with old silk ties and synthetic taffeta and satin.
As I recall, I treated all the raw seam edges with Fray Chek to stop the raveling. That added difficulty to stitching in the ditch. Then I used variegated 30 weight quilting thread in contrasting colors to stitch a simplified cable pattern.
I spray basted a plaid backing fabric onto the rest of the quilt sandwich as I was worried that pins would cause pulls in the taffeta fabric. Because I wanted to be careful about fumes, I did my spraying while the layers were draped over the hood of my car in the garage. (Outside was covered with snow.) Let me tell you, that plaid was not a good choice. I didn’t position it on the batting straight and didn’t notice that until I had done the quilting.
As for the quilting, I didn’t yet understand about knotting and burying your thread ends. A gentle breeze will cause some of the quilting to come out.
I think Taffeta Ties is a sterling example of what not to do when making a quilt – the fabric and thread choices, the quilting used, and the basting method. It has a hanging sleeve, so at some point I actually displayed it.
11 responses to “Old Ties”
I’ve been tempted to do a small quilt with my husband’s tie silks. I don’t think I could do all the prep work involved (hence the small quilt).Thank you for the beautiful inspiration, the glow and the great hints.
You’re welcome. I haven’t studied it, but the book “Necktie Quilts Reinvented” by Christine Copenhaver looks like it has some good advice for working with ties. One cool small quilt I saw wove the ties together and then sewed them that way. I don’t know if it had batting and backing, but maybe you could stuff the individual ties.
Your quilts have great composition and design. Sounds like they were good learning lessons. I wonder if you have ever tried Terial Magic for stabilizing soft and flimsy fabrics. I use it on cotton with great results. I have been featured on the TM blog and may be in the future BUT I’m not profiting from mentioning it, I just really like the product.
I just looked up information on that product. I have two concerns: the video I watched had you wring the fabric. Some of the fabrics I use would get too distorted with wringing. My other concern is washability. I gather the product washes out. Sometimes I wash my finished pieces. Will washing out the TM adversely affect the look of the final product.
Good points and questions. I would have to try it on specific fabrics to really know how they would behave. I have sprayed fabric without wringing it out (just drip dry to damp). The fabrics have to tolerate ironing. The spray washes out and my experience is that the fabric (cotton anyway), once dry, is just as it was before spraying. I think it is recommended that it be used on natural fibers. I’ll have to search around to read what others have experienced or get some fabrics and test.
I think your taffeta ties quilt is great looking–although I do understand the frustrations you had, it really is pretty. And you learned so much so that’s a success, too! I love that Quilt Inspiration quilt, too–with all those color and value variations, it’s right up my alley (but SO much more sophisticated than anything I could envision!)
Thanks for your kind words. Over the weekend I saw yet another use for old ties – as a flirty ruffle at a skirt bottom. And I think your quilts had lots of great color/value variations.
“I think Taffeta Ties is a sterling example of what not to do when making a quilt – the fabric and thread choices, the quilting used, and the basting method.” Really??? I think it is striking. Now, if you mean from a logistics standpoint, I believe you. But the end product, from my view, was worth it!
I now wish I had used real silk – Silk Radiance would have been smashing – but I didn’t know at the time.
I’ll guess you aren’t planning to redo it.
You’re right, I don’t think I’ve ever made the same quilt twice even when I use patterns. My comment about using silk instead of synthetic fabric reflects what I’ve been learning about how well fabrics hold up over time. Also, it would have been pleasanter to work with than the stiff taffeta.