Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Friday, March 20, 2009

DIY: Making Your Own Tie

Reader Question: I think I remember you saying you made your husband's tie for the ceremony. Can you tell me how you did this? I would LOVE to make the ties for my honey and the other guys in the ceremony, but I am a beginner sewer who needs some instruction. Did you follow a pattern? Also, I read you made napkins from sheets! Was this just a project that you came up with yourself or were you following a pattern or instructions somehow? Anything to help jump from "I want to do this" to "I can do this"?

I love that DIYing and crafting and sewing are becoming increasingly popular. I think the move toward the mechanized outsourcing of our products has hurt us in so many ways. Oh, I better not digress on that tirade right now!

But I will say: Good for you! Yes! You can sew! Google will be your friend.

I had never made a tie before I decided to make one for the wedding. I thought it would be more meaningful and memorable (I used the same fabric that I made my dress sash from--fabric that I bought while traveling through India right after I met Matt). I also knew it would be less expensive and more eco-friendly. What a great combination!

You can read about my experience here: http://2000dollarwedding.com/2008/04/quasi-real-tie.html

In the meantime, I will say that I recently made another tie for my friend's birthday present. He collects ties, and he's been wanting a Teach For America tie for a long time. To my knowledge, such things do not exist, so I decided to make one for him out of an old canvas bag with the TFA logo on it.

It was even easier the second time around. I just used a seam ripper to carefully pull apart one of Matt's old ties. I ironed the old tie until the fabric was as flat as possible. I then laid the fabric on top of my new fabric, pinned it down, and cut it out. I then worked on the ends of the tie (following the pattern of the old tie). Finally, I folded the new fabric around the old wool from the previous tie, pinned it, and started sewing it by hand. The trick is to pay attention to how the old tie was constructed as you pull it apart.

As far as napkins go, I had to make 80 of them for the wedding, so I didn't actually sew them (although I originally planned to). Instead, I just cut them out using pinking shears to prevent them from fraying.

For my recent Retro Prom birthday party, I did sew 15 of them. It felt like it took forever! I used the directions that I mention in this post.

In general, I find that crafting is 80% confidence/determination and 20% researching skills. There are so many wonderful tutorials and directions out there. Have fun with it!

Send your questions to saracotner@yahoo.com

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Ashley Whiteside said...

i am so impressed that you tried this, er, DID this. it's one project idea that intimidates the mess out of me, but i can see that you have straight-up mastered it.

awesome, sara. just awesome.

Ms Bear Cub said...

I'd love to sew the table runners / linens / napkins for our laid-back wedding, but the last time I sewed from a pattern was middle school. Is this a ridiculous endeavor? Should I just find napkins, et al, on ebay or something?

Kate Wells said...

I'm sewing the napkins for our wedding. It's not hard, just time consuming. Renting napkins was going to be $.50 each and I liked the idea of having them to reuse later on. In order to be frugal though, I've only bought fabric on sale or at thrift shops.

Here's some tips:
1. Cut them at 18"x18" if you're planning a folded hem otherwise they end up too small.
2. You can generally get about 4 napkins from a yard of fabric. That means anytime I get fabric it has to be $2 or less a yard (hence thrift stores).
3. You can get about 12-14 napkins from a $3 sheet from a sheet at a thrift store. Very cost effective.
4. A mis-matched look goes well with our picnic wedding theme and so having all different fabrics in the same general color palette is fine for me. But if you want everything coordinated, it may not be cost effective for you to try this as you'd have to buy a lot of material in bulk.
5. If you have a sewing machine that will do a rolled hem, it would be a lot easier than folded hems. This is something I wish I realized before I'd sewn over half of them already.

Jill Griffiths said...

I'm also making my own napkins (150 of them!) for most of same reasons Kate listed above. And she's right, it's easy but time consuming. Here's how I'm doing mine:

1. Cut 17" squares. (I ripped 17" strips down the length of the fabric, then cut the squares, it went fast) Make sure to keep the fabric square.
2. Mark 1/2" inside the edge on all sides.
3. On all 4 sides, fold the raw edge in 1/4" (so the raw edge meets the 1/2" mark), iron, then fold over again another 1/4" and iron, so there are no raw edges.
4. Sew all around the 4 edges.

I hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

great post! when i sewed my first quilt (a bday present for my fiance...who ended up proposing for that same bday!) Google was my best friend. Google, and the little old ladies at the local quilt shop.

Pretty much, if you can sew a straight line, you can sew anything. You might try a no fray spray, and that way you can spray the edges and just fold the hem over once to sew. Or you can even get new-sew iron-on adhesive strips. There are all kinda of tricks. But creating stuff gives you a sense of pride at the fial product.

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