Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Thanksgiving Tie

Eric, my soon to be ex-cousin-in-law, was invited by my grandfather to the Thanksgiving shindig at his assisted living facility, Avita (read: hotel-like elegance).  With this older crowd - my grandfather is 91 - these things tend to be more formal.  As Eric was in management in another life, he has a wide array of ties, but none that were fall-themed.  Unfortunately, a trip to Wichita revealed that none of his usual tie-wear apparel shops were going to be of any assistance.  They had Halloween ties.  They had Christmas ties.  But nothing for Autumn.

Eric related his tale of woe to me as he returned  from Wichita to Newton and I was driving back from a work-related jaunt in Western Kansas.  I told him, "You need to go to Charlotte's.  That quilt store will have a nice variety of Autumn fabric.  I can make you a tie."  (I'd never made a tie in my life.)

As luck would have it, I would drive through Newton on my way back to Wichita, and we would arrive about the same time.  We agreed to meet at Charlottes.  

Charlotte's is a fabulous store!  Any time I am in Newton, I try to make time to stop in.  And as predicted, the shop had a lovely array of Fall fabrics.  It quickly became apparent that the question wasn't IF there would be an appropriate fabric, but which one to choose.  

As we were both pressed for time, Eric quickly made his selection, paid for the 3/4 yards of the Hoffman (yeah, he has good taste), handed it to me, and we hurried off - me hoping that I wasn't blowing smoke about being able to make a tie.

My first step in the project was to take apart a tie I had to use for a pattern.  We had bought some interfacing, but inside the original tie, I found a rather substantial thickness of..., I hesitate to use the word fabric, because it is far too thick for that.  (If anyone knows what this is called, please let me know.)  In any case, I decided my tie-making life would be much easier if I used it inside the new tie.  It was already cut to the right size and length.  Plus, I rather liked the weight of it.

As usual, Max helped.  Eric said Max was imbuing the tie with kitty magic.

Eventually, we arrived at this:

After sewing the three lengths together, putting in the linings at either end (in the original tie, the linings were made from a different fabric than the outside of the tie, but I chose to do the simplest thing and use the same fabric), and pressing in the raw edges, I laid in the thickness that would give the tie its shape and weight.

After that, it was just a matter of hand-stitching it closed.

Oh, and I learned something very valuable for any future tie-making endeavors I might have.  The tag I took off the back of original tie that I thought was well, just a tag?  No, it has a dual purpose.  It is used to tuck in the skinny end of the tie, so it all hangs nicely.  After Eric and I both laughed at my lack of tie knowledge, I hurriedly sewed it on, so he could be perfectly attired for the Thanksgiving shindig with my Grandpa.

If you want to read Eric's version of events, go here.


  1. I'm blown away by the gorgeous tie, and the fact that you made it using the other tie as a pattern and on such short notice. It really is amazing. Grandpa Bill is looking well and happy, and Eric too!

  2. Well arent you a clever clogs!


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