Friday, October 19, 2012

Sewing For A Friend - Purl Bee Necktie

This was a two in one project. Not only was I able to give a friend a gift that I think he will appreciate and  use I was also able to make something I have never tried before.

I made my first menswear necktie. I used this free pattern and tutorial on the Purl Bee blog. However, what's really special about this project is that I used a unique batik-like print fabric that I actually acquired from the gift recipient himself. From the first time I spied this fabric I knew I had to make something special out of it, however, originally I was thinking that something would be for me.

Two years ago, this friend temporarily moved cross-country to take care of his ailing parents. After almost a year and only a few months apart he lost both parents. As he went through his parent's 40+ years of belongings he had to decide what to sell, take with him, put in storage, or give away. I became the recipient of his mother's sewing notions and fabrics. He wanted to give them to someone who would make use of them. Last year, I used one piece to make a summer top that I wear frequently. Then I saw the Purl Bee post using all of the lovely Liberty prints and I knew what I had to make and for whom.

The tutorial was simple and I had more than enough fabric. The only thing that stumped me was what to use as tie interfacing. From looking on the Internet, it seems it's not an easy thing to find for the home-sewer. I was going to use muslin or linen scraps when I remembered I already had vintage ties people had given me and took out my trusty seam ripper and voila! After a good soapy soak and drying session I had the exact type of interfacing I needed for this tie.

Can you see my almost-hidden signature?
Though the construction of the tie was no problem, I slowed myself down when it came time to finish. In the past, I've never placed labels on my handmade gifts. However, since this item was very special, I wanted it to be marked that it came from me. I am not skilled in freehand embroidery and my first tries were awful. I finally stuck to it and placed my initials discretely on the back of the tie (see above), in a color chosen so that they are nearly invisible. I also added his monogram on a strip of matching grosgrain ribbon; however, I don't know if it is in the correct position to be used as a keeper.

Note: I think there may be some mistakes in the instructions. The original May 21, 2009 post was updated in April 7, 2011 with a new pattern download and included some images and instructions from an earlier tutorial for a child version. I'm tempted to believe that some of the instructions might have been transferred over without size adjustments. According to the adult tie project the finished tie should be 3" at its widest point. Mine only fit those measurements when I folded in the sides once instead of  twice as instructed. Also some comments have mentioned that the finished tie will be shorter than the average store-bought tie. I will cross my fingers and hope that it doesn't look ridiculous on.

The ribbon actually matches in real life.

Looking around the web this tutorial was also recommended : David Hober custom made tie tutorial. I think I will try that one next. Hopefully, I have some more of his mother's fabric suitable for a man's tie if this one is too small.

Images: My own photos


K.Line said...

What a beautiful gift. And I had to look HARD to see your initials :-)

Gail said...

Such a thoughtful gift, and it turned out so beautifully. I'll be checking out the new tutorial too. Thanks for the link!