When Colette Patterns recently released a free pattern for A Gentleman’s Necktie, I was really interested. Making a tie didn’t look so hard… Surely I couldn’t foul this one up! Oobop made a fantastic version for a friend’s son. (To see the awe-inspiring prom dress she made to go with the tie I strongly recommend a visit here.)
This is a downloadable pattern. It took me 15 minutes to tape the pages together – not bad. I then traced the templates onto Swedish tracing paper.
Next up, choosing fabric. Not as straightforward as it sounds. I stood in front of my stash pile and really struggled to find something suitable. A lot of wools were too heavy, silks too drapey, prints wrong, textures bad. Ooh, you need just the right fabric for a tie! In the end, I chose a navy lightweight wool and a gender-neutral printed silk for the lining. As I started making my tie, I tried not to worry that I was basically reproducing the school tie I’d burnt years ago. Hey, not that many years ago – cheeky! Okay, a serious number of years ago.
Cutting out my pattern pieces was simple enough. Sewing the pointy points also known as ‘tails’ less so. My work was… What’s the word I’m looking for? Atrocious!
Still, I powered on through. I’m stubborn like that. I inserted my interlining piece and pinned the back together.
All I had left to do was slip stitch the back closed. If you’re going to hand sew something, I really recommend beeswax to stop your thread from knotting and to strengthen the thread.
Then I took my work out into the sunshine and sat, happily slip stitching as Ella happily destroyed my garden.
Job finally done! In the end, I didn’t think my tie looked bad at all. I mean, I wouldn’t thrust it on someone to wear for a job interview, but it wasn’t too shabby.
Here are the lessons I learnt:
• Choose your fabric carefully. You want something lightweight yet stable.
• Accept that your first tie is going to be a practice go. You’ll want to get your technique down pat, so buy enough fabric to make two ties.
• Try not to mess around with the tie too much during construction. Every piece is cut on the bias, and bias cut fabric can stretch.
• Have a press cloth to hand so that you protect your tie when pressing with an iron. (A press cloth can be something as simple as a clean tea towel or as luxe as a square of silk organza.)
Have you ever made a tie? Would you?