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Silk Tie Quilt

Way to Use Men's Old Ties

By Linda Mann Camp

Silk Tie Quilt

Quilt Made by Using Men's Silk Ties

Ever wonder what to do with your husband’s out of fashion or spotted silk ties? Besides giving them to a charity or saving them until they are collectibles, that is. Here are several ideas for you to consider that are elegant and very eye catching.

Make a quilt, lap rug, or throw:

Make a quilt using either a crazy patch pattern, log cabin derivative, or other flip and fold pattern. A foundation pieced quilt pattern is almost a requirement. Silk is very slippery and does not crease sharply. Using a foundation pattern will keep your seams straight and in square. When choosing a pattern, be sure to check the measurements of the required pieces, because the ties are not very wide. A crazy patch pattern is the easiest to use because you can mix and match the tie patterns regardless of design direction, pattern or color. The quilt I am designing now will be a medley of crazy patch designs.

A problem with using tie fabric is that it is cut on the bias. This translates into LOTS of stretching. I made a small lap quilt from the ties and did not realize until time came to bind it that the outer edges were stretched so much they looked fluted. Even using a basting thread to shift and flatten the flutes could not correct the problem.

First, collect your materials: from friends, relatives, club members, office associates, thrift stores and garage sales. Perhaps you can quietly remove that tie you do not like from your husband’s closet. I collected over 300 ties for a king sized project. Ties that are donated from people you know have such greater meaning. I stitched the names of the donors on the fat ends of the ties and used them for a border. The border resembles flying geese but each tie tip (4” wide and 4” from tip to other side, plus ¼” seam allowance on three sides) is attached to another piece of silk (4 ½” square) along its straight edge, then only the tip end is tacked down. When collecting your materials, try to accumulate ties made from the same types and weights of fabric. A more uniform quilt surface is the result.

Decide on the size of your quilt, the pattern, and whether or not you plan to use a solid silk fabric for a counter point in your design. I modified a log cabin design to fit the maximum width available from the tie shape. The squares are 7.75” finished size. There are 3 courses of 1” logs with a 2” center square. Be sure to add ¼” seam allowance around each silk piece when you cut them out. My squares were divided on the diagonal with tie pieces on two sides and white silk, my opposing color, on the other two sides.

Purchase enough light to medium weight muslin to use as your foundation. Cut into the desired size of your blocks, being sure to add for your outer seam width. Usually this is ¼ inch. The use of a light box for drawing your pattern on the muslin is helpful. But a glass topped table with a lamp underneath will work just as well. You can use any marking method you choose—but pay attention to the backing silk fabric you have chosen to make sure the foundation lines are not visible. I chose black silk for the backing. A fabric pencil is very good for making fine lines to stitch on top of.

Strip out all of the ties lining material and press the remaining silk flat. Now you know how much of each fabric pattern is available for use. If each tie is a different pattern, try grouping them according to color family and then decide how to use them in your design. Since this log cabin pattern is flip and fold, we can ignore the fabric’s straight of grain and cut the strips any way we want to. The use of an opposing solid color silk helps to define the design. Make sure it is strong enough to overcome the confusion of colors and patterns in the ties.

New Photos of the Silk Tie Quilt
Original Story on Silk Tie Quilt
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