Neckties are perfect for weaving chairs. Find yourself an old rush seat chair or stool. They're easy to find, once the seat gives out, no one wants them. If you have a chair with a not-too-bad seat, you can weave right over it. Add a cushion if you like. I'll show you how. Oh, where to find ties? Men's closets. Just put the word out. They all have way too many and would love an excuse to get rid of some. What grandchild wouldn't love a chair woven from Papa's ties? What guy wouldn't love a stool made from his corporate neckties? Put those feet up!
Step 1: Supplies
You will need:
scissors, rotary cutter, self-healing cutting pad. Just scissors will do, the rotary cutter speeds things up
trigger release clamp
sewing machine--any color thread, you'll only be sewing short, straight lines
hammer or staple gun to attach the first and last ties
hoof pick--see above, the bent screwdriver thingie,
this isn't crucial but it makes it easier to tighten the weave and tuck in edges
silk or polyester neckties (not cotton or wool):
2 dozen per stool
4 dozen per chair, 6 dozen if you're also doing the back
Step 2: Prepping the Ties.
Lay out on board. Cut off the tips at 1-2" long. Save them to make a tie-tip tuffet.
Cut off the fat end of the tie. Save for tie-dyed Easter egg craft. Make the cut just before the tie flares out.
You should have a strap 2 feet or so long. They don't all have to be the same but try to get the two ends to be around the same width. This makes less edges to tuck in at the end.
Wash the straps you've cut. DO NOT use water--it will ruin them. I use Dryel home dry cleaner. You can make your own too (1 c warm water, 1t borax, 1t oxyclean--dip cloth, squeeze out, toss in dryel bag with ties). Pop in dryer on medium for 20 minutes.
Line the straps up on a rack. Aren't they beautiful?
Step 3: Design
Time to play. do you want all stripes? Dark colors? Brights? Remember those potholders you used to make in 3rd grade? Try some of those patterns. So many possibilities. Don't worry tho', it is impossible to make an ugly necktie chair.
No matter how hideous the ties are.
Step 4: Starting
Hammer or staple the first tie to the underside of the seat, at the back. You want the tie to fold over the top as if it was always there. The rest of the ties will be sewn to this one into a loooong strap, one or two at a time.
If you want, you can put a piece of foam pipe insulation on the front rung of the chair. Makes it cushy.
Step 5: Piecing the Straps
Now for the fun part. Sew the next strap to the piece you stapled to the frame. You have to have your sewing machine close by so you can keep adding straps as you go. Set tie straps at a 90 degree angle then SEW at a 45 degree angle across the straps. See in the second picture? Sew back and forth 2 or 3 times. Then clip off the little triangle and voila! A longer piece. Note: the FRONT sides of the ties are sewn together. I can't tell you how many times I've had to re-sew...
Step 6: Weaving
Finally. First, wrap the straps around the frame, all the way around in one direction. Make it tight. A clamp can help hold the ties in place while you're sewing more on. When you get to the corner, change direction.
If you're adding a pillow, slip it under the straps when you're half way across the first time.
Now it's an over/under weave. The weave continues on the underside. Try not to leave any seams along the frame. They make a bump. You can cut a piece short to leave the seam underneath or in the middle of the seat.
Use your hoof pick to tighten the weave. You can tell how tight it is by pressing down on the seat. Tuck in any visible threads or seam bumps with the hoof pick.
Step 7: Dadaah!
Staple the last tie to the frame and cover over the staple with the other ties.
This chair has a checkerboard pattern, alternating golds and blues. You can't ever get an exact pattern with neckties unless you use all solid colors but I like this effect. The bear was made by a friend. I did his tie.
(If you like my project, please vote for me, thanks!)
Step 8: Enjoy!
You've rescued a chair, or stool or rocker. You've kept a couple of dozen ties out of the landfill. You've made an heirloom for the generations. So have a seat and relax. Good work!