I like the way neckties are perfect for a dress or skirt. The shape lends itself to a flare if several are sewn together. Most ties are made from silky type fabrics, some in very pretty designs and colors. I asked friends to donate neckties they no longer wanted, I also found several at my local thrift shop. It took me awhile to get 30 ties, but I managed to get some really interesting ones! Some of the ties I got were the clip on kind. At first, I thought I wouldn't be able to use these, because I needed a 30" length for the skirt section of the dress. But I decided to take them apart and incorporate them into the patchwork bodice. I have seen a shorter version of this and also an ankle length necktie dress. I entered this in the local Recycle Art Show and won a first place ribbon! I spent about $10 total on the dress, you may have to spend more if you have to purchase the ties for about $1 each at thrift shops.
Step 1: Supplies Needed
I used about 30 neckties, 5 or 6 mens white dress shirts for the bottom ruffle, an old white cotton dress for the underskirt, a 22" zipper, sewing machine, thread, embroidery floss (optional) an iron, scissors, seam ripper and straight pins. I found an old pattern at the thrift shop for the top portion of the dress.
Step 2: Take Apart Ties
Neckties are cut on the bias which can make them a little difficult to sew. Using a seam ripper, take out the stitching on the back of the ties. Remove the stiffener and iron the ties.where the tie is folded, leave 1/2" on each side of this and cut, this is for the seam allowance.
Step 3: Skirt Section
Decide how long you want the skirt section to be. My skirt was 30" long plus the ruffle. Lay out your ties and to arrange them so that the colors are evenly distributed. Also alternate light and dark or stripes and prints. Figure out where the front middle will be and work your way to the back. You don't want 2 blue ties next to each other, etc...Begin by sewing from the bottom up.
Step 4: Bodice Section
I found a pattern at the thrift shop for a strapless dress and just used the top pieces. After I cut the wide bottom pieces of the ties for the skirt, I used the narrow pieces that were left to cut up into small pieces for the crazy quilt bodice. I cut several small pieces together and sewed the strip to a foundation. I then added another strip, placing it right side down over the first row, stitching that down. I then folded the second row over and pressed it. Pinned it down and kept adding rows until the front section of the bodice was covered. I cut the excess fabric off and sewed all around the edge, securing the patchwork to the foundation. I repeated this with the other sections of the bodice. Cut lining out of white cotton shirts.
Step 5: Embroidery
I did a crazy quilt stitch around each piece before I sewed the sections together. This step is optional, I just think it adds a bit of character.
Step 6: Waistband
I used a dark grey tie for the waistband. I ironed on fusible interfacing to give it a little stability. I cut the waistband 3" wide and with 1/2" seam allowance on top and bottom left me with a 2" waistband.
Step 7: Lining
I cut up 5 or 6 white cotton shirts for the ruffle at the bottom of the underskirt. this is optional. I used Men's shirts because women's shirts usually have darts sewn in them, which either have to be taken out or cut around. Cut lining for waistband also.
Step 8: Shoulder Straps
Try the dress on and measure how long you need the straps to be. Add 2" on each end. Cut straps out of the middle and narrow section of a tie. I left the inside of the tie intact because the straps need to be strong.
Step 9: Flower for Waistband
The flower I made for the waistband is my favorite part of this dress. I cut the small point off of each tie and hand stitched these around a circular piece of plastic canvas (about 4" round) that I had covered with scrap fabric. I then made 3 fabric roses from ties and stitched these to the center of the circle.
Step 10: Zipper
sew the zipper into the back seam.. I like to sew the seam with a wide basting stitch, open the seam flat, pin the zipper in place, sew the zipper in using a zipper foot and then removing the basting stitches.This helps keep the zipper even.