Introduction: Halter Dress From Neckties

About: An engineer, seamstress, cook, coder, and overall maker. Spent a summer at Instructables; got a degree in E: Neural Engineering at Olin College; made a microcontroller (; now thinking about climate c…

I've wanted to make a dress out of ties for a long time. But I've seen clothes made out of ties- and they're sort of cool, but you can't get around the fact that it's just a bunch of ties sewn together. And when all's said and done, they look pretty tacky- a mess of colors and mishmash of patterns.

I wanted to make a dress out of silk ties that was beautiful in its own right- sure, it's cool that it's made of ties. Yes, thrift store ties are a fun/cheap way to get silk. But even if you don't care for dresses made of ties, I hope that you like this dress because it's beautiful and has a compelling design.

Please comment and let me know what you think- I'd love to see different versions of this type of dress!

Step 1: Gather Ties

Pretty much every thrift store has these.
Try to get the 100% silk ones.

Alternately, have someone with a lot of ties purge their closet.

I used eight ties. You may need more or less depending on your dimensions. You should be able to estimate this by measuring the width of each tie about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom, doubling it, and making sure that all of them added together is bigger than your hip measurement (assuming that is your maximum dimension).

Step 2: Pick Apart

Fabric harvesting- pull them apart down the long seam using a seam ripper.

Step 3: Dye (optional)

I wanted the patterns on mine to be a bit subtler... so I stuck them in a dye bath and tried to dye them black.
They were pretty resistant, but I was using screen printing ink; real fabric dye might give you better jet-black results.

Note: I left one highly contrasted tie undyed for contrast.

My procedure:

  • Get screen printing dye
  • Bathe in very slightly water-diluted dye (I used the whole jar)
  • Let dry outside for a weekend
  • Heat treat with a heat gun
  • Wash them out
  • Dry
  • Iron

I can't honestly say I recommend that methodology, but an improved process with the same objective is a great idea. It tones down the patterns and colors quite a lot and ties the dress together. It took the original owner of the ties a few moments to realize that they were indeed his ties!

Step 4: Iron

Press the ties open, widening your strips of silk fabric.

Step 5: Lay Out

Lay out the ties in the arrangement you want. (I took out some of the ties shown in this picture.)

Step 6: Sew Together

Sew all of the ties together  from the base to the top, with a few exceptions:
  1. In the center back, only sew it up 18" from the hemline (the outside corners of the ties).
  2. One tie to the side of the center front, leave 18" open from the top corners of the tie. (In the case of my dress, the pink tie is sewn in on both sides.)
  3. Leave part of the tops unsewn, uneven amounts.
Just sew along the edges, making the basic shape of the dress.

Step 7: Shaping

Put the dress on a dressform, or (if, like me, you don't have one) put it on yourself- in which case, ask a friend to do the pinning for you.

Pin a dart for each breast- shorten the edge until it fits, then form a triangle inward from the edge approximately 2 ties inward from the edge.

Collapse the shape of the skirt around the butt as (approximately) shown in the diagrams. At the hemline, each of the ties should be reduced an even amount.

Step 8: Niceties

Sew up the raw edges anywhere they're left around the dress.
Sew a bar across the top of the center back seam to secure it.

Step 9: Wear!

Slip it over your head and tie it around your neck!

The ends of the ties should fan out behind your neck.

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