In today's work world, neck ties are becoming nearly obsolete. I decided to take advantage of the abundant inventory of fabulous ties in order to satisfy my desire for a new dress.
I made this funky halter dress out of a bunch of old neck ties I gathered. I was surprised at how cute it turned out.
This dress is not only fun, but it's artsy, cool and definitely one of a kind. And it's easy to make! All you need are a bunch of ties, a sewing machine and a belt.
The front of the dress is halter and the back of the dress is open. It has an empire waist.
By the way, the first photo this isn't me. For the first time in my life, my teenage daugher liked one of my creations enough to request her own. (I'm modeling my dress in the second one!)
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Step 1: Find and Arrange Ties
I got most of my ties from thrift shops. I recommend getting more than you think you'll need. I used about 30 in my dress (I'm a size 4). You will also need a belt. I used a Karate type belt from the Limited. http://www.thelimited.com/Obi-Wrap-Belt/1008119,default,pd.html?dwvar_1008119_colorCode=296&start=12&ppid=s12&q=belts
Now for the fun part. Arrange your ties the way you want the final dress to look. Make it interesting and fun. Decide which ties you want in the front and the back of the dress.
Step 2: Take Measurements
Take 3 measurements.
Around your torso just below your boobs (A)
The length of the skirt from the bottom to just under your boobs (B)
The length of the skirt from the bottom to right above your boobs (C).
Step 3: Sew the Body of the Dress Together
Front of Dress: Sew half of the ties together to make the dress front.
Start by sewing two ties together, overlapping one tie over the other. Sew along the edge, starting 3 1/2" from the bottom (so the ties can flap at the bottom of your dress). Sew along the edge of the tie to the length you measured in C . Mark point B with straight pins. (This will be where the top of the belt lands- the empire waist).
Add your next tie, overlapping it over the first two you sewed together.
Add another tie. Keep sewing the ties together until the width (at the point you marked with straight pins) is equal to about half of measurement A (and it covers the front of your body).
Make sure you have an even number of ties on the front half of the dress to form the halters.
Back of Dress: Begin sewing the back together, one tie at a time. Again, start 3 1/2" from the bottom of the ties, and sew to the length you measured in B plus 1 inch. Mark point B with straight pins.
Keep adding ties until the width is equal to about half of measurement A.
Finishing the Body: Sew the front to the back on one side try the dress on. Pin the dress together to check for size. You may have to add one or more ties. Once you know it will fit, sew up the other side. Make sure it will slip over your head once it's sewn together (unless you decide to sew in a zipper, which I did not.)
Step 4: Make the Back of the Dress
The back of the dress is open above the belt. You now have to fold the ties under to finish off the back of the dress.
Fold and Pin: Fold the ties under the dress where you have marked length B with straight pins. Make sure the ties are lying flat underneath. Pin the folded seam in place.
Sew and Trim: Sew across the top of the ties about 1/2 inch from the top of the dress. Sew another seam 1 inch below the first seam. Cut off the ties below the lower seam.
You are done with the back of the dress!
Step 5: Making the Halter
Now comes another fun part: making the halter.
Gather half of the ties on the front of the dress and pin them together. You've got to try the dress on and make sure that they cover you. (You could easily have a "wardrobe malfunction" if you don't.)
Pretend like the ties are part of a multi-lane highway that is merging together into one lane. Sew them together, one tie at a time.
Try on the dress again to make sure the first side of the halter covers you. If it does, make the other side exactly the same by folding the dress together and pinning the other side so that it lines up with the first one.
Step 6: Finishing the Top
You're almost done!
Finish up the dress by sewing the loose ties at the end of the halter together. In order to minimize bulk (who wants a strap that is 6 ties deep?), keep the top and bottom ties of the each strap the same length and stagger the lengths of the ties in the middle to make each strap. Cut the straps to the length you want.
You can fasten the straps with buttons, hooks and eyes or even Velcro.
I took the easy route and sewed the two straps together. To wear it, all I have to do is pull the dress over my head and slip my head through the loop. Then I put on the belt and I'm ready to go.
Good luck! If you're interested in reading about some of my other "projects", check out my blog: http://www.notesfromanerdling.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-incredible-shrinking-face.html