I have a mild but growing fetish for cheap neckties purchased at my local Goodwill. For years I've been drooling over skirts, capes, and other cool little wearables made from these silky little jewels, and I finally caved and made one of my own! I present, the Necktie Purse!
These make EXCELLENT last minute holiday or birthday gifts - ties can be found very cheaply in some places, or maybe you have a bunch of ties lying around that aren't being used. You can tailor your tie selection to the person you're making the purse for, or just go crazy and use whatever colors you happen to grab! The whole project takes less than 2 hours, and it is very addicting. This is the second one of these I've made, and I'm likely to make even more before too long!
UPDATE FEB 4, 2015: I have used this purse every single day since I made it. It is holding up beautifully! No problems, no seams coming undone, and I get compliments on it everywhere I go!
Step 1: What You'll Need
8 mens neckties
a straight edge
a brooch (optional)
a sewing machine with the ability to create a wide zig zag stitch (not pictured)
Step 2: Trimming Your Ties
Lay four ties next to each other in a way that looks good to you. Be sure to lay them RIGHT next to each other (no overlapping or gaps) and line them up by the bottom corners - i.e. NOT the points at the ends of the ties, but the upper point of the triangle created by the empty space between the ties.
Lay your straight edge directly across the ties about 11 inches up from the bottom and use your sharpie to draw a straight line across all the ties.
Trim each tie individually along that line.
Step 3: Sewing Your Front and Back Panels
Using the widest possible zig-zag stitch on your machine, feed the ties through so they are right next to each other - again, no overlapping or gaps - making sure that the zig zag stitch is catching both ties. Go slow and keep the ties flat to avoid bubbling or warping.
Repeat the previous steps for the other four ties.
Trim the top of each panel so it is nice and even.
Step 4: Hemming Your Panels
Fold over the top edge of each panel by about half an inch and sew down using a wide (but not widest) zig zag stitch. Make sure your zig zag is catching the rough end so there won't be any fraying.
Step 5: Getting Closure :)
Using the narrow ends of two of your ties, cut about five inches from one and about 12 inches from another one. Hem the raw edges of each one.
Lay the shorter one sideways a couple of inches below the top hemline of your front panel (directly in the center), pin in place, and sew down using a zig zag stitch.
Pin the longer piece in the direct center of the back panel so that about six inches of it is hanging off the top. Sew that down (on all sides) with a zig zag stitch.
Step 6: Creating Your Gusset and Handle
Grab two more remaining tie pieces (ideally your two favorites) and sew the wider, rough edges together (holding right sides together) then flatten and press if desired.
Step 7: Inserting Your Gusset
Line up the seam you just created on your gusset piece with the center seam of your back panel (WRONG SIDES TOGETHER) and begin pinning in place. Make sure the gusset piece lines up exactly with the "empty space triangle" points we referenced during step 1. The gusset may curve a little because of this. Use lots of pins if you like. Sew in place carefully.
Now take the same edge of the gusset you just sewed to the panel and fold it so that it is laying against the side edge of your panel - it should begin to look like a shallow box. Pin that in place and sew those edges together. Do the same for the other side of the panel. This would probably be a good time to do a second seam all the way around - this is the part of the bag that is going to take the most damage, so be sure to reinforce your stitches and backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.
Then line up the other side of your gusset piece with the center of your other panel piece the same way as above. Again, sew down each side separately - it gets a little wonky if you try to do all three sides at once, so just take your time and make sure nothing gets folded up into your seams while you're sewing. Go slow! Take your time! A little patience really pays off here.
Step 8: Finishing Your Purse
Tie the two narrow ends of your gusset piece together, or fold them over each other and sew down securely if you would prefer not to have a knot holding it up. If you DO knot it, be sure to add a dot of E6000 to the middle of the knot, or take a needle and thread and run a few securing stitches through the knot to be sure it won't come undone while you're wearing it (always embarrassing). If the straps are too long for you, you can tie the knot further down and then secure the pointy narrow ends to the strap to keep them from flopping around too much. I left mine nice and long so it could be a cross-body bag.
Add a cool, flashy little brooch if you like, or just leave it unadorned.
And you're done! Enjoy your new purse!