Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Memorial Tie Project
When longtime family friend Jim passed away last June I wanted to do something special for his widow Barb. She couldn't stand having perfectly good shirts cut up to make a lap quilt, so we opted for a wall hanging comprised of twenty of Jim's favorite ties. My friend Ramona was extremely helpful in printing out a Block Base pattern for a 20-blade Dresden Plate. That saved me the time drafting a pattern. I enlarged the pattern blade on my home copier and was good to go.
I learn something new every time I work with ties. What I know for sure is that stabilizing the various fabrics eliminates a lot of struggle when cutting and sewing. I used a gray iron-on fusible that maintains the softer drapes of silk and keeps loose weaves from fraying. Second most important trick in machine sewing tie fabrics together is using a walking foot (aka even feed foot), which has both top and bottom feed dogs to pull the fabrics evenly under the needle while sewing seams. (Your machine will require the proper attachment.) Third best tip I can offer is using a steam iron set for silk to avoid scorching or melting synthetic fibers.
A near disaster on the last tie I was stabilizing resulted in a great learning lesson. This particular tie was pretreated with a stain resist coating that discolored a horrible brown from the iron. I thought all was lost and felt hand washing the tie certainly couldn't hurt it at this point. What a fabulous outcome! Clean and softer than the original. Whew. Close call. I really detested adding a substitute that Jim had never worn.
Let me enlighten you on the mileage one can get from one single tie! When the seams are open, the filling removed and the tie ironed flat, there is plenty of material for one large plate blade on the fat end keeping the finished point intact. The skinny end can be used for strip piecing log cabin, fence rail or similar quilt patterns. All the remaining trimmings will stitch nicely into crazy quilted blocks or small projects. Everything photographed in this post I created from the same 20 ties and still plenty of fabric remained. Ties are easily obtained from family, friends, and Goodwill. What a fabulous, economical way to purchase a variety of silks and fancy fabric samples for crafting and quilting.