Friday, December 5, 2008

Necktie Christmas Tree Skirt

Over the weekend I made a skirt for our Christmas tree out of old neckties. As some of you already know, or may have guessed, I am slightly obsessed with making things out of neckties. So when a friend of mine asked if my Christmas tree had a tie skirt, first I responded with, "No, now why didn't I think of that?" And secondly, "I need to make one." That was last year and time slipped away from me. But this year I was ready. Thanksgiving weekend I sat down and had some quality time with my sewing machine. And since I had so much fun making it, I thought I would share with my readers how I made this fun little tree skirt. It took a few hours to complete. But if you are not as picky as I am about arranging your ties in the proper order, it may take you less time.

Here is what you will need:

About 25-30 gently used neckties
2 skinny neckties
Denim needle
Coordinating thread - you'll need a lot so buy the big spool!
1 package of double wide bias tape in a color to match your ties.
Tailor's chalk or fabric pencil
Measuring tape
And of course a sewing machine

1. Measure and cut your ties to their desired length. Make sure you measure your ties from the corner point up, not the middle point. And be sure to add a few inches to allow for mistakes. You can always take away, but can't add!! Be sure to save the pieces you cut off. You can use these later.

Photobucket

2. Set your sewing machine to the widest zig-zag stitch you have. I recommend a triple zig-zag if your machine has one. Otherwise a regular zig-zag will work.

3. With the ties right-side up, lay your ties side-by-side making sure the corner points are even, center them under your needle and stitch them together. Do not pin them and do not force them. Let your machine do all the work.

Photobucket

4. Repeat this step until all your ties are sewn together. Then check the fit by laying it under your tree. You can add a few more ties if you need to.

5. Once you have enough ties to fit around your tree, you'll need to cut them so they are all the same length. I do this by folding my skirt in half, measuring each tie from the side points up, and marking the length with my chalk or pencil. You should have a dotted line across the top edge of your skirt. Cut along this line.

Photobucket

6. Now you want to stitch across the top edge of your skirt. You can use a zig-zag, overlock or straight stitch. This stitch just keeps the ties from pulling apart and stretching too much.

Photobucket



7. Next unravel you bias tape, open it up and place the raw edge of the skirt in between the fold of the tape. Pin in place and stitch along the inside edge of the tape.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

8. Now we are going to make the top tie of the skirt. Take your two skinny ties and place one on top of the other with right sides together. Line up the points of the skinniest end and with a straight stitch, stitch them together just under the side points.

Photobucket

9. Just to the outside of your straight stitch, stitch again using an overlock or zig-zag stitch. Trim close to the stitch line.

Photobucket

10. Iron seam to one side and stitch in place.

Photobucket

11. Along the top edge of your skirt, where the bias tape is sewn on, find the center. This is where you will place the seam of the tie you just made. Continue pinning this in place, making sure that you extend the tie slightly over the top of the skirt. Stitch in place on the bottom and top edge.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

12. If you want, you can take two of the left over pieces of ties and make another tie to secure the skirt around the tree. Simply cut them to the desired length. Make sure they are both the same size. Then with an overlock or zig-zag stitch, sew along the raw edge of each tie. Trim close to the stitch line.

Photobucket

13. Measure down from the top of the skirt where you want each tie and stitch in place.

Photobucket

14. You now have a one-of-a-kind tie skirt for your Christmas tree.

Photobucket

If you have any questions, or need some help along the way, feel free to email me or leave me a comment with your question.

And for more projects using neckties, check out some of my ebooks at youcanmakethis.com.

Happy sewing!!

7 comments:

Alicia said...

I'm having trouble doing mine. The ties are curving one way and not matching up. I cut them to the same length before sewing them. I am not an experienced sewer. What width and length for the zigzag stitch did you use? Is it a triple zigzag? The ties seem to be puckering too! HELP!

Andrea said...

Hi Alicia, thanks for your comment and sorry you are having trouble. Ties can be a little tricky and do curve sometimes because they are cut on the bias. They also might not match exactly at the top because of the curve. I usually have to trim the top to make everything even when I am done sewing. And I start my stitch at the bottom (wide-end) of the tie so that part is at least lined up.

I use the widest zigzag stitch for my machine. And it is a triple zigzag.

If your ties are puckering, you might want to check your tension and adjust your stitch length. It will vary from one machine to another. You just have to experiment to figure out which works best for your machine. Work some trial stitches on some scraps before working on your skirt.

You also want to make sure that you are not feeding or pulling the ties through the machine. Let the machine do the work for you. That can affect the curve/puckering.

Sometimes, if I notice the ties curving too much to one side, I switch to the other side. For example, you have your starting tie - sew a few ties on one side of the the tie and then a few ties on the other side of the tie and just keep alternating. (Does that make sense?) It should help, but they will always curve a little.

mmentor said...

does the tree skirt go all the way around the bottom of the tree? and can you alternate tie ends, to use them all up

Andrea said...

Yes, it goes all the way around the bottom of the tree. I've never tried alternating for this project, but I don't see any reason why you couldn't. It might make an interesting pattern.

mmentor said...

hi again, did you open the ties up? i have 29 ties, and when i lay them out as is, they only make a huge half moon.

Andrea said...

I didn't open them up, but you can. You would need to sew a lining though to hide the unfinished edges on the backside. I had to experiment with the length of the ties - shorter is better I found. It may make a bigger hole than needed, but I just cinch it up and fold it around the base of the tree.

Andrea said...

I should add - not too short. You want to make sure it still covers the tree stand.