Remember in series three of the Great British Sewing Bee, how May and Patrick threw a tie in as the item the finalists all had to tackle as their pattern challenge? How such a small seemingly innocent accessory caused consternation and more than just a bit of frustration? I was intrigued. What is it about tie making that is so tricky?
I tucked that question away for a rainy day. But when my youngest son graduated I had thought that it was a shame that I hadn’t given him anything to mark the occasion. And if I’d thought I could have made him something special. Like a pair of posh boxers. Or a tie. Too late this time, but in the future, my eldest son will hopefully be getting his Masters degree, and so the need for a tie could well occur again ( if he works hard and gets even more gleefully nerdy than he already is!). I am resolved that they will have the choice of a Mum made tie. But for that I need to practice. Therefore when I saw a tie making workshop was being run at the Makery in Bath, I paid up and registered straight away.
This was the first tie making workshop held at the Makery and I recognised Emily, our tutor from the machine embroidery workshop Id previously taken. She was supported by Katie – that’s two experts to attend to any queries the six of us apprentice tie-makers may have.
So the Makery is very comfortable in its new premises right in the centre of Bath in a glorious town house extending over four floors, filled with different spaces for making and being creative. Then there’s the shop to buy makey provisions.
A lovely space to relax and feel good crafty vibrations…
For this workshop we were asked to bring a 75cmx75cm piece of fabric with us to make our tie, but everything else would be provided. I brought a piece of lawn that Tamsin had swapped with me, I’d been saving it for something special as it is gorgeous …….both the delicately coloured florals, and hey, it’s lawn! As with the knicker making workshop, on arrival, everyone is given their own pattern that they take away with them after the workshop so it doesn’t stop here! Our tutors chatted through everything we needed to know to get cutting. And so we did….
All the pieces are cut on the bias. Each piece needs a corresponding piece of fusible interfacing. There are also a couple of lining pieces needed for the pointy tie ends, I found these scraps that matched the floral lawn perfectly.
Now what surprised me is that we sewed our ties primarily by hand. (Yes! Get that! Me, who uses the machine for just about everything! ) the only machining was to join the three tie pieces together to make one long lovely bias tie shaped thing that at this stage had true kipper tendencies. Pressing the seam allowances and mitring the corners helps create a nice neat finish before hand stitching all the way. First the linings at the pointy ends.
Then stitching along the length. (And that’s a long piece to handstitch!)
I don’t do a lot of workshops, but wish I could do more- it’s always a joy to learn as a group, spending a few hours with new people. I loved seeing everyone’s different fabric choices, and it’s probably not a surprise that some of these ties ( or potential sequels) are likely to end up under the Christmas tree 🙂
Look! Class ties!! With Emily and Katie too. I loved tie making ( even though it was by hand ! Actually I have been converted, and enjoyed the precision and slower pace). I will be making more. Guaranteed.
Check out the finished neck attire
Now I quite fancy keeping this one for myself….but that all depends on future tie making exploits and success.
So the verdict on tie making, apart from enjoyment and personal satisfaction? Well, if you’re ever stuck for a perfect gift for a special someone, making a tie out of some gorgeously wondrous fabric ( Liberty or silk) could create something that stands out from all the usual stripes and Homer Simpsons. I would love to have made *that tie * that is kept for special occasions. ( in the case of my sons, it may actually be the sole tie they ever own, not being corporate types). And one last thing on special ties. I will always remember being impressed by a friend of mine in my early twenties who came to a wedding wearing the most beautiful vibrant pink tie that his mother had made for him, out of small silk patchwork pieces. And making a tie by hand, somewhere as inspiring and cosy as the Makery is a great place to start.
Making a tie by machine though? I reckon that must be the root of the problems faced by the Great British Sewing Bee contestants and I for one am going to research that approach, even if I still choose to hand sew away in front of the TV.
Any machine tie making stories to tell? Good places to check out?