Added Jul 12, 2010
definitely the most frustrating thing i’ve made, but eventually finished and one of my proudest. it was about 20 months between concept and completion.
i decided i wanted to make a dress out of old ties, so went to vinnies and salvos (charity shops) and bought up a whole lot of ties for $1-2 each. the only thing was, i didn’t have any real idea of how to make this dress, so i just started sewing the ties together. originally, i thought it would work with the ties sewn up vertically, so that it would be like a big tube. unfortunately, after a number of months on and off sewing them together by hand (no idea why i decided to do that!) it became clear it wasn’t going to work, so i threw it in the corner in disgust.
about six months later, i pulled it out again because i still did want to make a dress out of ties – i wanted to prove i could, i guess – so i started to pull it apart. of course, ties are delicate fabric, so i had to be careful unpicking them. it took about 45 minutes to an hour to undo each line of stitching, so that took a while. i also thought i should probably have an idea of what i was going to do before i started sewing again, so put them to the side for a few more months.
finally, i came up with the idea of sewing the ties vertically for the skirt then horizontally for the bodice (except for two almost identical ties for the straps, which i left to continue up the front from the skirt). the skirt was easy to sew – and i used my machine the second time around – but the bodice was a bit tricky. to make it fit right i used esme, my dressmaker’s dummy, and pinned and basted as tightly as i could before sewing each individual piece on. the straps are hand-sewn to each piece of the bodice, which was incredibly fiddly to do, but ensured an exact fit.
so while i love this dress, i don’t think i’ll make it again, and i wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone else – unless you have lots of patience and stubbornness!