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don't-tie-this-at-home dress

Added Jul 12, 2010

by pambox

Sydney, Australia






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!

Material Notes

recycled ties




Spring, Summer
Garment Type
Geek, Other
Blends, Polyester, Rayon, Silk

6 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • 267619_10150240216071864_592951863_7584678_5036718_n_large

    Oct 30, 2011, 11.24 AMby Priscilla Folley

    This looks incredibly difficult to make, but I like the darker color pallet

    1 Reply
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      Oct 31, 2011, 10.01 AMby pambox

      It’s more time consuming than anything, but to do the bodice you definitely need a dressmaker’s dummy to pin it all together on.

  • Portait_4_large

    Nov 22, 2010, 06.14 PMby stuffit-1

    Yours looks just that good! I think it was worth all the pain & frustration, for sure!^^ I’m thinking about making a vest out of ties for quite a time, since I saw your dress, I’ll definitley make one^^

  • Avatar_large

    Jul 12, 2010, 06.13 PMby apfelbluete

    Here is one version of a Russian seamstress. I find the clothes totally fascinating! they said it was very uncomfortable to wear or sit .. Unfortunately, my husband wears a tie. Such a garment would be very expensive for me :-)


    2 Replies
    • 20150117_152733_large

      Jul 12, 2010, 11.03 PMby mlssfshn

      very interesting love it

    • 100_1411_2__large

      Jul 13, 2010, 01.15 AMby pambox

      wow, that one is incredible.

  • 100_0614_large

    Jul 12, 2010, 02.05 PMby 244317

    let me tell u I Would wear it and it looks great I think i will try it but I will makesome shorts and a vest for my 10 yr old

    1 Reply
    • 100_1411_2__large

      Jul 13, 2010, 01.20 AMby pambox

      thanks! i’ve worn it a few times.
      i have seen a vest from ties before complete with instructions on how to make it, but don’t remember where i saw it, unfortunately.

  • C9c58f92ed60d1987d1a711106e37cb70262f08a_large

    Jul 12, 2010, 01.43 PMby anajan

    Wow! I really like your dress. Love the colors, and love the horizontal bodice vs vertical skirt. Wonderful!

    2 Replies
    • C9c58f92ed60d1987d1a711106e37cb70262f08a_large

      Jul 12, 2010, 01.45 PMby anajan

      P.S. After seeing your dress, I’d like to give ties a chance :). Unfortunately, there aren’t many ties in our local thrift stores…

    • 100_1411_2__large

      Jul 13, 2010, 01.19 AMby pambox

      this dress only has about 20 ties in it. if you want to make something with ties, i’d suggest just picking up ties when you see them – you’ll be surprised how quickly you have enough.

  • 20150117_152733_large

    Jul 12, 2010, 11.54 AMby mlssfshn

    Cool there’s a whole Flickr group dedicated to making thinks out of ties. I’m known locally for my version of the tie dress and my first one took 2 years while working full time. You can see several incarnations in my projects, including my first one. Yours looks great and very different from mine.

    1 Reply
    • 100_1411_2__large

      Jul 12, 2010, 12.24 PMby pambox

      thanks! i had a look at yours and yes, you’ve done quite a different style with the halter.

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