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So once I got confirmation on my last post that I was, indeed, sewing with silk, I got a little gun shy. God knows why, because I’m pretty sure that I have more than I could possibly need for this dress should something go wrong. But I am starting to think that sewing up a muslin might be a good idea.

Unfortunately, what with my sudden silk shyness and the fact that April and May tend to be entirely taken up with morris dancing (or near as makes no difference), I let my sewing table get buried in the three or so projects I had going simultaneously, and didn’t touch any of them. Also fibromyalgia, not going to lie.

But we had a house inspection recently, and I used that as impetus to clean off my sewing table. I finally sat down last week and sewed.

I had drafted a pattern for a lady tie – seriously, that’s what they’re called. Although I have since been informed that they can also be called “cross ties” or “Continental ties” (tip of the hat to the charming Luke), which makes them sound far more adult. But I will probably continue to call them lady ties at least half the time, because it makes me think of the laaaydeees of Little Britain. Anyway, I had drafted a pattern for a lady tie the night before a function at work, and then realised that I didn’t have enough time to cut and sew it and so forth, so put it aside. I used this tutorial as a guide, put on the shirt I was going to wear it with, and then used my flexible measuring tape to determine length and width. It really wasn’t a particularly complex process. Because I felt like making things super-simple, I drafted it on the back of an envelope sans seam allowance, drafted a 15mm (≈5/8″) seam allowance, cut it out, and then traced it onto a piece of clean paper. I have a packet of green paper because of Morris Reasons, so I used that. Bonus: it makes the pattern easy to find in my sewing disaster area.

A self-drafted sewing pattern for a lady tie

Then I had a night at home, and turned out a lady tie in about two hours, from cutting to finishing. I don’t have any suitable tie pins yet, so I used this Homestuck stick pin I got with my backer rewards from the Kickstarter.

A green continental or "lady" tie, worn with a purple blouse and sage cardigan.

Process pr0n:

I just used a random fat quarter that I found in my stash. For what purpose did I intend this fabric? Who knows. I cut out four copies of my pattern, one for each short half, front and back.

I didn’t take a photo of this, nor a good one of the pattern. But (very loosely speaking) basically the tie looks like this:


And each pattern piece looks like this:


I sewed each half’s backs and fronts together.

Lady tie cut out and short halves pinned together, right sides facing.

& trimmed them down with my pinking shears.

Short halves of lady tie stitched together, seam allowances pinked.

Next, I turned them inside out, using a pencil and a crochet hook (hook slightly more effective).

Lady tie half being turned right side out with a pencil.

I turned the end of one half inside by approx half a centimetre, and tucked the raw edge of the other side inside. This was the most painful part, and the bit that required the most fiddling. Having just done another one, I’d suggest tucking one side in, pinning it in place, then tucking in the other. Or doing it a different way. Or making sure that one half is slightly smaller at the end than the other.

Completed lady tie, showing messy centre seam.

Observe the messy centre back seam.

Things I learnt/might do differently next time:

The bit where the two halves join is a bit messy and bunchy. To make this neater, I think I’d sew one long half (both backs) together in the middle, and then sew the two remaining halves around the perimeter onto that long piece, so that there’s only one raw edge on the inside middle seam. Then after trimming down the seam allowances (V. NECESSARY on such a narrow item), you’d turn the entire tie inside out through that tiny seam allowance, fold that inside and hand stitch it closed.

Actually, that’s total lies. Having written that out, I have no desire to finish it as deailed in the previous para. I find turning the short halves inside out is painful enough when you have a rather larger opening to work with. Turning it inside out with such a tiny opening sounds like a recipe for frustration and torn stitches. And the messy seam is hidden under the collar anyway.

Investigations shall continue.