My son has just graduated from high school and and we attended a formal graduation dinner. I am grateful that he is actually had a formal and a graduation, these both having been in doubt until last week, but to our great good fortune our state is now over 65 days without a case of local Coronavirus transmission and high school graduations are taking place.
The last two times I had a family member graduating from High School, I got to sew a gorgeous frock for their formal. This time I got to buy a smart suit, because I am much more wise than I was when I tried to sew some tailored trousers for my husband. Tailoring is not my forte. We even bought a shirt. The suit is a normal day wear suit, apparently wearing black tie to a formal is overdoing it (according to my son and his male classmates)
Fortunately for me, my son could not find a tie that co-ordinated with his girl friend's frock. He searched through my
excessive extensive silk fabric collection and pulled out a sari, which had 3 shades of blue in a jacquard like pattern.
Now we all know that sari silk is not silk twill and is far too thin and loosely woven for a proper tie. Even my son, feeling the fabric, said that it wouldn't work. Ha! Maternal super-sewing powers to the rescue.
I block fused 1 metre of the least embellished section of the sari with black fusible woven interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply . Alas, they no longer ship outside the USA, and I am trying to eke out my remaining supplies, but surely a high school graduation is worthy of rare extravagance. This gave the fabric a pleasingly firm but not stiff hand, very similar to the one piece of silk twill that I have in my stash. Due to my inexperience in block fusing, and the silk insisting on sliding all over my ironing board, there are a few small pleats in the interfacing, but no bubbles, so I felt that I could deal with these imperfections through fussy cutting.
Next I went searching for a pattern. There are multiple internet instructions that have you draft a pattern, but I did not feel like making a practice tie to check the dimensions and instructions. I seemed to remember seeing some fabulous custom made ties on Miss Celie's Pants and in my usual fashion, beneifted greatly from other people's research. Renee used a published pattern, and I just happened to have a published pattern from the same parent company. I think I bought it for the shirt.
McCall's 7365 was published in 1994, but the width of the tie was deemed okay by the recepient. The pattern is an op-shop find, and had previously been used, with the tie cut out to the shorter of the available lengths. Although my son is 6 feet tall, I thought I'd stick with the pattern as it presented itself to me, mainly because the 1 metre length of fused fabric was only just enough for the longest pattern piece, all the pieces being cut on the bias, and I knew that if I extended the tie in to the gold embroidered section of the sari fabric, none of the uber conservative men in my household would wear the finished product.
The pattern did not tell me to use special interfacing, but some internet research indicated that using wool interfacing or interlining is traditional and makes a more robust, yet soft tie. I gleefully cut into some very luxurious tropical wool weight suiting that had been nibbled by insects, and used this for interlining. It is probably nothing like wool interfacing, but using up some of the fabric was greatly satisfying to me. Take that insects ! The tiny pieces of lining fabric that show on the reverse of the tie are remnants of silk-cotton sari fabric that I just happened to have lying about after making my own frock to wear to the formal. This is subversive sentimental sewing that my son will not notice.
There was nothing particularly difficult about the tie construction, except a little fiddling to get neat points, with the lining rolling nicely to the back of the tie. Renee has some very useful pictures of her technique, which off centres the mitres of the outer and lining fabric, but I was quite happy with my first attempt via the McCall's pattern instructions, which do not offset the mitres. I think my success with this less persnickety technique was due to the very light weight and non traditional fabric that I used for the lining.
The McCall's pattern instructions advise you to construct a pressing guide for the tie from oakboard. I did this, and hand sewed back of the tie with the two pieces of the pressing guide in place, the tie laying flat on my coffee table whilst I watched a movie. I then lightly pressed the tie, and only a small amount of fabric wriggling was required to remove the pressing guides afterwards. This is not a technique I have read in my internet reading, and probably isn't necessary if you've made dozens of ties, but I found it very helpful in maintaing the shape of the tie whilst hand sewing the slippery bias cut silk. I'm sorry that I forgot to take a photograph of this step in progress.
Overall this was a technically interesting sewing project and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It is very pleasing to be able to sew something for my son other than pyjamas.