If you’d like to skip straight to the creative project and learn how to make a necklace from an old tie then scroll down until you see Blue’s paw print below.
This episode is subtitled: ‘Where’s Kim when I need her…?’
‘My garden’s not looking too bad,’ I said, ‘now that the leaves are coming through on the shrubs and my miniature rhododendrons are starting to show signs of colour. Oh, and my Clematis Montana is so pretty, winding up over the roof of my neighbour’s pergola.’
Jaz wasn’t captivated by my chit-chat but I prattled on, nonetheless. I’d been feeling calmer about the Open Gardens event in May, thinking that I might not be too embarrassed when visitors arrive after all. I was just telling her about my idea for tubs of bedding plants for a splash of colour when Beryl bustled in, a bit late, taking advantage of the fact that Kim was away for a couple of days.
‘I see there’s a buyer for The George & Dragon!’ she said, excited that she was the one to break the news.
The old pub is opposite our shops on Linnet Row and used to be a big treat for my sister, Laura, and me when we were young. I can remember us being allowed lemonade and crisps in the beer garden sometimes in the summer while Mum and Dad had a glass of shandy.
But it hadn’t managed to keep up with the changing demands of the pub-going public and had closed down years ago. The decaying building was a sad sight for those of us brought up in the area and a complete eyesore for us shop owners.
‘Oh great, Kim will be pleased,’ I said. ‘She’s hoping for some swanky new apartments with lots of potential customers.’
‘No, it’s that Scandinavian supermarket that wants it,’ said Beryl.
‘Which supermarket?’ I asked.
‘Skolkensson,’ she replied.
‘Oh, no!’ Jaz was animated now. ‘We can’t let a big multinational move into the area! I bet they don’t sell anything that’s Fair Trade.’
Live and let live is what I say. Well, I did say that until Beryl piped up, ‘Ooh, they sell lovely flowers.’
Where was Kim when I needed her? Actually, she was on a short romantic break with Gary. Ironically, he’d won it when he spent the night at The Hilton following their row over the broken architects’ award. Thankfully he hadn’t stayed mad for long. So, in Kim’s absence, I did what I usually do in times of worry – made something. I remembered a stack of old ties that Gary had given to me ages ago so I picked one out and got creative. ◊
How to Make a Necklace from an Old Tie
The key elements of this necklace are an old tie and some beads.
The first thing I did was deconstruct the tie.
I didn’t want to keep anything except the outer silk fabric. However, the silk was in three pieces and the white nylon lining was stitched together with it. This meant taking the three pieces apart then sewing the lengths of silk back together without the lining. Wow there is a lot of fabric in a tie!
At this stage I didn’t know how long I needed the necklace to be but, not wanting to waste that lovely wide piece at the end, I chopped that off and put it to one side for a later project. That left me with a 110cm length. I measured the narrowest part (7cm for me) and cut the width so it was an even 7cm all the way along.
To make the tube I folded it in half lengthways, right sides together. I then pinned it all the way along.
After stitching it I ironed the seam allowance to open it up then turned the tube right way out.
My inspiration for this project came from Aletha Israels who slipped the beads in and held them in place with a knot between each one. My beads must be smaller because the knots just looked too big so I opted for some complimentary embroidery thread instead.
I popped a bead in, centred it, then wound some thread round the tube on each side of it. First I knotted the end and took it through the material. After the winding I finished by taking my needle through a few stands a couple of times. Trim the thread very close to the binding. I repeated that, adding a bead to one side then the other until I had the length I wanted. I kept the seam of the tube and the knots of my thread at the back so I would have one good side to the necklace. The next three pictures are of the back so you can see it’s still fairly neat.
Aletha tied her necklace in a bow at the back with the rest of the tie but I wanted something less fussy. My plan was to use a magnet as the fastening. When I’d added as many beads as I wanted I chopped off the excess length from each end. The total amount cut off was 40cm so in the future I know that I only need the length of silk to be 70cm.
I turned the raw edges well inside the tube and ironed them flat. Then I stitched across, a few centimetres down so I could pop the magnet in. I couldn’t stitch the end closed with the machine because the magnet was attracted to the presser foot! I held it firmly in place while I did a small ladder stitch by hand across the top. This is a neater way to do it anyway. The corresponding metal disc at the other end was stitched-in the same way.
And here’s the finished necklace from an old tie.
- These magnets are very strong and should not be worn by anyone with a pacemaker.
- I used 30cm of embroidery thread (three strands) for each divider section. It’s useful to cut the same length each time to keep the look consistent.
- I think I’ll have a go at making the ends of my necklace a bit neater. Maybe I could have tapered the width as I turned the raw edge in and stitched the first line for the magnet’s pocket.
- Old tie
That was one of a whole bundle of ties Gary gave me. Any idea what to do with the rest?
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