12 Ways to Upcycle Old Neckties

Find simple sewing and craft projects made from old neckties.

Related To:

Photo By: Picasa ©Becky Hutcherson

Photo By: Larry Brunt ©Larry Brunt, Essential Moments Photography

©Alison Tudor

©Sharee Johnson

©Sharee Johnson

Photo By: Larry Brunt ©Larry Brunt, Essential Moments Photography

©Jennifer Aldinger Angerame

©Jennifer Aldinger Angerame

©Megan Anderson

©Luc Bataillard

©Erin Stevens

©Danielle Thomas

Stuffed Rattlesnake Toy

Beginners can handle this simple toy sewing project, says Becky Hutcherson, who sells her rattlesnakes on Etsy.com at The Boomin Granny. She stuffs a single tie with poly filler, glues or whipstitches the opening shut, and then adds button eyes, a ribbon tongue and a “rattler,” usually a plastic bottle filled with beans. If you’re making the toy for a child, she says, be sure to stitch on the accents securely rather than gluing.

Miniskirt

A necktie’s flared shape makes a natural building block for a miniskirt. Ronnie Ryno, owner of Glamarita at Etsy.com, creates these with simple vertical stitches. “Sewing with neckties has become my trademark,” Ryno says. “I used to buy them from thrift stores, but now I’ve found an online supplier who sends me recycled ties in bulk—1000 every four to five months!”

Area Rug and Matching Stool

This winning combination was created by blogger and professional seamstress Alison Tudor of SewandTellQuilts.com. “I first got interested in making things out of old ties after I inherited 198 of them from my great aunt,” Tudor says. She uses a thick felt backing for her necktie rugs because it’s easy to sew and adds a cushion. She also makes the folding camp stool herself using materials from a big-box store, including an inexpensive painter’s drop cloth for the base fabric of the seat.

Clutch Purse

This funky clutch crafted by Sharee Johnson (All Things Necktie at Etsy.com) requires some sewing skill but pays off in wow factor. You can use one necktie or two, depending on whether you want both the body and the flap to be made from the same tie fabric. The ties must be cut apart and re-sewn together for width (Johnson’s final product is nine inches wide and four inches high), pressed to some medium-weight interfacing and lined. Using the pointed tie end as the flap, Johnson adds a magnetic snap for the closure.

Mini Purse

Sharee Johnson of All Things Necktie at Etsy.com makes these simple mini purses entirely from neckties or from a single necktie and a coordinating fabric, as shown. Using a paper pattern, she cuts a large square for the purse body and a smaller square for the flap; then she lines and stitches together, sewing on a shoulder strap of waxed cotton cord. Johnson recommends using iron-on interfacing to stiffen tie fabric for sewing projects, as neckties are constructed on the bias and tend to stretch.

Cocktail Dress

Feel like going all out? Creating a cocktail dress entirely of neckties will take some time, but your ensemble will be a guaranteed conversation-starter. It takes Ronnie Ryno, who sells her upcycled tie creations at Glamarita on Etsy.com, about 20 hours to sew an elaborate dress like the one shown here.

Key Chain

Jennifer Aldinger Angerame, owner of the Southern Yankee shop on Etsy.com, uses the skinny ends of old ties to make brightly colored key chains. After cutting off the ends, she double-folds them and backstitches in a split key ring from a craft store with her sewing machine. The final product is about three-and-a-half inches long.

Drink Koozie

These koozies are a 15-minute sewing project; Jennifer Aldinger Angerame of Southern Yankee at Etsy.com makes them by the dozen. First, she sews together two foam crafting inserts to make the round koozie shape, and then cuts the fat end of a necktie, rips out the lining and serges the sides together to make a sheath for the foam. She slips the foam inside and hand-sews shut.

Wristlet

This two-pocket wristlet wallet sewn by Megan Anderson (PennyDreamz at Etsy.com) is just big enough for a smartphone plus credit cards — an ideal solution for evenings out. The tie is simply folded over and stitched; the tie lining becomes the purse lining and the skinny end becomes the strap. The purse is completed with a snap and a ring from a craft store. Anderson sews hers with a machine, but it’s also easily accomplished by hand.

Obi Belt

This simple but elegant obi belt made by Rose Riley (elsiemontreal at Etsy.com) is a visually compelling way to use two complementary men’s neckties. The belt wraps around the back and ties in the front, and includes a small pocket for cash or keys.

T-Shirt Trim

Who says neckties are just for guys? “I've always loved to wear neckties, just like a man wears his,” says Erin Stevens, owner of the Etsy shop Garage Couture Clothes, which specializes in upcycled women’s clothing. “One day I started draping ties on women’s camisoles and thought, wow, this is really cute. If you can sew on a button, you can do this project.” This tie is hand-stitched in place and anchored with a button; you may have to add extra stitches here and there to get the tie to lie flat.

Headband

Upcycle your updo: This chic headband was crafted from two old neckties by Danielle Thomas, whose recycled necktie creations can be found at All Tied Out on Etsy.com. Take about 15 inches from the narrow end of two neckties, lay the pieces side by side (crossing them halfway), and join with any decorative stitch you like. Sew elastic to the ends and then cover by wrapping the ends with hot-glued ribbon. Presto: You have an eye-catching hair accessory, easy for beginners and doable in 30 minutes.