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Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Tie Project [Pt 2] — The Design Process

My $0.99 eBay purchase for The Tie Project..
consisting of a tie with matching cuff links and hanky!
Recently came across a blog post (courtesy of a link from AllFreeSewing) that detailed the process of designing and creating a pattern for a basic bag. It was interesting, so I thought I would use the same angle to provide an update on the progress of The Tie Project. If you're fairly good at figuring out things for yourself, what follows below and in subsequent posts will end up being a tutorial that can guide you to make your own "single tie purse". So hopefully it's win-win.

If you'll recall, in my last post about this, I had found two examples of little purses/clutches that could be made out of a single tie (minus the lining and straps, of course). The designers of these little gems only sell their physical creations, not the patterns, so I am left with just looking at pictures to try to figure out a way to make my own. So... what is the first step?

Well, determining basic dimensions is a good place to begin. Luckily this info is readily available. Both versions share the same finished size: roughly 6" x 9", or — for my metric readers — approximately 15cm x 23cm. The pleated version also has a 6" wide (pleated) opening. Not being able to examine these up close, it's a guessing game as to how the bottom seam is finished. But even if I could see them, it's more fun to create an homage to something rather than to "knock it off". What I want to do is capture the essence of these tie purses, not reproduce them exactly.

And in fact, I'm looking to create one pattern that will be an homage to both of these tremendous versions.

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Construction-wise, with its rounded corners, the original non-pleated purse looks like it has a gusset. It might not. It could be a simple curved seam or some artfully placed corner darts that give it that look. I am going to go with a gusset because it (the gusset) makes efficient use of the tie's fabric (i.e., the long narrow end of the tie is perfect for that function).

Having established an important construction detail and armed with the overall dimensions, I made myself a pattern piece for the body panel, 9.5" wide x 7" high, with rounded bottom corners. Gusset piece is 1.5" wide; I "measured" the length that I needed by wrapping the fabric around the edge of the body piece.

eSheep Designs - The Tie Project
Basic body panel and gusset piece for my tie purse project...

I'll need to get two body pieces and the gusset out of one single tie.

So is it possible to get that much fabric from a tie? Apparently yes. If you pick open a tie, you will find that it yields not a bad amount of fabric. The part that will be used as a flap for the purse is usually about 5.5" long. What's left is variable (i.e., there are no standard widths/lengths for a tie) but in my case, about 54" of usable fabric remained, 6" wide at one end, tapering to 2.5" at the narrowest part.

eSheep Designs - The Tie Project
Part of the tie that's needed for the gusset...

With the help of some muslin pieces, it is clear that there will be sufficient material from the tie to "patchwork piece" together the two body panels. (I will say right now that trying to fussy cut pieces from a tie is darn near impossible given the limited amount of fabric that you have to work with. So if you attempt this project, choose a tie that doesn't have too much of a noticeable pattern or just live with the fact that your seams won't be nicely matchy-matchy.)

eSheep Designs - The Tie Project
Figuring out how to allocate the fabric... 

What you see above are two stacked body panel pieces adding up to 14" in height. The tie obviously doesn't cover the overage on the sides of either panel, but what remains of the tie until the part that is required by the gusset is 20.5" long, varying in width from 4" to 2.5".

eSheep Designs - The Tie Project
First body panel piece...

You can see (in this case, for this particular tie) that the widest part of what's still needed to be added on both sides of the first body panel is about 1.25".

eSheep Designs - The Tie Project
Second body panel piece...

For the second body panel, the widest part of what's still needed to be added to both sides is just shy of 2".

Of course, in the quick arithmetic above, I did not account for any seam allowances to sew the three pieces together. So to do that, I'll add 1/2" to each piece to allow for two 1/4" seams. Therefore, to "pad out" the top most body panel, I will need two strips of fabric measuring 1.75" (1.25" + 0.5" seam allowance) x 7". To complete the second body panel, I will need two strips measuring 2.5" (2" + 0.5" seam allowance) x 7". And of course, this is all an approximation because as you can see, the "strips" required are not rectangular in shape (in fact, they're oddly tapered). Bottom line, however, is that they can be harvested out of the remainder of the tie.

What to do next?

A couple things. I need to sew up my muslin pieces to see if my basic pattern works. If yes, then I need to cut exact replicas of the tie "pieces", patch them together and see if that concept works.

I'll be back with Pt 3 after I do just that...

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