Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ties for the Men in My Life

I had never made ties before, but I LOVED the way these turned out. I picked up cotton fabric at Joann's, both for the bridesmaid dresses and these ties (that way our beautiful gals match the handsome men they are paired with) I used a pattern from Puking Patterns, called The Best Men's Tie Pattern to make these. You need 5/8 yd of both your patterned material as well as the lining material of your choice and 1 yd of a lightweight interfacing. As I already said, I chose cotton patterned material that was the same as the bridesmaids' material, added a satin apparel lining for the back lining, and fusible featherweight shirt interfacing. The cost of making these was about 7 dollars per tie thanks for the great coupons and sales at the fabric store.

The pattern was able to be downloaded and printed off on my normal ink jet printer then pieced together. The pattern needs to be placed on the fabric at a 45 degree angle for cutting, this is called cutting on the bias. The pattern below looks pretty big in comparison to the scissors and CallieDog's chewed up tennis ball (she likes to help me work on projects) but this is to give allowance for all the folding that needs to be done. 

Callie sitting in front of my cutting table waiting for her tennis ball to be tossed 

After the three kinds of fabric are cut, iron the fusible interfacing to the back side of the lining material. Next, with right sides together, place the cotton and lining on top of each other and sew the tip of either end of the tie together (this is just the arrow {pointed} section of the tie). Turn the right sides out, being sure that the points are crisp. With right sides out, sew the side seams of the tie. I like to start on what will be the bottom of the tie, the largest part, and sew about half way up on one side and then repeat on the other side. Going back to finish the rest of the length after that - this ensures that the tie doesn't move or become uneven at all.  Once the seams are sewn it is time to press, so get out that iron!

I use a few rulers and pins to make sure I get my folds as crisp as I like them. Start by folding one side's edge into the middle, then press flat. On the other side you have to fold over the edge, just a small amount, only 1/4  inch or less, and press. The new edge then gets brought to the middle and pressed. Below is a picture of the front and the back tail of the tie. You can see the pressed folds there. 

Once the folding is complete and you are satisfied with how your tie looks, you then have to hand sew a blind stitch up the back of the tie to hold the folds in place. After blind stitching, you can add a ribbon catch for tucking the tail of the tie into for wear. 

I have all the ties I need for the wedding made, with exception to adding my own label and the ribbon. Oh, I do enjoy crossing things off of my to-do list!

Tea Cup Candles

All those $0.59 tea cups I picked up at the thrift stores are finally boxed up with their matching saucers, fully re-purposed as candles for part of the reception decor. Sweet relief as another project is crossed off of the to-do list!

Here is how we did it - Scotty used his hatchet (a special Christmas gift from his sister that he insists on using whenever possible, which of course has a back story for another day) to cut up large soy candles that we picked up at a markdown sale. The pieces had to be small enough to fit inside a tea kettle that I found at Goodwill for melting. Some craft stores have metal pitcher-looking melting pots for candle making, but I liked my tea kettle better because of how easy it was to pour from.

I picked up a thermometer to keep track of the heating process for this project. When the temperature is between 160 and 175 degrees F, I get ready to pour. I did all the initial pours and found that about 20% of the candles poured needed to be topped off because of the minor cosmetic cracks that happened during cooling. For re-pours I heated the wax up the same way, being even and slow in my heating as well as moving the kettle around to stir the wax up inside.

Before I even begin heating up or pouring the wax into the tea cups I had to cut wicks (be sure to add an inch and a half more than you need-this will be for wrapping around something that holds the wick upright and in place while pouring).
I had never made candles before, so I wasn't very prepared - I ended up using wooden spoons to wrap the top of the wick around.

After the candles are poured, allow them to cool as they are. Once they are cooled completely you can do any re-pours that might be necessary.  
Ta-da! Easy as that, now you have really cute candles that are not only beautiful to look at but add a classy and vintage feel to any room you put them in :)