Last fall I made a small bag to carry either my iPod or my cell phone. It has a long strap to wear cross body to keep my hands free to do other things. I can also carry a little cash by dropping it down the tip of the bag where it collects in the bottom.What a bunch of pretty neckties and they are destined to become more small purses. When looking for neckties to make these small bags choose neckties as wide as you can find. These ties measured around 4” wide at the largest end. I would not choose any smaller ones or the bag will not be large enough to hold an iPod or cell phone. The first step is to cut off the length needed to make the bag. Measure and cut the necktie 15” from the tip. Save the rest of the tie to make the strap so set it aside.The first step is to unstitch the seam on the necktie and press the seams open. The seams in the original tie are large and can be pressed to a narrower width – one pressed under and the other left flat. The reason I do this is to make the narrower end of this tie piece wider so you can get the widest pocket possible. I cut a 1/4” piece of fusible and press it to the underside of the folded seam. Fold the other side over the interfacing as wide as possible then the side with the fusible and press (paper removed of course.) I do hand stitch this seam closed even though it is fused shut as I found it can loosen with folding and unfolding the flap on the bag. Leave the interfacing inside this section so the purse/bag has enough body to hold it’s shape.
Fold up the narrow end and fit your cell phone or iPod into the pocket and stitch the sides. I do have one bag I made for a friend that I need to make the pocket wider and longer. Her cell phone would not fit this pocket so I plan to stitch some extra fabric to the sides of the pocket so I can make a pocket to hold the wider cell phone. I will add some length to the pocket too to accommodate the longer cell phone. It is a good idea to pin the pocket and fit the phone before stitching – save yourself some ripping that way.Making the strap - Take the interfacing out of the left over necktie section and press it flat. I trimmed the seams to 1/4” and added fusible to the seam allowances and pressed them flat to the body of the necktie. I found the the fused seams were easier to deal with and stopped the fabric from fraying too.
Fold the fabric in half and cut two strips the length of the fabric that are 1 3/4” wide. Seam the lengths together to make one long strip. Treat the seam the same as the others in this strip.I used cording I purchased in the drapery department of JoAnn Fabrics for the inside of my strap. It is just a twisted cotton cording. I chose a size that is approximately 3/8” in diameter. That is the size I chose to fill the strap but make yours thicker or thinner – your choice. Cut a piece of cording a couple of inches longer than your fabric strip.
I like using the cording foot #59 for my Bernina sewing machine to stitch the strap or you could use a zipper foot or what ever foot you find with your machine to do this job. Before starting to stitch I took a piece of clear packing tape and taped one end forming a point (check out the photos.) This will come in handy to thread the cording back into the tube after stitching. Lay the cording (un-taped end at this end) along the center of the right side of the fabric strip and bring the raw edges together. Straight stitch across the end of the cording inside the tie fabric to secure. Now start stitching the length of the strap by enclosing the cording as you stitch along the length. This is where the #59 foot really comes in handy as the cording just moves along under the foot. I moved the needle position to stitch a little closer to the cord.
One thing to check is to make sure you are not catching the cording in the stitching and need the stitching not right next to the cording either. Give yourself a little slack to make turning the tube and inserting the cording back inside much easier. If the stitching is too close to the cording it will be tough to thread the cording inside after it is turned. You may want to experiment with a scrap of tie fabric and scrap of cording to figure out the best seam allowance. As you can see from the photos below the seam allowance is trimmed down to 1/4” before it is turned so I don't worry too much about the width of the seam allowance but just try to keep the tube width the same as I stitch with the cording inside it. Tie fabric is pretty slippery so if the seams slip apart it is no big deal since they are trimmed down afterward anyway.
Next step is to cut a piece of the tie fabric 2” wide and about 4” long. Press 1/2” in on both sides. At this point you need to figure out how long a strap you need. As I mentioned earlier I make my straps long enough to carry the bag cross body so they are pretty long – 57”. I pin the strap to the bag in a position where the flap will fold over. This strap is stitched together in a circle so take that into account too. Stitch the two ends to the sides of the little strip then wrap it around the corded strap trimming off the excess if not needed. The end is turned under and stitched down to secure the join in the corded strap. I hope this is not too hard to understand – check out the photos to help.
Fold the flap over so the point meets the end and mark with pins. This is the place where the strap will be stitched. Stitch across the strap on each end, positioning the joined ends on the inside of the flap. It is important not to stitch across from one side to the other end as the end of the bag will be open from the tip down and extra “stuff” can be carried in this pocket too.
The last step is to stitch a large snap to the tip and base of the outside pocket. Ta – Da….it’s done!
Here are the 13 bags I made from neckties. One thing I didn’t say was I purchased most of these ties from Goodwill or thrift stores. I do believe most of them were brand new ties so I didn’t have to worry about stains.