Silk Tie Quilt

I made this quilt for my sister in law.  It’s a gift for her Dad, who turns 60 this year.

Each square is a swatch of silk cloth used for neckties.  She sent me her collection of swatches and requested a simple quilt with a black background.

I used Kona black for the sashing, and cut the squares at 4 inches, the sashing at 2.5 inches.  This means the finished blocks are 3.5 inches square and the sashing is 2 inches wide.  There are 80 different swatches in all, so I did 10 rows of 8 blocks.  The entire quilt finishes at 47 inches wide by 57 inches long.

It’s really a unique quilt because each square is a different pattern.  I like how bold and vibrant it looks.  The interesting thing about it was using cotton and silk together in the same quilt.  Because I had to press all the seams on a silk setting, I felt like it was difficult to get my cotton pressed and set as well as I like to.  Working with the silk was also trickier than I anticipated.  I’ve sewn with silk before, but not with woven silk patterns.  There is so much weaving in these swatches that they were much more elastic than I thought they would be.  Overall, I felt like I was able to piece it all together without too much trouble and with minimal stretching.

Quilting it was also a challenge.  I didn’t want to quilt on the silk because it would ruin the quilt, but I also felt like I should do something to stabilize the squares.  They were cut with pinking shears originally, but the weave in the patterns made them easy to fray.   I ended up opting to sew about 1/4 inch on each side of the seams.   The backing is black, but this overexposed shot shows the quilting pattern I used.

The puckering would wash up beautifully if this was a washable quilt.  That’s one of the biggest drawbacks of  this piece.  The fact that it must be dry cleaned to preserve the silk means that the cotton will never soften up and take shape like it should.  The other drawback to this quilt is that the black cotton is a magnet for lint.  I’ve never sewn with a solid black cotton before, and just didn’t really think of it until it was covered with lint.

That said, it’s an eye-catching quilt.  It was a good opportunity to break out of my comfort zone and try to make what someone else envisions.  The black sashing combined with the deep rich tones in the silk was a color combination that was also new to me.   My son says he likes it better than any of the quilts I’ve previously made.  I don’t blame him.  It’s very strong and masculine.  I’m pleased with the final product and I really hope she likes it, too.  It’s now on its way to a birthday celebration in Washington.

Jennifer

4 comments

  • wow. I wish it could be washable because it is lovely. Really turned out awesome, you should be so proud!
    E

  • This is so cool! My mother quilts and I know years ago she was collecting ties for something. Not sure if she ever did anything with them. I will have to show her this quilt.

    Great job!

  • Emma T.

    Beautiful! My grandfather just passed and he had so many ties. I’ve never made a quilt before, but I think this would be a great way to use his ties! Thanks for posting.

  • Arzina

    Beautiful quilt! I love it. Do you know how it looks after all these years? I bet it is treasured.

    Not sure you will see this comment or not and any advice you have would be appreciated.

    have collected many silk ties…And I washed them. Now my plan is to take them apart, put interfacing to help with the stretch and then cut them up. I love the simplicity and sophistication of your quilt. ..So I feel inspired to get started. I so appreciate you sharing your process, your experience and thoughts of the challenges you encountered when working with “tie” fabric. Also because ties are cut on a bias the play or stretch becomes more of an issue. Thank you!

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