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.



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

  • 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.

  • Helene

    I wash all of my silk neckties before processing them to make a quilt. I have washed a silk necktie quilt and it does fine. I wash it on delicate/cold water using my homemade laundry detergen and dry it on super low heat setting. looks just fine and is holding up just fine to. H

  • Jim

    I am a newbie to quilting and I love this pattern. I was wondering if you could take a black sheet and sew the squares on but leave the edge ragged and frayed looking, how could I do that without it totally unraveling and ruining the quilt? I want this to be used and washable.

  • Leah

    What if you used interfacing on each silk square. Would this not make it more stable and hold up better.

  • 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!

  • Hi: I have been commissioned to make a tie quilt, so am looking for ideas. Came across yours: fabulous! Simple yet impressive.
    A question: you cut the squares 4″, so I am assuming that you “opened up” each tie so that you could use the fabric form the front as well as the back; true? So did you have any problem with pressing out the fold creases? thanks

  • Judy

    Hi just to let you know, you could wash tbe silk prior to takinh the ties,apart to use tbem. I did this for a project and it worked fine. Either wash them all together getting a twisted mess, in the machine or wash them each individually.

  • Denise

    I believe the author says the silk came in the form of “swatches” not actual ties. Depending in the size of the swatch you could gently wash before our I h. You could baste swatches together into one big piece and gently wash. Basting including the outer edges of the large pieces tops would help with fraying .you would then deconstruct the swatches. Washing one large piece vs 80 swatches is more manageable and the structure of the large piece will limit fraying. Interfacing would be a great idea for stabilizing..I make a lot of T-shirt quilts and using interfacing (iron on) is a must!

  • Maggiorotti

    Tanks for tour post. I was lookjing for idea because my sister give me lot of ties. Très beau, merci

  • Lonnie O'Sullivan

    I have been playing with silk ties and have a few tips that may help,
    1) pre-wash your cotton in a machine
    2) hand wash your ties before you.
    take them apart iron them (this
    keeps them from losing shape on
    3) use a very sharp razor blade to. R remove the label and the little
    Loop that you tuck the tail into and the back stitch on both ends of the seam then simply pull the thread and the tie comes apart.
    4) you won’t lose much by trimming the seams off of the points (but it will save you a bunch of hastle)

    Last but not least some thin paper for backing (like that used for dress patterns etc. And a light coat of spray glue, sprayed on the paper will not only keep the fabrics shape through cutting and sewing but save your sanity as well.

  • I have admired this quilt for years, and would love to make one/ have one made with my late grand father’s ties.

    Please contact me!

    Be well,

  • Bonnie Kent

    I am ready to make a tie quilt for our son-in-lawand have researched much online info.

    More than one person advised washing the silk ties in hot water, then drying them in a hot dryer. I did that and the ties turned out beautifully!! Looked like new!

    Also, there is a silk thread in the back of each tie, and I just started at the bottom back of each tie and gently pulled the thread from the bottom to the narrow end of the tie at the other end.

    I love this pattern and think I will use it for my quilt, but not sure about using black for the background and backing.

  • Bonnie Kent

    I should have mentioned that the quilt will be washable and dryable after the initial washing process!

  • Fabulous quilt! Thank you for sharing the making of it. I have been collecting ties for years from thrift shops, and have made several quilts and wall hangings. I always hand wash the ties before I pull them apart, you never know where they have been! Once I’ve pulled them apart I discard the inner linings, press the fabric and iron light fusible interfacing on to all of the pieces so they are ready to make into something when I want to.
    One of my quilts used the bottom (wide) section of each tie without pulling it apart – just cut off the narrow section. I attached each tie piece to a block of shirt fabric, then joined the blocks, so it looks like a bunch of shirts with ties. I’m in the process of making crazy quilt blocks with my tie leftovers from other projects. The silk and polyester sheen looks wonderful.

  • Denise Burchill

    I machine wash and dry my ties before sewing. Then my quilts are washable. I also use iron on interfacing to stabilize the silk.

  • jennifer

    Great suggestions, Denise! Thank you!

  • Donna

    I agree with Denise. I have done four quilts from Neck ties and I prewashed all the ties in the washing machine on gentle cycle first, but hung them to dry. Any ties that didn’t survive the wash cycle, I don’t want in my quilt. I am a prewash all fabric first belief.

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