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Re-purposing: Turn a Men’s Tie into a Boy’s Tie

Let’s talk neck ties.


My husband has always had a huge ol’ collection of them hanging in his closet.  He has always told me it’s the one thing in his “dressed-up” wardrobe, that he can really change up.  You know, dress pants and suit coats only come in so many colors…….so he likes having choices.  It makes me laugh because I’m pretty sure he has more ties than I do shoes.  And you better believe that each tie has the correct “feel” to it and the same stiffness.  Oh, and if he had to pick one tie print, he would choose a striped tie.  Every. Time.  He always says that a striped tie is a power tie.  Ha!  (He likes to show me pictures of powerful business men but also religious men in our church that he admires, all wearing striped ties…….and declares that “yup, the important ones wear stripes”.  It’s this ongoing joke between the two of us and if he’s ever wearing like a paisley tie, I tease him and say something like, “you must not be feeling it today”.  Haha!  Well, yeah, when my hair is up in a wet bun, I’m not feeling it either! ;) )


Anyway, Steve has too many ties to count.  So, I asked him the other day if he wanted to get rid of any.  For a really good “cause”.  (I didn’t tell him quite yet that I wanted to cut them up.)  Anyway, he agreed and gave me a pile of them.  Then, I told him I was turning them into Connor-sized ties……and he loved it. Whew!



I picked out a “power-print” striped one first……..and turned that long ol’ thing, into Connor’s new FAVORITE tie. :)






The two ends are from the original tie.  I just took some of the length from the middle and slimmed down the wide part just a bit……..and that’s it!  (Wait, why keep the two ends and chop out the middle???  Because re-constructing one of the tips would be a lot more work and are harder to make even and beautiful with silky fabric.  But don’t worry, the re-sewn edge will be hidden around their neck.)






I have always made the majority of Connor’s ties (using the Little Guy Tie Pattern) and have always used cotton fabric.  So, once he put this tie on, he couldn’t get past how sooooooft it was!  He kept petting the poor thing.  (Yeah, big difference in texture…)






And because this is a real TIED type of tie, I had a little tie-tying to learn.  Because Steve’s not always around when I’m getting Connor dressed in a shirt and tie.  I already knew how to do that simple single-knot thing…….but that double-windsor knot has always tripped me up.  I’m pretty sure if I would have allowed my son’s face show up on this here blog, with a single knot tied tie around his neck, my husband would have just died.  Remember his whole thing with ties??  Well, it’s not just the texture and print that he’s particular about……it’s also the knot.  The tie below on the left = bad.  The one on the right = well, almost good.  It doesn’t have a “dimple”……..but that conversation is for a whole other day.  (Please tell me someone else’s husband/father/boyfriend is this particular about their ties. We need a support group.)






But, I looked on youtube and figured out the Double Windsor while Steve was at work yesterday.  Whew!


Now, Connor has his little Double-Windsor tied tie in place………….so that he can do what little boy’s do best while wearing a tie. ;)






Now, go and ask the men you know if you can give their old ties some new life (or head to the thrift store…..they have tons there).  And then snip them open, re-size them a bit, stitch closed, and then place on a little guy you know. 






Seeing a little boy in a tie……….makes me smile.  Every. Single. Time.




Would you like to re-size a men’s tie into a smaller boy’s tie too?



First of all, Connor is 5 and wears a 5-6 in little boy sizes.  The measurements I used were specifically for him.  Adjust accordingly.


Steve’s old tie was too long and too wide at the bigger end.  So first, I shortened the length of the tie.  I decided that I wanted a finished tie of 45 inches.  So, I cut off some of the length in the middle and kept the two ends that were already finished, so that I didn’t have to do any many re-constructing.  But I also added a 1/2 inch to each side, for a seam allowance.  **Just be sure that these two cut ends are the same width, making re-attaching them easier.**



Then, snip open the back side of the two cut ends.



And then fold back the lining piece that’s inside and pin it out of the way.



Do the same with both cut ends.  Then, open up both ends and place them together with right sides together.  Look for the folds of the tie that were from the actual sides of the finished tie. 



Match up those folds and pin them together.



Then pin the rest of the top edge together.  (The sides may not match up perfectly, but that’s okay.  As long as those folds match up, you’re good to go!)



Sew together, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.



Then, using an iron AT A LOWER TEMP, press open this seam.



Then, lay the lining pieces back down in place, cutting off any excess.  (But leave enough so that the two sides overlap a bit.)



Then, fold over the side that didn’t have any extra fold.



And then fold under the extra fold of the other side (just like it was previously) and then fold it over on top of the first side to close up the tie.



Pin in place.



Now, you can leave the tie nice and fat…..or slim it down.  To do so, trim open the back of the tie and then get the lining out of any casing that it may be resting in.



Then, lay it back down flat and trim in the sides just a bit.  (I took about a half inch off both sides.)  But as you cut higher and higher, you gradually lessen the amount you’re cutting off and then taper off to nothing.  I tapered off about half way up the tie.



Then, do the same thing to the actual fabric of the tie.



Now, it’s time to make some new folds.  Use an iron (at a low temp) and iron the first side up, right next to the edge of the lining that’s down below.



With the other side, fold over the top edge about a 1/2 inch and iron flat.  Then, fold the whole side down and sandwich the tie closed.



Then, open it back up and slip the lining back into the casing.  (I just kept it out while ironing, so I could see where it was to fold around it.)



Pin the tie closed.



And then hand stitch it closed, using a simple hidden (or ladder) stitch.  You can take big stitches and it doesn’t have to be perfect.  (Need help with Hand Stitching??)



Then press everything again, creating new crisp edges……but don’t turn that iron up too high or you’ll melt your tie fabric.



And then let your little guy enjoy!





And hey, enjoy your weekend……it’s Friday!! :)



Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Jenny Baldassaro says:

    Thanks so much! I have neanderthal sewing skills and just did this for my 8th-grade son’s homecoming this evening! It was easy and such a time saver for me. He had found “just the right tie” and I didn’t think twice buying a men’s tie for him… too long! He’s so thankful too!

  2. Robin says:

    I have a box full of thrift store ties. With 5 grandsons, we always need something the next morning. I am a novice at sewing. Most of my basic sewing instructions came from a wonderful home economics teacher in high school 35 years ago. I am now trying to learn via Pinterest and the sites it leads me to. Bias tape or should I say the neckband on the bow ties for some reason is something I just can’t get right. They are never the same size all the way to the end no matter what method I try.

    What is the fabric called that is inside the men’s neck tie used for the liner? I have asked at 3 fabric/quilting stores and no one knows. I have tried felt, but it is too thick. My daughter ordered a neck tie from, The Belle and The She only uses an iron on interfacing that was called French Press at Hancock’s and no other fabric. It leaves the polyester knit interfacing showing on the 2 ends of the tie. I am not looking for that.

    I have just bought a new sewing machine (Brother CS-6000i) off of Ebay for $30. The lady said it was new in the box, but it had an error code. I worked in a hospital laboratory for over 25 years and we had to fix those $500,000 instruments that gave you the blood reports the doctors used for the diagnosis. I was game at taking anything apart for $30. She only had a nest of thread deep in the bobbin case and that saved me over $200. What a blessing. Then my daughter found a Brother 1034D Serger at a store that had been returned and marked down to $100. Perfect condition and it had everything in the box. So I get it, definite signs I am meant to pick up sewing again.

    Love your dedication to helping others, thank you. Can you tell it’s my first post on a blog?

  3. Layne says:

    Love this tutorial will have to try it!!!

  4. Brock says:

    Awesome tutorial! I don’t have a son, but as a short/slim man, this will come in handy. I’ve seen other methods using hem tape or glue and ironing, but this looks like a much better solution.

    Going to give this a try tonight.


  5. Pat says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. I needed to cut off a tie for the ring bearer in a wedding so his tie would match the groomsmen. This worked like a charm.

  6. Shantelle says:

    Reading about your husband made me feel like I was reading about mine! He has the exact same feelings toward his ties. It really is a love hate relationships (he loves them all and I hate the amount) haha. Thanks for the tutorial…I will definitely have to try this out!!!

  7. Bill says:

    How about the reverse? I am approaching 70 and have my school tie from 55 years ago – obviously kid’s size. I would like to wear it to reunions but it looks silly. How do I make my tie larger? Bill

  8. Margo, Thrift at Home says:

    yay! I jumped up from this post and ransacked my husband’s ties! He doesn’t like to wear them, but our SON does! I’ve been sewing bowties, but he’s been pressing for neckties. This doesn’t look too hard – thanks for the tutorial.

  9. Nicole says:

    Love the tie! Do you remember where you got it? I can’t wait to try this. It seems very straight forward, but I still get nervous. I guess I should practice on a thrift tie first :) My son would love matching Dad/son ties.

  10. Mindy says:

    Thanks for this tutorial! I’ll save it for my future grandson. I have the need to extend a few ties for my husband who is tall and needs a couple more inches to make his tie meet his belt. I plan to shop for some ties that “match” those short ones, looking for similar weight and fabric ties. Using the same principles as above I should be able to splice a piece in and make him happy with a longer tie!

  11. Sharlyn says:

    great looking tie! My husband is super picky about his ties. I don’t even try to pick them out anymore. They have to be 100% silk and be just the right length, and pattern, which is the hardest part to pick out. It’s a guy thing I decided :)

  12. Emily says:

    What a world we live in when we complain about having to make a few extra clicks to read about anything. We are so spoiled! I love this tie tutorial and can’t wait to try it on my hubby’s old ties. Thanks for being such a generous blogger and no worries ill keeping clicking over to read.

  13. Mea says:

    YOUR HUSBAND IS NOT THE ONLY ONE!!! :-) I have had innumerable tie lessons as well!!! And here I thought I was the only one out there!!!!! My husband is in the ministry, and as such wears ties every Sunday at least. He is very, very, very, very, very particular about that double windsor knot as well. In fact I laughed so hard when I read your side comment asking if anyone else has a man with the same particulars!!!! I was laughing so hard my husband wanted to see what was making me laugh. When I showed him the single/double windsor ties side by side photos, he said, “Well, just look at it!! It is more professional!! ” Which made me laugh harder!!!
    Thanks for this tutorial, and thanks for a belly full of laughs!!
    Great to know I am NOT ALONE!!!!

  14. Allison Miller says:

    You’re not alone, my husband is a tie freak too. It has to be a good quality tie, not too busy, not too plain, nice length, wide but not too wide, and he has to tie each tie in it’s designated knots for designated outfits. I guess that’s where they get in their vanity since we get pretty much all the other pretty things in life! And I love Connors new tie, super cute!

  15. Rhonda @ Silly Mummy says:

    Awesome and great idea.

    I know a lady who uses old ties to make a skirt!

  16. NK says:

    I have had a stack of my husband’s ties that I’ve been meaning to experiment on for the very same purpose, and I feel much better that you’ve paved the way! Thank you for this post.

  17. Katy(LethargicLass) says:

    Great post as usual :) I get your blog posts in email and they also are now just summaries and I have to click over to read the whole post

  18. Emily says:

    I love this idea. Clean out the closet and recycle old clothing? Yes please. Though, I wonder why you didn’t join the tie on the straight of grain, especially with a woven stripe pattern where you could just cut along the edge of a stripe to find it. Bias cut silk is especially prone to stretching and joining on a bias (what ends up as a seam almost perpendicular to the edges of your tie in the end) may be challenging to keep from distorting, depending on the fabric.
    I love your easy to follow explanations with all the pictures and frequently point people who are learning to sew in your direction. I know that this is a 10 minute project, but maybe that (joining bias cut strips) is a topic for another day in your sewing basics series.

  19. Carrie says:

    Yay! Yay! Yay! I just noticed that my son’s ties were short to get away with and now I can make some for him, thank you!!

  20. rubada jahan says:

    I found a really cool mens gift site called

  21. Hunny says:

    You never cease to amaze me.

  22. Rob says:

    We have discussed doing this to my old ties for years! You are so smart, Ashley! …and your model is so handsome! We are both LOL

  23. Kelie says:

    The persnickety tie-tying person in our house is me. My husband puts the tie around his neck and comes over to me. I then tie it while standing behind him. His knots are so wonky and he hates tying them!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! My little guy has a soccer ball tie in his drawer. I will be doing this to his tie in the near future!

  25. Nicole says:

    You remind me of my sister…SO incredibly talented! I love looking at your blog! Random question that has nothing to do with ties, but where did you get your ironing board cover?! It is absolutely adorable!!

  26. sarah says:

    Great idea! I’ll have to do this one!

    I don’t have any problems reading this blog- was there a change or something? Or are people just getting on a strange tangent this Friday afternoon? I get it delivered to my inbox and it’s awesome.

    1. Ashley says:

      Glad you like it Sarah!

      And yeah, I’m not sure what’s going on with the RSS feed but I haven’t changed anything……kinda weird. Good to know the emails are still coming through for you. Thanks!

    2. Megan says:

      I subscribe to your email updates and the last 2 were just summarized and weren’t complete posts…. Just thought you’d want to know. I don’t remember how I subscribed or when, so I’m probably not that useful. :( Sorry!

      Love your blog by the way.

  27. Rachel says:

    Thanks so much!! My middle son loves ties and it’s so hard to find store bought ones that are acceptable to my husband (read: not girly).

    As for clicking through to the blog, I’ve switched to bloglovin’ over feedly because feedly was not giving me all the new posts from the blogs I follow! I would go to their blog and find that there were posts I never saw. Try bloglovin’ instead!

    1. Ashley says:

      Yeah, those husbands are picky about their ties…….so, that translates into them being picky about their sons ties too. I can relate! :)

      And thanks for the tip about bloglovin’. Good to know!

  28. Whitney says:

    I have stopped reading most blogs that require me to go to their site. Unfortunately, even though it is just a few extra clicks, it is enough to lose readers. Sadly, I may become a monthly or quarterly reader instead of following with every post. You are super talented and I love your blog, but having to go to each and every blog I read makes it a no go for me.

    1. Ashley says:

      Hey Whitney, I’m not really sure what’s going on. I haven’t changed anything but some have said that their Feedlly reader has changed some things…, if you’re using feedly, maybe this is why?? Also, feedburner has quit and has been such a pain, so maybe that had something to do with it? Sorry about the drop off but I’m not sure what to do, since I haven’t changed anything. I’ll let you know if I hear something different.


  29. Debbie C says:

    Such a great idea! Right now I am expecting a boy (any day now!), and love making cute ties out of quilting fabric, there are so many adorable prints out there! But one day he will want a more “manly” tie and this will be a great solution…thanks!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh yay for a baby boy……congrats!! And yes, that’s what I’ve always done until now, is make his ties from cotton fabric. I decided it’s finally time to get him a few “real” ties. Ha! And he feels pretty grown up in them. :)

  30. Debbie says:

    Hi, I love your blog and have switched to using Feedly to read it (since the demise of Google Reader). However, you now just come up as a couple sentences of “summary”. Would you please reconsider allowing full content to come up on readers? I know a couple of clicks are not that hard, but I always end up unsubscribing when blogs do that. It is just so much easier to read everything in one place. Thanks!!

    And I love this tie tutorial. I tried doing something like this a couple of years ago and they didn’t really work out like I had hoped, but I was also trying to leave the knot in. I think I just need to learn how to tie a proper knot. :) I still have a bunch of the ties I bought at the thrift store (you can find some great 100% silk ties there!!) and I will give it another go. Thanks.

    1. Ashley says:

      Haha, I know. I used to have my husband tie the knot and then just slide it to loosen it over my boy’s head. I finally decided to learn myself and wouldn’t you know, it’s really not that bad. :) (Head on over to youtube….you’ll see trillions of tutorials.)

      As for Feedly, I’m not really sure what’s going on……but I haven’t changed a thing. It may have something to do with Feedly but it could also be due to the weird stuff going on with feedburner. I’m still trying to work out the kinks to use a different email subscribe button…..and I’ll post more about it as soon as I can.

  31. ChrisandNicole says:

    This is awesome!! We don’t have boys yet but when we do, I will definitely be doing this!!

  32. Mands @ Rhody Life says:

    This is such a good idea! I hope I am able to use this someday if I have a little boy! Also, have you added a jump break in your posts? I am no longer able to view the entire thing in my Feedly. Just wondering if that was intentional, or if you were unaware of the change. Thanks!!

    1. Ashley says:

      Hmmmm, no, I haven’t changed a thing…….that’s weird that it’s coming up differently for you. I’m not familiar with Feedly but maybe something changed with them?

    2. Stacey says:

      Yeah, mine are showing up chopped too. It says something about that this is a content summary, and click over for the full post.

    3. Anonymous says:

      Yeah, me too. It’s super annoying (sorry for the bluntness, but just a pet peeve of mine). I like you better in the reader. :)

  33. MamaG says:

    I don’t understand why you would snip off the end and then reattach it. What am I missing?

    1. Ashley says:

      This is just so you can keep the nice finished pointy ends. To just cut off the tie and re-make the finished end would be a lot harder because you have to get that pointy tip even and pretty and you have to add extra lining and re-enforcement to make it all look nice. Chopping out some of the center section of the tie and then re-attaching it is a lot less work and much easier for beginners. Plus, the re-sewn line will be hidden around the neck.

      Hope that makes more sense! :)

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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