How to Make Purses from Mens Neckties Part 1

Finished Purse Samples

Closeup of Nautical frame
Closeup of Nautical frame
Closeup of embellishment and stitching
Closeup of embellishment and stitching
Box Frame purse
Box Frame purse
This is the back of the purse
This is the back of the purse

Making Purses from mens neck ties - Part I

Imagine my delight when I happened upon a pile of old silk neck ties stashed in a cardboard box at a garage sale. A whole host of ideas flashed in my head as I pulled each one out and marveled over the soft texture of the old fine quality silk. Everyone a work of art and still in marvelous condition. None of them were stained or torn considering their age. Much to my amazement they weren't rotting or shredded as you sometimes find in the silk pieces used in vintage crazy quilts. This discovery opened the door to a current passion of mine, reproducing vintage purses from 1800 and 1900s era purse frames using vintage and antique neck ties and fabric and then embellishing them to make one of a kind purses.

The following Hub is a journey/ abridged instructional piece on the process of making these purses. *I will break this into 2 or 3 part Hubs so that this one doesn't get too long. There will also be a sister Hub for strictly silk ribbon embroidery embellishment for purses, sans the "purse construction" portion.

First things first. Let's talk about these antique purse frames, where I get them as a general rule and what I look for. The photos in this hub include several examples of purse frames I have purchased for the purpose of making reproduction purses out of old frames. My first choice where to buy frames is Ebay. If you type in Vintage or Antique purses or purse frames it will bring you quite a lengthy gallery of purses and or frames that are up for bid. Most importantly are three things, the frame must be in good overall condition, ie the clasp or closure must work properly and close tight. The hinges must not be sprung. It MUST have "sew holes" along the frame in order to be able to stitch the body of the purse back onto the frame. Prices for these frames runs the gambit. Anywhere from a few dollars to over a thousand. It is not necessary to pay top dollar for a jewel encrusted frame to end up with a beautiful finished product. The second place to look is antique stores and if you get really lucky thrift stores, but don't hold your breath on that one. Or you can purchase new frames from the sites listed below.

Sometimes these frames are found with the body of the purse still in tact. Depending on the age and how well the owners have cared for these purses will determine what kind of condition the fabric will be in. Many times the body of the purse is long gone and only the frame is left. Ebay is also a very good place to do some research while you are on that category of purses.

Look at many of the purses for sale from that same era. Notice the shapes and styles of those purses. This will give you a feel for how to draw your purse pattern if you buy a frame that no longer has the original purse body attached. I have also bought purses where the body was torn or aged beyond repair but the frame was still in good condition. I carefully removed the body of the purse from the frame and kept the body. This gave me a "pattern" for that frame in case i wanted to make that purse shape very similar to the original one that went with that frame. * Here is a web sites where one can purchase "new" purse frames, some that have that vintage look >>>

Supplies needed to make a purse:

the purse frame of your choice

men's Silk neck ties prepared for sewing/ satin fabric or the damask for the lining and the backing* see below

scissors/ pencil/ pins

light weight iron on interfacing

embellishments such as antique buttons, beads, laces, etc

light weigh paper such as "doctors paper or foundation paper"

needle and thread

sewing machine

iron and ironing board

**Note I ONLY use Silk fabric neck ties which is a personal preference.

1. Preparing the tie fabric: With a seam ripper or scissor, carefully open up the back of the tie from one end to the other and take out the loose interfacing piece. Then steam press the tie flat. With a light weight fusible interfacing iron the interfacing to the back side of the ties to give it more stability. I also do this with the fabric i intend to use for the lining of the purse. **Note I usually use a medium weight satin for the lining or a coordinating damask which wouldn't need to have the interfacing ironed on.

2. On the paper sketch or draw out your purse body shape adding 1/2inch to the outside for seam allowance, then cut out this pattern on the outer line and set aside. You will NOT be sewing onto this pattern piece.

3. Take another sheet of paper which is larger than the pattern piece but cut similar in shape to the purse pattern. Usually beginning in the center of the paper, I lay my first piece of tie fabric FACE UP and pin with one or two pins just to hold in place to the paper. I do not mark this paper with lines or anything. It just gives you a foundation to sew on. It will later be torn away. The second piece is laid right sides facing to the center piece. Beginning at one end stitch a seam line to the other end to hold the new piece down sewing with a 1/4inch seam allowance, then flip open. Then press with an iron. This is known as the "flip and sew" method. Continue adding strips on either side of the center piece until you have worked your way to the outer edges of the piece of paper you are sewing on. Cut out a whole piece of fabric for the back of the purse in your fabric of choice. If you choose to embellish your bag front now is the time to do that. I use my fancy embroidery machine stitches to run down the seam lines in various thread colors. I sew on buttons and beads keeping in mind not to have them too close to the outer seam lines.

Ok!! On to Part 2 for how to do the lining and sewing the lining to the purse body. Then sewing the purse body to the frame. *I am also posting another Hub using the same technique for constructing one piece purse bodies with hand done silk ribbon embroidery instead of using neck ties. So Hop on over to that hub too to see these beauties that I have made.

neck ties ready to use

Antique Frames

Closeup showing the sewing holes
Closeup showing the sewing holes

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Comments 13 comments

Neil74 profile image

Neil74 6 years ago


"Note I usually use a medium weight satin for the lining or a coordinating damask which wouldn't need to have the interfacing ironed on. "

May I know the reason for such procedure?

THank you.

Wishing you the best


writinginalaska profile image

writinginalaska 6 years ago from southeast Alaska Author

Neil74, thanks for stopping by my hub and I hope you enjoyed the instructions and visited the two other related Hubs as well. In answer to your question, medium weight satin usually doesn't need to be lined with the interfacing

and neither does the damask fabric. Did that answer your question? lvh

nocreditneeded profile image

nocreditneeded 6 years ago from Texas

These pictures are SO cool! Great hub.

writinginalaska profile image

writinginalaska 6 years ago from southeast Alaska Author

thank you for stopping by nocreditneeded. So glad you enjoyed this Hub and have decided to become a follower. :) lvh

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 6 years ago from Sydney

Lovely idea, though in your shoes I would've been selling those lovely ties on eBay - they were probably worth something!

Tip - the text with no photos looks indigestible, split your text up into more capsules and place your photos beside the text they're relevant to. If you tick "slideshow", people can view them full-size at any time.

mepperly profile image

mepperly 6 years ago from Vancouver,WA

Super great info and ideas I will be sharing this. Thank you.. I will be following your hubs too.

writinginalaska profile image

writinginalaska 6 years ago from southeast Alaska Author

thank you Mepperly. I was hoping someone would get some use out of this Hub. Let me know what you come up with. Thanks for the follow too.

mepperly profile image

mepperly 6 years ago from Vancouver,WA

I just found some fabulous upcycled sweater coats one that I am going to attempt. I am also going to work on some tie projects. :o)

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

What a fantastic idea. I would love to make one of these purses but afraid hubby would be lost without his ties.

writinginalaska profile image

writinginalaska 6 years ago from southeast Alaska Author

thank you for the comment Susan, glad you enjoyed my informational how-to hub. I get all my ties from thrift stores, consignment/ garage sales or donations. thanks fo the follow too. ;)

profile image

Liz Walmoth 4 years ago

Just beautiful!

writinginalaska profile image

writinginalaska 4 years ago from southeast Alaska Author

thank you Liz, they are a labor of love indeed and I continue to make more. LVH

writinginalaska profile image

writinginalaska 3 years ago from southeast Alaska Author

Chickenpickns ~ i can't figure out how to leave you a message regarding the fan mail you left for me. Here is a link to part 2

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