Friday, September 30, 2011

Bow Ties

Yesterday I read this on my friend Megan's Facebook wall: "Sometimes DIY projects are SERIOUSLY overrated. Don't dispute me on this. It's a fact." After my recent experience with making bow ties for the first time, I am going to have to agree with her.

A few weeks ago I got this brilliant idea that my boys needed to wear bow ties for our upcoming family pictures (today!) that my friend Nicole is going to take for us. I started shopping online and the cheapest ones I found were $15 a pop. I have five boys that need bow ties if you include my husband, so you do the math. Not cheap.

As I was trying to figure out what to do, I had the idea that I could sew them. They wouldn't be that hard (famous last words). I could use one of my husband's bow ties as a pattern. I started looking for fabric and aside from being pretty expensive, there just wasn't any that I liked.

Then I had another brilliant idea (I am full of them). I would go to the thrift store and see if there was something there I could use. I came home with an orange gingham pencil skirt ($1.99) and two shirts (I think they were a dollar each). My little guy adopted one of them since it was just his size, so that was out. I decided to use the skirt.

I began by picking it all apart (even the waistband), then I washed and ironed it all. My mom sent me a bow tie in the mail that I could pick apart and use as a pattern but I started searching online and found a pattern that I liked so I decided to use that instead.

That's when things started to go wrong.

I had several friends offer help but I felt like I could do it myself. When things started going wrong, I could have asked for help but I didn't even really know what to ask. It was little things that made the process so frustrating--the kinds of things that are obvious to people who sew often. But I don't sew. I grew up with a mother who is an excellent seamstress. Beyond amazing.  I never had to sew and on the few occasions that I tried I often got frustrated, so I haven't done it a lot.

After working through all the little problems, I finally got all the bow ties sewn with right sides together and began the tedious process of turning them inside out. It took for-ev-er. I've heard you should use a crochet hook or knitting needles to help. I don't have either. I do have a callous on the end of my finger from turning blasted bow ties. At about 10:00 last night a light bulb went on in my head and I figured out a much easier way to turn them than I had been. The very last tie took me about two minutes to turn. The others had all taken upwards of 45 minutes. Each. That was one of those things that someone probably could have told me but I didn't even know to ask. I just assumed I knew what I was doing.

With the bow ties mostly sewn, I decided to try one on Monkey, who was home from school sick. It was comical. Ridiculous really. It was then that I went back and looked at the pattern to see if I had done anything wrong and noticed that the pattern is for 24 months to 3T. *Doh* (insert head slap)

I had spent hours--HOURS--and now I wasn't sure I could make them work at all. I had used almost every bit of fabric from the skirt on all the pieces for the five ties so I couldn't even start over. I called my husband in tears and said, "Why did I think this was a good idea?" He encouraged me that I could make it work and told me that he thought it was still a good idea. He's a good man, my husband is. 

I wanted tie-able bow ties but we ended up compromising.  They are still real tie-able ties, but David helped me pre-tie them (for now at least) and I made the backs adjustable with velcro.

I have never been so glad to have a project done. I know they aren't anywhere near perfect, but I look at them and I am so happy that it's hard for me to notice the faults. (And yes, I completed all five of them. You will just have to wait to see them all in our family pictures.)

Now that I know how to do it, I want to make more. I think I've learned from my mistakes and I think it will be much easier the second time around.

Then again, maybe I am just a glutton for punishment.

p.s. I made another project with the skirt's lining. I'll post it soon.


Fritzi Marie said...

Pretty Jill,

I am so proud of you and your adventure with the bowties. They sound amazing and I can't wait to see the photo's. You guys are going to look so cute! Remind me to give you a chopstick. That's what I use to turn corners and such. You are amazing! I think DIY projects are great (when they are finished) because I always feel so proud of myself when they are completed. Pat yourself on the back, sister-girl. You did it!


Danielle said...

The grit and determination to see things through -- that's one of the many things I love about you! Can't wait to see the pictures!

Mauri said...

They turned out really cute! The velcro idea is a great one. I'm with you on the frustration. I think I get frustrated sewing anything. Maybe that's why I stick to sewing straight lines. :) I can't wait to see the pictures!

graham and heather said...

I love them and can't wait to see the family pictures! Where did you find the pattern? Not that I know how to even tie a bow tie and I'm not sure after your story I would attempt to make it. Sounds like David is a lot like Graham when I am working on projects, always nice to have a fresh approach to the problem.

Pat Coleman said...

I feel sorry for you that it was so frustrating, but at least you got it done, and you like them. Congratulations! And may your next project go more smoothly!

runningfan said...

Sorry about the bow ties...this makes the lost shoes even more frustrating! But you hit the wisdom on the head -- it's where we are, a true snapshot of family life. Like I said in my post, I just wish I could get to that wise part before the yelling part!

Constancd said...

So what was the idea to turn them inside out? Did I miss that tip/

Jill said...

Using a chopstick or knitting needle push a corner of the bow tie through the opening you left when you were sewing and then pull the rest of the fabric through until the whole thing is right side out. Pretty simple actually. Good luck!