Have I mentioned that I teach eighth graders to sew? I do! I go in once a week in the fall and the spring and, along with a friend, teach a group of 12 or so kids how to use a sewing machine. We start simple and work up to some more difficult projects. This fall, our group included three boys and my friend suggested a necktie as a final project. It was such a great idea, but the only pattern I had seen involved a lot of hand sewing and, honestly, the kids don't dig those kind of projects. With a little research, I found the Everyday Necktie pattern and accompanying video tutorial by Dana at Made Everyday. You guys! The eighth graders rocked it and I loved how their ties turned out. This is a great pattern and a great project that will make a great gift for any guy on your list!
Yesterday I made the four ties above for my nephews. The blue ties on the side are the tween size (for the 5- and 7-year olds) and the ones in the middle are the adult size (for the 10- and 12-year olds). There is also a kids size, but it's tiny. Like really small. They come together quickly - only 5 passes through the sewing machine! My sister-in-law chose these cute Cotton & Steel Christmas fabrics and I lined them all with a white solid. The ties are cut in two pieces on the bias, so you do need about 3/4 of a yard for each tie. That said, I was able to cut the lining for all four from 1 1/2 yards of my white so you can definitely get a couple of ties out of one yard. My suggestion is just to print out the pattern and lay it out on your fabric before cutting. And because of the bias, it's a good idea to choose a fabric that looks good on the diagonal. It makes a difference. Some good contenders are checks, plaids, stripes, all over small floral prints and even direction prints that are laid out in a grid (like the navy gifts and red snow animals above). Large scale prints can work, but definitely audition them first.
I will definitely be making more ties. I'm thinking of getting fancy and using Liberty...can't you just see it? Do you have any quick handmade gifts you like to make? Let me know - I need some fresh ideas!