Tie Quilt using Cigar Silk Ribbon Pattern

Pattern refurbished by Kaffe Fassett as Red Ribbons

Unique Tie Quilt

Unique Tie Quilt using Cigar Silk Ribbon Pattern refurbished by Kaffe Fassett

I recently received 140 ties from Tom in Delaware who was retiring and wanted to put his ties to better use than hanging in a closet. He left the design up to me, wanting only to have last approval. I found the perfect pattern for a king sized quilt made from a large amount of ties in Kaffe Fassett’s Quilts in America, a book which he said was inspired by vintage American quilts.

Story behind the Red Ribbon pattern

In the 1800’s American families of means prized their cigars, which came bound with silk ribbons. Many women collected them and started using them in various ways, but the most popular use was to make a quilt. One particular pattern was popular and there are pictures readily available of the same pattern, used over and over with these lovely silk ribbons.

Kaffe Fassett took the antique pattern and turned it into a lovely design he called Red Ribbons, using – as you might guess – primarily red fabrics in this design. It looked like the perfect pattern for a tie quilt, as ties – in many ways – are elaborate ribbons. I followed Fassett’s instructions as far as they went, and attached borders of my own design to enlarge the quilt.

First Tier

The pattern is similar to the Japanese nesting dolls, in that each tier encloses the one before it.

  • The first thing I did was to spend days opening up and stabilizing all the ties
  • Next I chose ties which seemed to be Tom’s ‘stand out’ ties. There were not many but they each had bold colors and made a statement which said they weren’t the type of ties that would blend in with the rest of the pack.
  • Following instructions, I constructed a paper template for the inner diamond shape.
  • I cut out a handful of strips from the chosen group in varying widths from 1 inch up to 2-1/2 inches wide (plus a seam allowance), cutting as long a strip as I could.
  • Before I sewed the strips together I did two things: first I chose a strip that artistically fit in the arrangement and next, I checked each strip against the template to make sure it reached beyond the template.
  • When all the strips were sewn together, I cut out the diamond, saving the scraps at the edges for use later.
First, second and third tier of Tom's king-sized tie quilt

First, second and third tier of Tom’s king-sized tie quilt