02/10/2004DEAR ABBY: I read with interest the letter from the lady asking how to recycle her late husband's neckties. My daughter is a 16-year-old honor student who teaches Sunday school and volunteers at our children's hospital. She wears them as belts. -- PROUD MOM, CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS
DEAR PROUD MOM: Your daughter is an original thinker. When I printed that letter, I had no idea there were so many uses for old neckties. Hundreds of suggestions poured in! Read on for a sample:
"I have a friend who made her prom dress completely out of men's ties she bought from Goodwill. They were sewn together vertically. It was really cool." -- JOY IN IRVINE, CALIF.
"She should cut the wide ends 18 inches to 20 inches long and sew them together at the long edges to make a colorful apron. The tapers will give it a nice flair, and the ends can be used for the waistband at the top and the strings at the back." -- CLARENCE B., CLEMSON, S.C.
"Two ladies in our church, St. Christopher Episcopal in League City, Texas, gathered old ties from the parish and made them into beautiful altar cloths for use during Father's Day services." -- O.H. STELTER JR., HOUSTON
"Old ties can be woven into beautiful, one-of-a-kind area rugs or wall hangings. Incorporated into clothing, they can become wearable art." -- JEANNE S., SOUTHERN SHORES, N.C.
"My aunt owned a gorgeous mandarin-style jacket, which she informed me was made entirely from old silk neckties. They were laid side by side, sewn together, then finished off with embroidery overstitching." -- DEBE, WILLOW GLEN, CALIF.
"She should use them to make a quilted Christmas wreath. It will become a family heirloom." -- GINI M., OSHKOSH, WIS.
"One of the most precious gifts I ever received was a Christmas stocking made for my 6-month-old daughter when her grandfather died. A very special cousin made it from some of his ties for her first Christmas. It's a family treasure." -- SHARON IN NEWBERRY PARK, CALIF.
"Here's an idea: With that many ties, she's bound to have a picture of Grandpa wearing some of them. Why not mount a picture of Grandpa wearing the tie in a frame along with the tie? It would make a wonderful keepsake." -- DAYNA IN LONGVIEW, TEXAS
"Discarded neckties can be used to make pot holders, table runners, teddy bears, pocketbooks, tote bags and more." -- HENNIE C., SPARTANBURG, S.C.
"How about using them to make Christmas tree skirts? Stitch them together in a circle with the points facing outward." -- CAROL P., SPARTANBURG, S.C.
"I use my husband's cast-off ties to make cases for my jewelry. Working with the wide ends, I cut them in 3-inch, 4-inch and 5-inch lengths and stitch them to form pouches. Then I fold the triangle tip down like the flap on an envelope and put a snap on the other side. Voila!" -- ANNA MARIA S., SILVER SPRING, MD.
DEAR ANNA MARIA AND THE HUNDREDS OF WONDERFUL PEOPLE WHO WROTE TO OFFER IDEAS: The dear lady who wrote asking for ideas is sure to be overwhelmed with your clever uses for ties. (I certainly was.) And if she isn't handy with a needle and thread, she can sell them on eBay or donate them to a thrift shop, a homeless shelter or college theater department.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)