It all started in 2004. Katie Grant, now 17, was sitting around with her friend trying to think of something different to do for the prom.
“We thought, men’s ties, because, I mean, who would think of men’s ties?”
But where would she get all of the ties needed to make a prom dress? Her answer was found in the Sun Journal. She placed a Sun Spots request and soon received hundreds of ties, which quickly turned into a thousand.
“One woman brought in a huge box of ties,” said Grant, a Lewiston High School senior who is planning to attend The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles this fall. “We counted: It was 500 ties.”
Right away Grant started sorting, color coordinating and removing the tags, which she is saving to make a clutch or a purse.
“Sometimes when I took them apart, I liked the back better so I’d just use the back.”
Now she has a “crazy quilt” bodice of lobsters, golfers, Christian Dior, Aerostople, polyester and silk stitched together in a few spots with alligators and penguins.
When it’s finished, she estimated she’ll have worked one entire week to make the perfectly different dress.
Along the way, there have been mistakes. She melted a few of the polyester ties and ruined her mom’s iron. She also made the bottom a size too big and had to remove several ties. But she would do it all again.
“You have to take risks, especially when everyone is looking forward to what you’re doing,” she said with a smile.