When 17-year-old Emily Sitser helped her mother clean up her grandfather’s home after he passed away in 2012, she first saw his collection of colorful neckties as a good craft resource for her GEMS girls group at church. Emily attends Faith Community Christian Reformed Church in Milford, Nova Scotia.
But then she did an Internet search for ideas. “I found the idea of making them into a dress,” Emily explained. As a member of a local 4-H club, Emily had completed two levels of sewing work and was already an accomplished seamstress.
The dress she sewed using her grandfather’s ties turned out so well that she decided to enter it into a 4-H competition in the category of recycled materials. “Every part of my necktie dress is recycled material except for the zipper,” she said. The dress won first prize in the 4-H competition in Halifax in mid-August.
Emily and her necktie dress also caught the attention of a television reporter for a regional news network. She was featured in a television news story broadcast across Atlantic Canada. The story focused on Emily’s relationship with her late grandfather and the memories that are evoked whenever she wears the dress.
Many folks who saw Emily’s dress at the Halifax fair have donated their neckties. Emily plans to sew them into another dress that will be offered for sale. She’ll donate the proceeds for prostate cancer research because “the symbol for that charity is a necktie.”