Cool Tie: Beat The Heat With This Simple Sewing Project

Beat summer's heat with an easy-to-sew cool tie! This bright cotton neckerchief has a summer secret: a filling of water-absorbing polymer granules from the garden center.

Soaked in water, the cool tie's polymer granules absorb more than 200% their weight in water. Tied around the neck or worn as a headband, a cool tie provides all-day cool relief through evaporation.

The cool tie is simple to sew, requiring only a straight-stitch sewing machine. It's lightweight and unbreakable--perfect for gifts or to include in care packages for our troops. This Marine Mom recommends it!

Materials and Supplies:

  • 1/4 yard 45-inch wide lightweight 100% cotton fabric
  • 2 teaspoons Watersorb-brand polymer granules
  • thread to match
  • sewing machine
  • pins
  • scissors or rotary cutter
  • bamboo or plastic point turner
  • printed copy of printable gift tag from sister site, Organized Christmas


1. Cut cut a 7"-by-45" rectangle from fabric. For simplest cutting, fold fabric crosswise (selvedge to selvedge) and use a rotary cutter.

(Note: five cool ties can be cut from one yard of 45" fabric.)

2. Fold fabric strip in half lengthwise, right sides together. To form pointed end, cut a 45-degree triangle from each folded end. Cut back from the fold toward the selvedges.

3. Locate the lengthwise center of the folded strip. Place 2 pins 1 1/2 inches on each side of the center of the strip. The pins mark the area to be left open to reverse the tie.

Sew from point to center on each side, with a 5/8th inch seam allowance. Leave the area between the pins open.

4. Using scissors, carefully notch seam allowance next to the tie point. Use a plastic or bamboo point turner to turn the tie inside out through the center opening. Press.

5. Measure 10 inches up from each pointed end, and mark location with a pin. On each side, sew directly across the tie from end to end, backstitching at the beginning and end of the stitching line. This stitching creates a pocket for the garden polymer granules.

6. Insert 2 teaspoons Watersorb-brand polymer granules into center of the tie through the opening in the seam.

Yes, that is correct: only 2 teaspoons. The polymer granules swell nearly 200 times their size, and will completely fill the tie when wet. One pound of polymer granules will make more than 55 cool ties!

{Safety note: According to Ted Douglas, Watersorb/ Polymers, Inc., polymer granules used to construct cool ties are non-toxic and meet EPA standards for potable drinking water.

While non-toxic, dust from polymer granules may lead to irritation if inhaled. Mr. Douglas recommends wearing a dust mask while filling cool ties.}

7. Stitching close to the folded edges, sew the opening closed. For gifts, attach a copy of free printable gift tag.

To use, soak cool ties in water for about 45 minutes. After the granules have fully expanded, pat the tie gently with a towel to remove excess water. Tie around neck or head for cool relief!