- The right kind of fabric. You cannot turn any old fabric into a tie. You can, but the tie will suffer because of it. Too light and you will see through to the interlining or it won't tie nicely or else it will just feel very poor in your hands. Too thick and it can become unmanageable. You want to steer away from polyester and the materials of my choice are: 1. silk, 2. merino wool, 3. cashmere wool
- The right kind of interlining. From my experience, even the ties which are folded upon themselves, what we know as 6 fold or 7 fold ties, require an interlining. There are very few instances that I know of where the silk has been folded on itself with no interlining. If I am wrong, you may argue with me in the base of this post. That being said, which interlining you choose depends on the fabric. So in order to make a great tie you must have at least 12 different linings on file. This is usually a sunk cost which tie manufacturers wear which makes it difficult for the average joe to get into tie making. Of all the interlinings I have worked with, the double brushed wool interlining I have from the Netherlands is probably the most alluring and versatile. However, I have recently been experimenting with a wool and polyester lining by working with an Australian manufacturer of tie interlinings. Unfortunately, at this stage I cannot divulge my contact but no doubt if you keep reading the blog you will eventually find out my source.
- The right pattern. Every tie is made from a pattern. Developing those patterns takes time. The easiest way to develop a pattern is to first take apart your favourite tie and then make any changes you want. Ties used to be so expensive that you wouldn't dare do something like this, but these days you can find a very well made tie very cheaply from brands which don't care where their ties are manufactured.
- The right needles, the right threads. If you truly want to make a great tie, you are going to need to do a lot of running around and research. You will need a minimum of two thread types to complete the tie. In our ties currently we are using three. One will work the bar tack. One will work the tipping. One will work the slip stitch.
- The right kind of hands. My hands are much better at creating words and then typing them on a blog page, so when it comes to doing the physical work, I rely on people with greater expertise and skill. It is about knowing your limitations. If you don't know how to get fancy on your needlework, if you fingers do not have any callouses, then consider employing someone else to do the job.
And now I present to you my latest addition to the family. L'Artisan Huit - an 8cm tie made in the 'artisan style' with hand-stitched tipping, hand-stitched slip stitch, hand-folded, hand bar-tacked, hand everything really except for joining the front and rear blades. Could I do this? No! Not with my own hands. It has taken a great deal of time to first pick the right silk, a natte or basket weave silk, the right lining, an Australian merino and polyester mix, the right threads from Gutterman, the right pattern (this took about 6 weeks to develop) and the right seamstress. I have said enough. I will let you decide. Without further ado....