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Tie Construction

Neckties (or four-in-hands) start out as rolls of fabric. In our case, that fabric is 100% silk. The fabric is spread flat on a table and a cutting pattern is laid on top. This pattern is laid out on the bias, i.e. at a 45 degree angle. Neckties are cut on the bias so that they hang properly and retain their shape.

There are two-way fabrics and one-way fabrics. With a two-way fabric, like a polka-dot or a stripe, there is no up or down, the design looks the same regardless. Consequently, two-way fabrics can be cut both ways, which leads to a better yield (the number of ties you get from a given amount of yardage). One-way fabrics, as the name implies, can only be cut one way, otherwise the design would be upside-down. (Take our Sharks tie for example. On the tie, all the sharks are upright. But if you flipped the fabric around, all the sharks would be upside down - they’d look like they were dead.) As a result, one-way designs produce lower yields.

Most neckties are comprised of three pieces: The front blade (also called the apron), the tail (also called the under blade) and a small piece called the neck gusset that connects the other two. Inside the necktie is the lining. The lining is what gives the necktie its shape since the silk fabric is wrapped around the lining. (By the way, those stripes you occasionally see on the lining? Well, they have to do with weight, not quality. So if you see six stripes, it doesn't necessarily mean you have a quality tie, just one with a heavy lining.)

Now at either end of the tie, you have the tipping. Tipping is simply a finishing touch very much like the lining you might see in a suit jacket (but don't confuse it with the lining in a tie, which, as you now know, is not only different, but also hidden). The tipping is there to cover up the work below and give each end a clean look. And if a designer's name is woven into the tipping for branding purposes, it's called custom tipping. (If you don’t already know, our tipping has a little message hidden up under the two folds of the front blade.)

A well-made tie has a special stitch (usually hidden) that runs the entire length of the tie. This slip-stitch allows the tie to stretch slightly and thus tolerate the stress caused by frequent tying and untying. Better ties will also have bar tacks, noticeable stitching at both ends that keep the two sides together. Finally a decent tie will have a keeper of some sort—this is what holds the tail in place behind the front. The best ties, Lee Allison among them, will often have self-loops – this means that the keepers are made from the silk fabric itself.


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