The men and women at Vanners were kind enough to send me pictures recently of how my bespoke ties were made down in Suffolk. So here they are, with explanatory captions.
The three-piece pattern for the tie is laid out on the woven silk, at exactly 45 degrees, having been made to my specifications in length and width.
The resulting pieces are laid out in bunches, ready to be sewn.
The silk tipping to the tie is then machine-sewn to the front and back blades, forming a one-centimetre edge or ‘mitre’ along the edge. I opted for self-tipping, with the same silk as the body of the tie. (There is much tradition around tipping – some brands, for example, deliberately tip all their ties with black in homage to the black-out curtains that were used for tipping after the Second World War due to a fabric shortage.)
The two blades and the neck are also joined together. And a smaller, hand stitch is used to close the tip of the tie to prevent any pulling at that point. Any excess fabric is also trimmed.
The tie is lightly pressed at the tips and seams.
The lining is then inserted into the tie and the folds carefully placed over the centre line. While this is referred to as a seven-fold tie, there are in fact 10 – here you can see eight of them, with two more tucked underneath.
(Ancillary fact on tie folds: Originally all printed ties were seven-folds as the silk came in lengths one-metre wide, and it had to be folded seven times to get the width of the tie. All woven silk came 28-inches wide, as that was the width of the hand looms, and so they were always made into four-fold ties. This was before the use of linings or ties that were made in three pieces. Thanks to the guys at Peckham Rye for that fact.)
When the folds are in place, the tie is pinned along its length to hold its shape prior to sewing.
The self-loop (a loop to hold the rear blade that is the same material as the tie) is then inserted.
Before a single thread is used to sew the entire length of the tie.
The tie is then gently steamed by hand and all its dimensions and measurements are checked.
The self loop and any labels are sewn on by hand before the final inspection.
Which is done by machine as well as eye, before the tie is packaged ready for delivery.