Have you ever found yourself asking after shopping for a tie for that special occasion, why are they made? You should be applauded for your self awareness, because clearly you have noticed that some ties are sartorial masterpieces, while others deserve to be doused in gas and burned to ash.
Understanding how a tie is made not only helps you to understand what to look for in a tie, but it also helps you to bring a brand new meaning to being the life of the party. Knowing how ties are made will richly enhance your party going conversation. Beginning with tailor, Jesse Langsdorf, in 1926, tie fabric began to be cut along the bias in order to ensure that it would not twist when tied. The fabric is cut along the bias is at a forty five degree angle to the weave of the fabric. This is why striped ties generally have stripes on a diagonal. However, poorly made ties will often be cut in other patterns or they may lack crucial parts of the tie's structure, causing them to lump and twist when you attempt to tie them.
There are two ways of constructing a tie that are currently predominant. The first and most common way is the four in hand. In this, the material of the tie is built in three pieces. The front, or bid, is sewn to two other pieces of material, called the spine and the neck piece. Four in hand ties received their name from a combination of a club called the Four in Hand, a style of knotting carriage ropes, and the knot tied on the kerchiefs and ties worn by the carriage drivers. Originally popular as far back as the 1850s in Great Britain, four in hand ties were prized for their sturdiness. The modern four in hand continues this tradition, because the three piece outer fabric usually is sewn onto a wool blend liner that runs the length of the tie.
Hand made ties are often more prized than machine made ties. To know how a tie was made and to know if it was a hand made tie, turn the tie over. You should see a single hand sewn bit of yarn or string that runs the whole length of the tie. Additionally, the loop or keeper on the back of the tie should be hand sewn. Another hallmark of a good tie is that it will have a bar tack on the back, usually above the keeper. Some ties also have a life saver, which is a piece of yarn that hangs down inside the tie and can be given a gentle tug to pull any folds or kinks out of a tied tie. Lastly, you will notice that a well made tie has rounded edges, having been gently ironed with steam. Poorer ties have the edges pressed sharp.
The second manner of tie construction is called a seven fold. The appearance is generally the same as a four in hand, but the difference arises in the manner of construction. A seven fold tie forgoes the wool blend backbone in favor of simply layering the silk. This provides the heft necessary for the tie to hang properly. Often, corners will be cut in creating a seven fold tie by ending the folds halfway through the tie's middle. These four fold or lined seven fold ties are generally cheaper. They do not last as long, but are still a viable alternative.
If you look at the bottom square in a four fold, it will not be a single sheet of silk. The pattern will appear introverted and you will feel a liner in the middle. The other variation on the seven fold is a six fold tie, or an Italian style seven fold. These are self tipped and self lined and are the standard or American-style seven fold is not.