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True craftsmanship: handmade ties

It's all in the details  
There goes a lot of craftsmanship into making the perfect necktie by hand. As with most exclusive products, it is all about the details, and it is those details that are the hardest to get right. Fox brothers tiesDetails like the taper on the blade, weight and combination of interlining fabrics, weight of the tie fabric, and tension of stitching are all decisive for the shape of your knot, the roll of your dimple and the drape of your tie. No wonder it takes many years of practice to make the perfect tie. That practice our Italian artisan tie makers have had plentiful. Working for a small family owned business, these men and women have been making ties for most of their lives, some even for well over 40 years!

Only the best of fabrics
Fox Prince of Wales tie labelIt all starts with choosing the right fabrics, and we pride ourselves in buying almost all of our fabrics directly from the producers. These are all world class European producers like Adamley and Robert Keyte for silks, and e.g. Fox Brothers, Abraham Moon, and Fratelli Tallia di Delfino for other fabrics. Making sure we buy from these trusted sources enables us to provide you with extraordinary ties, both in look and feel. The weave, colours and handle of these fabrics are unsurpassed, why settle for less?

Patterns and cutting
Tie pattern drawingAs with everything in tailoring, the next important step is to get the patterns right. The tie patterns used by our tie makers have been the fruit of scrutinous development over the years, constantly honing the patterns for all the different tie constructions and sizes, and adapting them to get that perfect knot and drape. It takes the eye and touch of a master to draw the patterns on the fabric and cut them by hand using a sharp pair of scissors. The patterns are laid out and cut ‘on the bias’, which means the fabric is cut under a 45 degree angle. That is done to counter the natural Cutting tie fabrictendency of the fabric to twist when worn. All parts of the tie are produced in this way, they are the three parts making up the body of the tie, also called the ‘shell’ or the ‘envelope’. Those three parts are the blade, the narrow end (or ‘tail’) and the middle section (or ‘neck’). Also the tips - where applicable - and the keeper loop are cut by hand at this stage.

Untipped or self-tipped
After cutting the fabrics, they are either hemmed by hand - giving you the famous hand-rolled untipped finish on the blade and narrow end - or the tips are sewn in. Hand rolling tie bladeIn case a tie is self-tipped, the tips are sewn in by a seamstress using a sewing machine. Also, at this point the three main parts that make the length of the shell of the tie are connected by that same seamstress. Machine-sewn seams are more compact, have more tension, and can withstand much more strain than a hand-sewn seam. That is why they are so ideal for sewing together the shell of the tie. It gives you a much more durable tie, that can be tied to perfection for many years.

Interlining, the heart of the tie
The next step is constructing the tie around its heart, the interlining. Folding a tieOften a wool and/or cotton interlining is used, in various weights, to give you the ideal balance with the characteristics of the tie fabric. Getting that balance right really makes a quality tie stand out from inferior products. This is exactly why the expertise of our tie makers - built up over decades - is so important. They choose the perfect (combination of) interlining for each tie fabric, keeping in mind the amount of folds of the tie, whether it is untipped or self-tipped, etcetera.

Slip stitch all the way
After folding and ironing the tie shell into shape and securing it along its length with pins, it is time to close it up.
Tie slip stitch
Closing is done by hand, using a slip stitch. This is basically one thread running from the tail of the tie to the blade. It ensures that the shell can slightly slip over the thread. This in turn gets you the perfect knot and drape, because there are no seams with much tension running along the length of the tie. On inferior ties this stitching is done with a sewing machine.
Sometimes the interlining is sewn in using a machine, and the tie is then closed by hand to give it more of a ‘handmade’ appearance.
In both
Sewing in the Fox label
cases the drape of the tie is adversely affected because the tension on a machine-sewn seam is such that it restricts the natural drape of the tie. That is why on a truly handmade tie you will not find any machine stitching along the length of the tie. In the final stages of making our ties the bar tacks, labels, and keeper loop are sewn onto the tie. By hand.. obviously..!

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