How Silk Ties Are Made

A tie has three main parts: the blade, or front; the neck; and the tail, or back. To start, the material - Silkworm uses mainly  heavy silks, woven or screen-printed - is unrolled and checked for flaws. In 80cm by 70cm blocks, generally in piles of 20 or so, it then goes to the cutter, who lays out the cardboard patterns as economically as possible and, using an extremely sharp knife, cuts the silk cleanly on the bias (at a 45-degree angle to the threads).

Each block will make two silk ties; it could, at another manufacturer's, make four, but not without cutting off the bias, and a tie cut off the bias,  will not hang as well or recover its shape as quickly. The cutter also cuts out a small piece of waste cloth for the loop - the "keeper" attached to the back of the blade through which you can, if you know nothing about how a silk tie should be worn, tuck the tail.

Both blade and tail are then "tipped". The only part of the whole process done by machine, this involves sewing a partial lining to the back of the silk tie, either in the same material (in which case the tie is "self-tipped") or a contrasting colour and weight of silk. Blade, neck and tail are then joined together, and the material and seams lightly pressed .

Next the tie is "slipped". First, the interlining - the core strip of thicker material, wool or cotton or a blend of the two, around which the silk is folded - is tucked into the blade tip. Then the silk is folded and pinned along the length; the folds must be neither too loose, nor too tight, and the seam must run up the centre.

Now, starting with a bar tack (or anchor point) and using a slightly curved needle and strong, 40-gauge silk thread, the sewer puts in the slip stitch that will hold it all together. The slip, a relatively loose stitch that allows the material a degree of movement, must gather in both sides of the silk, the tip and the interlining, while leaving the front of the tie untouched and being completely invisible from the back. It's an exceptionally skilful business. Along the way, the keeper is sewn in.

Finally, the slipping is secured with another bar tack at the tail, leaving a small loop of excess thread inside the silk tie. This loop means that however much the tie is stretched, twisted or scrunched, it will return to its original shape if hung and left well alone. The last step is to sew in the label with four corner tacks, and to give the two ends a finishing (and again, very light) press.

The result is an object whose design, weight, cut and construction mean it feels every bit as pleasing to the hand as it looks around the neck. To keep it that way,  it should be untied carefully after use, rolled and then hung. There are only two knots worth considering: the four-in-hand and the half-Windsor. Aim for a dimple at the base of the knot.

Your silk tie is created from probably the most beautiful and expensive of all textiles, and the silk that made your silk tie comes from the cocoon of the silkworm.

Silkworms feed on Mulberry leaves and secret a protein like substance from their head, covering the entire body to form the cocoon. These cocoons, which may be white, yellow or greyish in colour, are then farmed and delivered to factories known as filatures where they can be turned into raw silk. The production of cocoon for its filament is called sericulture.

The filatures sort the cocoons, according to their colour, size, shape and texture as these affect the final quality of the silk, and then the cocoons are softened so that the filament can be unwound as one continuous thread. As it is, the filament is too fine for commercial use so it must be combined with between 3 to 10 strands of other filaments to create a thread. This combination of strands is raw silk, known as reeled silk, and each length is between 300 and 600 metres.

The final part of the process is called bailing, where these skeins of reeled silk are packed into small bundles known as books. Each book weighs between 2 and 4.5kg and will help to make up a bale of about 60kg.

Bales of raw silk are sent to silk mills all across the world.

Silk neckties are a fabulous example of using silk fabric for everyday wear. There are many silk fabrics (including plain silk in deluxe and super deluxe quality, dupion, charka silk, chiffon, crepe, silk satin, organza, chinnon, tabby silk, murshidabad and matka) with a multitude of uses; everything from silk ties to scarves, stoles, dresses, saris, suits, bed linen, furnishing fabric and many many more.

How can you be sure you have a genuine silk tie?

Burning silk is the best way to be sure that you have the genuine article because the burning fabric will extinguish itself when you take the flame away and leave only a powdery ash. But DO NOT test your silk tie in this way!

At Silkworm all of our silk neckties are made by hand from the design printing to seaming. Silkworm uses only genuine, finest quality jacquard silk and wool mix interlinings to produce a substantial knot and durability.
This youtube clip may help you