Understand how they’re made
and you’ll appreciate quality when you see it

by Jacob Sigala
The necktie we know and love
today has been around for more than 150 years. From the hand-painted ties of post-WWI
to the wild and wide ties of the 1940’s, to the skinny ties of the late 1970’s,
the necktie has remained a constant staple of men’s fashion. Though countless
men have sported this timeless accessory, not many are true connoisseurs. The
craft and care required to create a quality necktie are a lot more involved
than you might imagine at first glance. Do you know all the parts that make up
a great men’s tie?
The Complete Chart On Necktie

The Shell

The shell, also known as the
envelope, is the outermost fabric of a tie. Most neckties are made of one or
more of the following fibers: silk, wool, cotton, linen, polyester, or
microfiber. Typically the tighter the fabric’s weave, the less the tie will
snag and fray.
Generally, a tie should be cut
on the “true bias” of the fabric. This means that it will be cut at a 45-degree
angle, ensuring that the tie lays flat when worn and stays generally
wrinkle-free. Before the method of cutting on the true bias was used, ties
would twist and lose their shape after extended wear. Depending on the
manufacturer, the shell will either be folded or cut into the shape of the tie.
Four-in-Hand Ties

The four-in-hand method of constructing
a tie consists of three to four separate pieces of shell that is then sewn into
the shape of the tie. Because of their simplistic construction method, these
multi-piece ties are the most common.
Six & Seven Fold Ties

As opposed to constructing a
tie from multiple pieces, folded ties are constructed from a single piece of
shell. This method adds a handcrafted touch that requires a lengthy
construction process. Though the number of folds that comprise the tie can
vary, the seven-fold tie is the most popular. A seven-fold tie requires a
seasoned artisan that is well versed in pattern making, sewing, and folding.
Because of the amount of fabric that is used in this method of construction,
there is no lining and the tie is able to hold its shape just by the shell

Interlining, or interfacing,
is used in nearly all neckties—an exception being the six & seven fold
variety. It is hidden between the layers of the ties outer shell. Interlining
helps create and maintain the shape of the tie and adds extra bulk and weight.
Though weights vary, the lining is often made of a brushed wool blend to give
ties a fuller shape. Because less shell fabric is required when interlining is
used, the total cost of the necktie is significantly reduced. Manufacturers of
cheap neckwear often skimp on the interlining resulting in ties that are either
paper thin or stiff as a board.
Tipping Styles

There are three methods to
finishing tips: un-tipped, self-tipped, and decorative tipping.  Un-tipped ends forego the addition of a
finishing fabric and instead expose the hem on the back of the tie. Un-tipped
ties have a finished hem, so although they are un-tipped, they don’t look
unfinished. Interlining on un-tipped ties is generally placed higher within the
neck of the tie to avoid being exposed. A self-tipped tie is finished on the
backside with the same fabric as the self of the tie. Whether the tie is folded
or cut, the tip will be cut as a separate piece to then be sewn on. Decorative
tipping uses a different fabric than the rest of the tie. This tipping is
commonly a solid color but can be just about anything from funky patterns to
vintage pin-up girls a la Peek-a-Boo neckties.

The Rolled Edge

The edge of a necktie is
rolled and pressed. This ensures a fullness at the edge as opposed to a flat
The Slip-Stitch

Along the back of the tie,
holding the tie together, there is a hidden stitch called a slip-stitch. It
goes in and out of the center without being exposed at the surface.
The Keeper Loop

The self-loop, or “keeper
loop”, is the loop that holds the tie tail. On most ties, the manufacturer will
include two loops: the actual loop and a label that doubles as one.
The Bar Tack

Near each tip, one will find a
short horizontal stitch. This stitch is called the bar tack. It is the end of
the slip stitch which is stitched over once or several times to secure the
closure, making sure the tie doesn’t come undone.
Care & Origin Tag

These tags contain details and
information about a necktie. This may include country of origin, materials, and
care instructions.
The Slip Knot

On the more expensive handmade
ties there will sometimes be a loop — a slip knot— which peaks out from the
blade tip. With wear, and years of tying and untying, a tie will stretch. The
slip knot allows the wearer to adjust the tension as the tie ages, returning
its original shape and thus expanding its lifetime.
Tie it Together

When it comes to construction,
not all neckties are created equal. With this new appreciation of a neckties
finer details, you can make an educated choice when making your next necktie
purchase. Pair your new tie with your favorite tie knot, and wear it knowing
you are a true authority on the matter.
Jacob Sigala
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.