I was over the moon earlier this week when Jim and Amy sent me pics of their wedding which was featured on the wedding blog Love My Dress. I admit I shed a tear or two over my morning coffee. I made six ties in various Liberty prints for groom Jim and his ushers. Photographer Andrew JR Squires has kindly given me permission to reproduce them here.
|Photography courtesy of Andrew JR Squires (copyright) - please do not copy or reproduce without permission
Often new product lines come from customer requests. I was rather daunted by the prospect of making ties and could find little advice on this specialist art. So last summer I set about tearing up my husband's favourites including a lovely one by Daks that I bought from Simpsons on Picadilly, long before it became Waterstones. Once I had a pattern I was happy with I product tested it on Nik and his friends. Rory O'Curry and his Dad were adamant my ties weren't weighty enough. Back to the drawing board. In addition to the Liberty lawn lining I needed to find suitable interlining. Trickier than you'd think. I finally found a roll of suitable weight wool interlining at the marvellous Abakhan on a trip back from my sister's in Wales with my Mum. MacCulloch and Wallis also sell a good weight alternative. Still Rory wasn't satisfied so I doubled it up. Voila - it passed Mr Cook's full windsor knot test.
The other issue with ties is that they are cut on the bias (diagnonally to you and me). If you take a piece of cotton fabric and pull it top to bottom or sideways there is very little stretch but pull the corners and you get a lovely give. It's what gives a lady's bias-cut dress that lovely drape over curves and it's what allows a tie to tie. Think about the curves of the neck and the way a tie needs to move to be neatly knotted.
In practical terms it means the simple looking tie is actually a terribly time consuming to make. First I cut and mark the lining fabric (I use white cotton lawn) including roll lines. Second I cut the Liberty print. Then I cut two lots of interlining and finally the contrast end linings. Once linings are joined and the tie rolled and pinned the final step is hand slip-stitching the 1.5m length of the tie.
I love the way Liberty prints transform depending on how you use them and the diagonal cut of the tie on the narrow tie is a case in point. A plain stripe looks much more interesting. Add in the possibilities of using contrast colourways or plain end linings and suddenly the boring old tie takes on a whole new life.
This week I've added slim width ties to my range. I was first asked to make one in the autumn for Matt Day's wedding to complement his handmade Liberty Glenjade waistcoats. Wedding photographer Vicky Dawe asked me to make two for her fiance Oliver in a beautiful feather print to match her bridesmaid dresses and page boys' waistcoats. And my god-daughter's Uncle Ben will be wearing one later this summer.
Click here to browse pictures of all the handmade Liberty ties I've made and to order. Ties are £74.99 or £64.99 if you prefer to buy and send me your own Liberty print.