I’m in the early stages of project and I’m currently taking apart a lot of men’s ties . . . about a 100 pounds of ties! One of my local thrift stores had five 20-pound bags of men’s ties for $2.99 per bag and I bought them all. I’ve been fascinated by men’s ties since I was little and was captivated by the ties my father wore. Later on, while working in Corporate America, I found them interesting and wondered what they said about the wearer. Unfortunately, living in the Seattle area, the presence of ties continues to dwindle as ‘business casual’ attire increases. Men may not miss wearing them, but I really loved them for the beauty and complexity as a textile.
Tie fabric and patterns can be rather extraordinary. Many even feel great when you touch them! For obvious reasons, I’m pretty much limiting myself to taking apart only the silk ties . . . although, there are some that were just too remarkable not to keep because of the artistry . . . ties in cotton, wool, and even polyester can make a statement. Labels even reflect that some are made from handwoven fabric. Woohoo!
I’ve taken apart about 70 pounds of ties so far . . . separating the wonderful fabric from the interlining. I’m also removing the labels and keeping them in a small container. I’m doing this for the fabric, but the interlining is great for inserting into a sleeve cap on a jacket to give it a better shape and some people in the garment-oriented ASG Neighborhood Group I participate in have asked me to bring the extra interlinings instead of disposing of them. Some of the labels crack me up . . . especially the ones that read “Can be worn with blue suit, brown suit, or olive suit.” Were/are there men that need their ties to read like Garanimal tags? I don’t know, but I do think it’s funny.
While I was still working in Corporate America, I remember reading an article about the ultimate “power” tie and it was reported the best power ties were yellow. I would have thought it was red. Don’t politicians often wear red ties when they’re campaigning? Anyway, out of the 100 pounds of ties, there wasn’t one yellow tie! Perhaps this indicates something. It could mean that yellow is a good power tie color, but few men buy yellow ties . . . or, if the article is true and yellow ties are the ultimate power tie, then perhaps the men that wear yellow ties rose to positions of power and authority and were the ones that were able to retain their jobs during the recent economic downturn . . . and the yellow tie is similar to Dumbo’s feather . . . he could fly high as long as he held on to it.
Here are some of the thoughts that have crossed my mind while taking the ties apart:
- The weaving that goes into the fabric of some ties is amazing. Sometimes the most incredible weave structures are subtle because of the printing on top of it.
- Many ties with a Nordstrom label were made in the USA (although, the fabric often came from Italy) . . . Yeah! I like to see Made in the USA on a tag!
- Silk from Italy prevail as the most frequently used fabric; however, there are quite a few ties from Canada.
- Some ties tell stories . . . from the Christmas-themed tie with the big spot on the front . . . to the ties that were probably a favorite because how worn and threadbare they had become of the years of wear.
- The ever-changing width of ties really affects the amount of fabric required . . . There have been more than a few ties that were so wide that they looked comical in their own way
- Lots of designers do ties . . . I’ve dissected ties with labels like Armani, Valentino, and Christian Dior. Oddly enough, the biggest surprise for me was the Lanz tie . . . when I was growing up, my grandmother gave me a Lanz nightgown for Christmas every year . . . and the Lanz tie seemed odd . . . I didn’t know they did ties for men and looked like it could have been cut from the same cotton material as one of my childhood nightgowns.
- The hand-sewn ties are infintely easier to take apart that their machine-sewn counterparts
- A lap covered in silk ties gets very warm and not a great idea to do in summer weather with the rising temperatures.
- The fabric from 100 pounds of ties takes up very little space . . . the bulk of the tie is in the underlining. Thank goodness! It means I need only a small amount of space to keep them after I’m done taking them apart.
On a different topic .. . Our parrots, Pepper and Rosie, the other day decided to hang out on top of my AVL loom . . . it’s not only a great loom for weaving, but serves nicely as a bird perch too . . . as long as I’m not weaving on it.