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Step By Step Process To Make A Seven Fold Tie

Get Silk
You will need 1.25 yards of silk. A little extra silk is better so that you can determine which part of the pattern will be on the bottom of the tie. When picking out the silk, make sure that its a heave silk. Since the seven-fold tie is unlined, it needs to be slightly heavier than what's needed for a six-fold. Silk satin with a weight of 25-30mm is a good. Otherwise just know that its a lot thicker than blouse weight silk. And its not cheap either. It costs me $20 a yard. Now that you know the type of fabric, you need to choose a pattern that works well. Some patterns will look great on 1 yard of silk, but most of the pattern might not show up on a 4 inch wide tie. The tie will be cut on the bias, so imagine the 4-inch wide tie lying at 45 degrees on the silk and that's your tie. Choose wisely, otherwise its $25 gone.
Prep Silk
Now that you have your fancy silk, you should prep it a little. Make sure that you have a nice wide surface to work with to keep the silk flat and unstretched along the bias. Iron the back of the silk to get out any wrinkles or folds while it's easy to do so.
Use the Pattern
Now that you have the your fancy silk, you need to use your fancy seven fold tie pattern. Either make one or buy one. Arrange the pattern so that the centerline is exactly on the bias. If you do not cut the tie on bias, it may not hang nicely when you wear it and start to twirl a bit. Make sure that you lay all the pattern pieces out so that you are sure you have enough silk. With my pattern, the joining sections are already cut 45 degrees of the centerline. So you just have to make sure that edge is parallel with the edge of the silk. Double check which section of the silk will show up on the bottom of the tie before placing the other half. Now that everything fits and is placed correctly, place a paper weight on the pattern and use your chalk to trace the pattern on the back side of the silk.
Cut the Silk
Now you can use either a sharp pair of scissors to cut the silk or a rotary blade. Just make sure you do not stretch the silk too much when lifting it to cut. Now you should have two nice pieces of silk ready to become a luxury tie.
Use the Pattern as a Guide
The first part of the tie you will need to sew are the bottom edges. Fold the pattern along the dotted lines to show what the shape should be after rolling the edges. Now place the pattern on the silk as a guide. It was hard to get the silk to stay in place so I folded the silk over the pattern and then ironed it. This made a nice crease in the silk to help keep the edge straight while slowly sewing the edge.
Roll Edges
I fold two small folds instead of trying to roll the silk, but it was narrow enough to look good. Tuck the folded section into the crease that you just made and sew the fold down using a hidden stitch. Do this for all four edges by the tips of the tie. The sides may not ravel, but they will be visible when opening up the tie and will look better with a rolled edge. Finally, repeat this process on the other end of the tie.
Attach Halves
Now line up the two halves along the dotted line so that the edges flow together. Use silk pins first to make sure its straight. Then use a sewing machine or a normal running stitch to attach the two pieces.
Make Folds
The next part is the tricky part. You need to make the folds nice a smooth so that the tie is not lumpy at all when you're done. Again, use the pattern as a guide to where the folds should be. Fold the pattern along the fold you are going to make, then place it on the silk and use the pattern as a guide. I finished the big end of the tie first before moving on to the smaller end. Start with the folds closest to the centerline since those are the most important in determining the final shape of the tie. I placed a piece of cloth over the face of the tie and ironed it make a crease. Ironing directly on the face of the silk will sometimes discolor it a little. Make sure that the tie is folded in such a way that you can see all the folds when its sewn up. The folds should alternate as to which side is above the other. Right, left, right, and then finally left on top. After finishing the bigger section, pin it closed while letting the tie puff up a little so that you wont get lumps. Wait until the tie is entirely folded before pressing the tie with sharp creases. Follow the same process for the smaller section.
Use Silk Pins
Pin the tie closed with the silk pins to hold everything in place. Now you can pick up the tie and examine it for any lumps. You can make small adjustments by taking out certain pins, moving the fabric and then inserting them back in.
Make the Carrier
Cut out and sew the carrier for the tie. The carrier is usually cut along the grain of the fabric. This part is a little frustrating because after you sew it, you need to flip the small tube inside out. There is a tool for this I think, but I didn't have it. I sewed a knot onto one end. Let the needle drop through the carrier lengthwise and then pulled the thread to invert the carrier. Before sewing the tie closed, slip the carrier into the tie between the pins and sew it in place.
Sew the Tie Closed
Now slowly sew the tie closed with a slip stitch. As you move along, pull out the silk pins as you approach them. Make sure to leave enough of the tie open so that you can see the folds. This should be right below the carrier. Also make sure that you do not sew all the way through the tie and have the thread showing on the front. When you're done, make a loop or something. But before you make a knot at the end, remove the needle from the thread and then simulate putting on a tie. Wrap it around your neck and gently pull on both sides and run your fingers all the way to the tips. This is done so that the thread is as long as the tie can stretch. Otherwise you may break the thread when actually putting the tie on. Or it will cause the tie to bunch up and appear very lumpy after you put it on. I'm not exactly sure on how to finish the slipstitch. After the tie is closed, fold the carrier down and sew the two sides to the tie with the slipstitch again.
Press the Tie
Now that all the sewing is done, the tie might still be a little puffy. What I did was place a piece of cotton cloth over the tie, spray it lightly with water and then iron it at the silk setting. This was enough to evaporate the water and press through to make a nice strong crease on the silk.
All Done
Now that its done, you can compare it an everyday tie and be amazed. Then you can put it on and be even more amazed at how nice it feels.

Ben Folds Seven Neckties Copyright 2006-2008

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