It was a great pleasure to receive a visit from Francisco Javier of Suit and Tie Fixation this week.
Francisco has a real passion for tailoring & gentleman's styling and displays this on his blog in a cool & considered manner, presenting a neat balance of dapper assuredness and understated flair.
For Francisco's visit we asked ourselves.. what better way for us to show our hospitality than to invite Francisco to a tour of Seward & Stearn London 'HQ' and an introduction to our tie-making?
.. Well, we decided a better way might be to present Francisco with some of our A/W16 designs and invite him to choose a style that he liked, so we could make him his own Seaward & Stearn tie there and then - following the process from start to finish.
With Gary Seaward as our chaperone and guide, we follow the journey all the way from the roll of fabric, as it is cut and passed through the hands of our crafts-people until reaching the final, finished, hand-made article.
Here we see step by step what goes into the making of a Seaward & Stearn tie.
The fabric. This is a vast topic. At Seaward & Stearn we design and colour all our ties; the fabric composition is a key factor in which designs will work.
Different fabric mixes, and different weight's and weave's all contribute to how a tie is made, and ultimately to the quality of it's look and feel.
One size fits all is not an option.
Fabric compositions and weights change by season, so a lot of time and consideration is vested in this. It is a fundamental in the making of a quality hand-made tie.
After due consideration, Francisco opted for a 100% luxury silk 36oz Ancient Madder (Dusty Finish) fabric with a base colour of blue and an elegant Teardrop design.
A perfect place to start.
The look. The measure. The Cut.
Once the fabric is chosen a choice can be made in the direction of pattern. This is a personal decision and is ultimately how you envisage the design being worn, and of course, seen.
Here it is viewed through the stencil.
The stencil represents the size of tie you like to wear and therefore the measurements we cut. From the width of the tip, to the tie's length.
Again, these are personal choices, as well as cultural - with preferences changing by country in the same way as, for example, suit styles.
Francisco opted for an 8cm tip and a 147cm length.
The stencil is used to outline the size and shape of the tie with tailoring chalk, which is then cut.
The cut is always made in 2's across the width of the fabric roll to maximise the amount of fabric we use and reduce off-cut's, which are wasteful.
The quality and beauty of the fabric is not something we like to under-appreciate.
Once the tie is cut it is passed onto machining where the 'tips' and 'joins' are sewn.
Seaward & Stearn tips are always Purple and Pink. The colours of Seaward & Stearn.
Purple, a regal and classic colour; Pink to invigorate with a modern twist.
After the tips and joins are completed the fabric is under-pressed with a steam iron to ready it for slipping.
Slipping is made from a mix of cotton and wool and is the lining that goes inside the tie to offer it weight and help keep its shape.
(Not every tie will have a slipping. It depends on the style of tie being made and the fabric. e.g. notable ties without slipping are knitted ties and Seven-Folds.)
With the slipping in place, the tie is then folded and hand sewn.
It is here that it begins to look like the finished article.
Nearly complete, the sewn tie then reaches the final stages.
The loop or 'keeper' on the reverse of the tie is sewn into place, and Seaward & Stearn labels are added, together with a pink bar-tac - it's the details that count.
Lastly, the tie is passed once more to the steam iron for a final pressing and precisely the correct size - 8cm as requested by Francisco.
Of course with the finished garment proudly in hand, we simply couldn't let Francisco wear a Seaward & Stearn tie only half dressed; and so a complimentary pocket square was needed.
A great sport, Francisco displays a fine cut in his shirt and jacket, though we all agreed this could be complimented with a little sartorial sprucing up..
With the Bespoke Experience nearing it's end and a little fine adjustment...
We have the finished article.
Stepping out From Seaward & Stearn into the heart of London Bridge.
Francisco shows you how to set yourself apart.
Francisco can be found at: https://www.instagram.com/suitandtiefixation
Tie and Pocket Square coming soon on www.seawardandstearn.com