custom lavender grenadine on its way to a California wedding. Just a little bigger than usual so it is proportional to the face and collar.

custom lavender grenadine on its way to a California wedding. Just a little bigger than usual so it is proportional to the face and collar.

Motif Bow Ties. I am not usually one for whimsy. I have said before that my favorite ties are a solids and dots, not much fun there. But there is a place for fun in the motif bow tie. Some people pick things they are interested in like horses, sailboats, airplanes, golf clubs, or any other thing that can be repeated silk. Add a little fun to your wardrobe.

Tomorrow’s work.  Louis Walton

Tomorrow’s work. Louis Walton

There is something therapeutic about shining my shoe tips until I can see myself in the black and the brown look like they are under glass.

There is something therapeutic about shining my shoe tips until I can see myself in the black and the brown look like they are under glass.

The fabric for this tie is made of a silk wool blend. Although the most common tie in department stores is the silk tie, there was a time when ties matched the season. Cotton and linen in the summer and fabrics like wool in the winter. Unlike ties in department stores, the tips of this tie have been dressed with hand rolled edges. It is not too early to prepare for winter. Louis Walton

The fabric for this tie is made of a silk wool blend. Although the most common tie in department stores is the silk tie, there was a time when ties matched the season. Cotton and linen in the summer and fabrics like wool in the winter. Unlike ties in department stores, the tips of this tie have been dressed with hand rolled edges. It is not too early to prepare for winter. Louis Walton

An example of hand rolled edges. These edges have smooth and consistent raised rolls on the edge, it makes a nice border. Rolled ages can also be done by machine. Usually machine rolled edges will have puckering where the thread enters and exits the fabric. It isn’t a bad thing and it doesn’t necessarily look worse than edges rolled by hand. I find that it comes down to cost and the availability of someone who posses the skill. It take a long time to learn to do it, the people who can are not cheap, and there relatively few people who are willing to do it. #handmade #artisan #louiswalton

An example of hand rolled edges. These edges have smooth and consistent raised rolls on the edge, it makes a nice border. Rolled ages can also be done by machine. Usually machine rolled edges will have puckering where the thread enters and exits the fabric. It isn’t a bad thing and it doesn’t necessarily look worse than edges rolled by hand. I find that it comes down to cost and the availability of someone who posses the skill. It take a long time to learn to do it, the people who can are not cheap, and there relatively few people who are willing to do it. #handmade #artisan #louiswalton

Wool challis (pronounced like shalee) is a wonderful soft light fabric. It is often seen in the cooler months as ties and scarves. The scarf above measures a generous 19”x70” and hand rolled edges that took about four hours to complete. Wear it with a blazer or topcoat to keep warm in the coming months. (at LouisWalton)

Wool challis (pronounced like shalee) is a wonderful soft light fabric. It is often seen in the cooler months as ties and scarves. The scarf above measures a generous 19”x70” and hand rolled edges that took about four hours to complete. Wear it with a blazer or topcoat to keep warm in the coming months. (at LouisWalton)

How to make a bow tie


What goes into a quality bow tie? It is surprisingly simple. Start with quality fabric of the correct weight. Fabric is important because it effects how the knot will dimple and bow folds on the ends. The lining can help with this but heavy lining makes a stiff tie and a fat unappealing knot. It can also make the tie difficult to tie.

Woven silk bow ties are probably the easiest to make and printed silk presents the most problems. Printed silk is usually light weight, needs a great lining fabric, and will tie a huge floppy bow with a tiny knot if it is tied wrong. The best tie makers address this problem by using heavier silk, as much as 36oz, that will hold the shape without being bulky. The only problem with 36oz fabric is that it is VERY expensive so you will not see it very often or at a price that will not make you scream. And the more colors printed on it the more expensive it is.

All ties are cut on the bias, at a 45 degree angle to the edge of the fabric, but I think this is even more important for bow ties. The little bit of stretch that comes from the bias cut is just enough to tighten the bow and have it stay without getting loose. All pieces, including the lining, should be cut on the bias.

Lining fabric is the easiest part. Just pick something that gives the right feel to the tie. I use cotton a lot but I have also used heavy silk. Then create a pattern that is symmetric and proportional.

The last thing worth mentioning is the pressing of the sewn tie pieces. I think pressing could be the most misunderstood part of construction. It is how fabric is shrunk, shaped, creased. There is no substitute for knowing how to press. After the pieces are sewn they look like tubes. If silk is pressed with too much heat it shines. Even worse, an indentation from the seam can be pressed into the fabric. In bow ties, if you see a raised border along the edge of the tie it was not pressed correctly. Either too much heat or too much pressure was used.

So that’s it. Not difficult, just takes patience and a commitment to use the best materials.

The Six Fold Tie. The idea that six or seven folds means quality is not completely true. A six fold tie has to be folded so that each of the folded layers reaches the edge of the tie. If it doesn’t, the tie knot will have edges that curl up when it is pulled taught. For that reason, a well made three fold tie looks and draped much better than a poorly made six or seven fold tie. 

So how do you know what to look for?  On the internet it is impossible to tell the difference from pictures. Pictures like the one above are used to market six and seven folds.  But you can’t see if each fold goes along the entire length of the tie and if they span the width. So online go with a maker who has a well deserved reputation for consistency and quality. When in a shop, feel the tie to make sure the tie has uniform thickness across the width and length. Especially in the length of fabric where the knot is formed.

The Six Fold Tie. The idea that six or seven folds means quality is not completely true. A six fold tie has to be folded so that each of the folded layers reaches the edge of the tie. If it doesn’t, the tie knot will have edges that curl up when it is pulled taught. For that reason, a well made three fold tie looks and draped much better than a poorly made six or seven fold tie. So how do you know what to look for? On the internet it is impossible to tell the difference from pictures. Pictures like the one above are used to market six and seven folds. But you can’t see if each fold goes along the entire length of the tie and if they span the width. So online go with a maker who has a well deserved reputation for consistency and quality. When in a shop, feel the tie to make sure the tie has uniform thickness across the width and length. Especially in the length of fabric where the knot is formed.

I took some time off to explore some opportunities and it is very nice to be back on Tumblr again.  My scheduled has opened up and although I will not be opening up a website, I will be offering completed ties on etsy. The ties will almost all be unlined six-folds about 58” long and 3.5” wide. The best part, the price will be far below the usual price point for handmade six-fold ties.  if there is a downside, new pieces will appear when they are ready so I can’t guarantee there will be new ties each week or how many of each pattern will be available.  It is even possible that a leather wallet, portfolio, suspenders, or briefcase could appear.  It just depends on how much time I have and what the inspiration is for the week.

Louis Walton on Etsy

I took some time off to explore some opportunities and it is very nice to be back on Tumblr again. My scheduled has opened up and although I will not be opening up a website, I will be offering completed ties on etsy. The ties will almost all be unlined six-folds about 58” long and 3.5” wide. The best part, the price will be far below the usual price point for handmade six-fold ties. if there is a downside, new pieces will appear when they are ready so I can’t guarantee there will be new ties each week or how many of each pattern will be available. It is even possible that a leather wallet, portfolio, suspenders, or briefcase could appear. It just depends on how much time I have and what the inspiration is for the week.

Louis Walton on Etsy