Oh, goody, I thought, when we visited Sander Tie Company yesterday with a group of friends, I’ll be able to purchase another bag of tie off-cuts. But it was not to be, there was nothing available. Seems the word is out, and everyone now knows all about this source of fabric. Never mind – since I live relatively local, I can phone ahead to see if the box of off-cuts has been replenished next time I feel like a visit. This handsome green elephant stands on the reception counter to show what can be done with some of those interesting off-cuts of tie fabrics.
Our group was given a tour through the factory, and we were shown the different stages of tie construction. The fabric is cut on the bias, which would make it very difficult for the home sewer. However, each stage is stitched on a different machine, and bit by bit, the tie takes shape.
The ties are made up of several parts, with each machine doing a specific part of the process, from sewing on the “tip”, the lining, stitching bar tacks, and adding the label. I loved watching one particular machine as the ties were threaded onto rods, then whoosh, away they went inside the machine where they were turned right side out, just like magic.
I was interested to see that metal bars are inserted into the ties before they get put in the large presser. Rather like the bars that quilters use to construct and press bias stems for appliqué.
Although most of the tie making processes are done by machine, bow ties are finished off by hand. We watched as one of the ladies was trying to thread a needle, but I’m afraid the presence of our group rather put her off. With her needle finally threaded and raring to go, she then delicately stitched the small sleeve around a length of folded fabric to make the bow.
Those keen on sport will be interested to know that Sander’s holds the licence to produce the All Black ties both at retail and team level, and for the Black Caps teams. They also won the licence to produce ties for the 2005 Lions Tour of New Zealand. Our guys were delighted when they were presented with three of these 2005 Lions Tour ties each to take home.
Extra long ties are made for very tall men, so their tie does not end up halfway down their shirt front. Bow ties and cravats for the discerning man are available, plus hankies and scarves, and there is a lovely range of New Zealand inspired souvenir ties. The company can also make a “one off” tie to match a ball gown or wedding dress, at a most reasonable price. Well worth checking out if you have a special occasion coming up. Although I didn’t manage to purchase any of that lovely fabric, it was an interesting morning finding out “all about ties”.