Monday, September 12, 2011

Hermès Festival des Métiers Part 3/3

Can you guess what this strip of fabric is?

Not a Twilly, but a tie! The tie pattern is actually screen-printed the same way scarves are made.

The pattern is then cut and the portions where the solid colored silk and the printed portion meet, plus the middle of the tie where 2 portions are fused together, are machine sewn.
The rest of the tie is sewn by hand. It takes a tie maker 8 to 10 minutes to finish one tie, and she averages 40 ties a day at least.
To give the tie its shape, a strip made up of 3 layers of compressed wool is inserted into the tie. The sides of the tie are rolled to meet in the middle. A heavy metal weight is used to hold the tie down on one side.

Pins go through the interlining so that it does not move. The tie maker has to be extra careful that the pins don't go through the front of the tie.

Stitching of the tie starts 15 cm from the tip of the tie. The whole tie is stitched using only one thread to make it stronger. The sort of stitching used is unique to Hermès, and that is what gives the tie it's suppleness. Also if you notice, the stitching is inside the tie,  so you don't see the stitching.  Watching her at work, it isn't simple at all. It takes a lot of practice and skill to get to this level.

There are a total of 50 stitches in an Hermès tie. Once it is finished, the tie is ironed and sent to quality control. The tie is again sent to Lyons for another round of quality control, and then shipped out to Paris and Hermès stores across the world.

Incidentally, if you want to know who made your tie, check out that letter and number stamped on the compress wool (not that you'll open it, but just in case). N refers to the person and 18 refers to the city where it was made.

Oh and of course, I had to ask, "How did you become a tie maker?"

"By chance!" the craftswoman replied. She said she one does not even need to be a seamstress.  She shares that she used to work in a school, but since she loves working with her hands she thought of becoming an artisan for Hermès. She underwent training for 3 months and then practiced working on ties from there.

So when you see a $185 tie from Hermès, remember this post before balking at the price. Heehee.

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