How do we create Tie Wallets?

by Mark Ward October 27, 2016

How do we create Tie Wallets?

It’s arduous, but a labor of love.  There’s something cool about taking something that has been discarded and turning it into something useful, something beautiful and something worth keeping.  Recycling anything takes time, it takes a thoughtful approach and requires planning.  Deconstructing an object that is in its “final” form to be reconstructed and resurrected into something else completely is something that most people take for granted these days. Especially since we’ve had almost 2 generations now who have been indoctrinated into the recycling club.  It’s a good thing everyone should be mindful of, it keeps the world beautiful, free of pollution and reduces utilization of resources.  But few people, unless provoked in thought, understand the tremendous increase in energy required to recreate something new from something old.  At Narwhal, that’s what we do with vintage men’s polyester ties.

Why polyester?  Why not silk?  Why not linens, cotton or wool?  Well, it’s due to durability.  Silk may be more elegant and linen is nice to the touch, but polyester has staying power!  It wears like steel.  We want our unique men’s wallets to be long-lasting and durable.  We want them to provide a long life for our customers.  For this reason and for the millions of cool designs that the 1970’s gave us in high-tinsel strength polyester, we went with that fabric. We’ve NEVER been disappointed with the choice.

We purchase our ties by the bundle, or the handful if we’re at a local thrift shop.  I suppose that someday we’ll run out of these babies, but until then, we continue to sweep up as many as we can find.  We’ll even create a custom wallet for you from your personal tie if you send us an email.  Personality and the unique nature of our product make these cooler than a run of the mill piece of leather wallet you can find anywhere in any grocery store.

First, we check the tie for any defects, stains or irregularities that would affect the final product quality.  You shouldn’t be surprised to know that many ties come with many stains…they are men’s bibs after all, sopping up the days lunch fodder to save the precious shirt from ruin.  But enough of the archaeology...

Once it passes the quality test, we cut the tie, gut the interior very like a fish and then tear out the bottom skirt to reveal the full fillet of a tie, in all its glory.  All of this is done by hand, no machine can do this…well I’m sure we could create one, but it would be a Rube Goldberg device worthy of the name.  If we’re dealing with a sweet, monster sized 1970’s, Huggy Bear quality tie, it will have upwards of an 8 inch spread at the widest part. This provides wonderful space to accommodate our templates.  We take each tie, and iron them, again by hand, so we can again inspect the quality (again), remove any seams that could affect our strengthening fabric and prepare it for cutting.

We apply backer fabric to reinforce the wallet tie to ensure it is rigid enough to handle the wear and tear, but be flexible enough to provide years of use.  This is done via ironing and prepares the tie for cutting.

Depending on the template applied, we can get any of our wallet designs from the ties.  There are multiple pieces per wallet required from the tie. Once cut, by hand, we then marry it with other fabric to provide internal support and flexible backing.

All these pieces are then sewn together, by loving hands of our devoted tie huggers in the United States. THIS IS SO TIME INTENSIVE that we wonder whey we do it sometimes.  But in the end, the product produced is strong, superior and as we keep saying, unique and one-of-a-kind.  The additional bonus is that they’re recycled.  What was once a discarded tie, waiting for the land fill is now gaining a second life.  We love what we do and we hope you can appreciate these items as much as we like creating them.


Mark Ward
Mark Ward

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