Tag Archives: cotton

18th Century Style Jabot or Cravat

The Purim schpiel was based on Hamilton, and the costumes Joe and I altered/reused/repurposed/added to were 18th Century style, more specifically Revolutionary War style.  From scratch I made several jabots or cravats that I copied from one I found that buttons on to a blouse.  They aren’t 100% authentic by far, but if you need that quick final touch on a men’s Revulutionary War or French court or basically 1740s to 1780 costume, below are photos and instructions.

You’ll need some white or ivory lace or eyelet lace trim that’s already gathered up (as opposed to the totally flat kind, 1 3/4″ to 2 1/4″ wide, and probably only about 60″ of it, as well as less than a yard of white or ivory cotton, quilting weight or lighter, matching thread, and either some velcro or snaps.


Here is the jabot from the original blouse.


They sewed a ruffle to a rectangular base of the same fabric.


The back, where you can see it was sewn in a zigzag pattern.

First cut a neck band 5 or 6″ wide and the wearer’s neck measurement long plus 2 1/2″ for overlap and so it isn’t skin tight (people’s necks are from 13 or 14″ to 17 or 18″). Cut a base for the lace 7″ wide and 8″ tall.

Make a narrow hem on all 4 sides of the neck band.  Fold the base in half lengthwise, stitch around the bottom and long side, trim corners, turn right side out, and press.


Starting at the bottom of the base, sew the lace trim in a diagonal pattern all the way across the base and work your way up to the top.  Fold extra under at the bottom so the raw edge doesn’t stick out.  I didn’t finish my edge, but it’ll look nicer folded under.  At the top go straight across with a bit folded under.  Use the very top because that’s the seam allowance for when you attach it to the neck band.


Tack the top fold of lace to the base because it will want to flip up when it’s worn.


Here are some photos of the finished lace base part.



And the kinds of trim you can use (also regular lace trim).

Gather the ends of the neck band and two places between the ends.  When you look at paintings and fashion plates of men’s costume of the time, the part around their necks usually looks like a scarf that’s wider than their necks are tall.  Sew the velcro or snaps to the ends, overlapping the ends.  Then sew the lace and base piece to the center of the bottom long side of the neck band.


How wide the trim is affects how much you’ll need.  Wider trim uses less, narrower trim uses more.


While not perfectly authentic, it will work if you’re in a hurry.  I think it took me less than 30 minutes to cut and sew one.

Comments, questions, suggestions?  Yes, please!  Thanks for reading!


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Straight Skirt with Vent, Welt Pockets, and Contoured Waistband

After too long of not posting anything, I have something to finally post.  I was in a rear ending car accident at the end of October (right before Halloween so I didn’t even get to dress up), and couldn’t do much of anything anyway.  I still can only do so much per day.

In this post, I walk you through how to sew a straight skirt that’s just below the knee.  It has a contoured waistband, meaning it’s made from curved pieces, not just a long rectangle, welt pockets in the back (I don’t know why because I’ll probably never use them), and a vent at the center back hem, like a blazer would have and I think is also called a kick pleat.  Or maybe those are similar but distinct things.

I made the skirt out of burgundy woven 100% cotton, the kind from the quilting section of the fabric store.

Pieces are skirt front, skirt back x 2 (left and right), welt x 2, under welt x 2, welt side pocket bag x 2, under welt side pocket back x 2, front waistband, back waistband x 2 (left and right), front waistband facing, back waistband facing x 2 (left and right).  Plus interfacing for the welts, under welts, waistband pieces and waistband facing pieces, and two 1″ x 7″ pieces to go on the back of the skirt where the pockets will be.

Regarding the pattern: I made my own pattern from my own sloper with one dart in front and one in back (as opposed to two, so really the skirt has 4 darts total instead of 8), the pockets, contoured waistband, and vent at the hem.  You can use your own pattern or buy one.  If your pattern doesn’t have welt pockets, you can make the pieces for them.  They’re all just rectangles.  The welt is 7″ wide by 3″ high, the under welt is 7 x 2 1/2″, the pocket bag pieces are 7″ x however deep you want the pocket to be, with the under welt side being half an inch shorter.  The welt and under welt interfacing pieces can be the same size as the welt and under welt, but are generally 1/8″ smaller all the way around (6 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ and 6 3/4″ x 2 1/4″).


First fuse or sew your interfacing to the corresponding fabric pieces.

Sew the darts on the skirt front, press, and set aside.  I always pattern and press my darts to center front if they’re vertical darts and downward if they’re diagonal or horizontal.


Sew the center back seam from where the bottom of the zipper will be to the end of the diagonal part of the vent and sew the darts.  Press.


Finish the edges of the vent, the vertical center back part, press to one side (I think I pressed mine so it’d be to the right as worn), and top stitch the diagonal part through all layers of fabric.  (Because of the amount of fabric I had, I had to make part of the vent a separate piece.)


Finish the center back seam, if you haven’t already.  Insert the zipper at the top of the center back seam.  Even after sewing for 30 years, I still can’t get the last step of top stitching the zipper to turn out smooth and even.  Go figure.

Now it’s time to put in the pockets.  I demonstrated this in my posts How to Make a Nice Men’s Vest but here it is again.

Mark on the wrong side of the skirt back where the pockets will be, which will be over where you put the 1″ x 7″ pieces of interfacing (if you’re using sew-in interfacing, you will have basted the interfacing in and you can remove the stitches later).  From the right side, put a pin on each end of the pocket opening (5″ apart so there is one inch on each end of the interfacing).

Press the welt pieces as shown.  (The pressing jig is made from a Manila file folder and its base is 1″ wide and more than 7″ long.  The flap is slightly less than 1″ wide.)

Mark on each welt piece 1″ from each end.  Fold one of the welts and pin it to the right side of the skirt back.  Stitch 1/4″ from the fold from 1″ mark to 1″ mark.



Fold that part up out of the way and fold up the other pressed fold.  Stitch that between the markers 1/4″ from the fold.  Check to make sure your stitching lines are the same length and add to one end or another of either line to make them the same.  Then, holding the welt edges out of the way, cut through the welt and skirt back between the stitching lines.  1/2″ to 3/4″ from the ends of the lines, cut diagonally to the stitching but not through it.


Turn the welt to the wrong side through where you just cut it.  Press.  Yes, you will have folded bits at the ends.  They’re supposed to be there.  Then stitch the welt side pocket bag piece to the long side of the welt that’s toward the hem.  Sew the under welts and the under welt side pocket bags to each other along a long side and press the seams toward the pocket bag.


Through all layers except the skirt back itself, stitch the triangle ends you cut.


Lay the under welt/pocket bag pieces on the welt/pocket bag sections.  Pin and stitch all the way around, keeping the skirt back out of the way, with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Start on the bottom of a side so you stitch the bottom of the pocket bag last.  You might have to trim off a bit of the pocket bag at the bottom like silly me had to do because I accidentally sewed the under welt side to the welt and the welt side to the under welt.  Press then tack the top of the welt/under welt layers to the dart intake.



Once the pockets are done, you can sew the skirt front to the skirt back at the side seams and sew the waistband front and backs and the waistband facing front and backs together at the side seams.

Finish the skirt side seams.  Press them and the waistband and waistband facing seams.  Stitch the long edge of the waistband to the top of the skirt, right sides together, including top of zipper tape.  Clip curves.  Press waistband and seam allowances upward.

Stitch the short edge of the waistband facing to the short edge of the waistband, pivoting at ends and stitching down to long edge.  Clip corners and curves.  Turn to inside and press so that the facing goes down, covering the waistband and seam allowances.  Press the long edge of the facing under and stitch to the waistband.  Press. 

Make a buttonhole and sew on a button at center back or use hooks and eyes.

Press and sew the hem.

I don’t know why I don’t have photos of all that.  When I get them I’ll post because I cut out two other skirts.



The finished front and back.

Please leave comments, questions, and suggestions.  Thanks for reading!

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