Tag Archives: cravat

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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Another cravat

I just made another cravat.  It’s more complicated than the ones in one of my previous entries, but not by much.  I’ll show you photos then tell you what I did to make it.

The cravat I just made

The cravat I just made


A close up view of the ends of the cravat


Another view of the cravat I just made

The base of the cravat is a piece of Chinese silk that is 60″ long and 12″ wide.  The gold flowers on navy and royal blue is scraps from a sari from India.  The rest of the sari was cut into a bodice and over skirt for one of my models for a fashion and variety show in July.  The model who is wearing this cravat is also wearing a duppioni silk vest that is a light, cool blue with a navy blue velveteen collar.  These blues match the vest.

After cutting the Chinese silk, I cut a piece of fusible interfacing the same size and fused it to the silk.  I had to piece together the border scraps to make a strip that was long enough, so I did that, then laid the border on the silk.  I basted the selvage edge of the border to the edge of the silk then sewed the other side of the border to the silk with a zigzag stitch.  I made it a little narrower than the default setting and changed the length to 0.5 so the stitches would cover up the cut edge of the border.  I pressed the whole thing.

I folded the silk so that the other long edge of the rectangle met the long edge I had just sewn the border to.  With right sides together, I stitched that long edge and the ends, leaving a space on the long edge a bit wider than my hand so I could easily turn the cravat right side out.  I clipped the corners and turned it right side out.  I pressed it with the border side down so that I could pull the edges a bit toward the non-border side.  I stitched the opening closed then edge stitched all the way around the cravat 1/8″ from the edge.  Then I pressed it again.

[5/21/14]: I forgot to add that like in the other cravat entry above, I folded the cravat the long way so it was a few layers thick and sewed it down.  This is just a bit off exact half and is long enough for around the back of the neck.  You might not want to do it if you want your cravat to be more free flowing or like a scarf, but this is so that this part can nicely sit at the back of the neck before being wrapped.  Here’s a photo:

Folding and stitching for the back of the neck

Folding and stitching for the back of the neck


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(Neo-) Victorian/Steampunk-style Cravat/Ascot

Making that particular kind of neckwear I call a cravat, that some call an Ascot, which is perfect for Victorian, Neo-Victorian, Steampunk, etc. is actually quite simple.  You need a piece of fabric that is 60 inches long by 14 inches wide, a piece of fusible interfacing (preferably the knit/tricot kind not the non-woven fiber kind) that’s the same size, matching thread, scissors, something with which to turn the points, something with which you can mark on the fabric and interfacing, a space for cutting, and the pattern.  While you can sew it by hand, it’s demonstrated here on a sewing machine.

You probably want some sort of fabric that will press fairly easily and isn’t a pile that can get crushed by being pressed.  I used duppioni silk for this one, but I have used poly/nylon taffeta, and some slippery brocade.  A nifty cotton print will work nicely, too.  I think outright nothing really heavy and no velvet and nothing with a lot of stretch.

First, draft the pattern.  Don’t worry!  It’s easy!  It’s a rectangle with pointy ends.

Here is one end of the pattern. The other end looks the same. It's a bit skewed because of the angle of the camera. The end should be evenly pointed, not these weird angles.

On a piece of paper, make two parallel lines around 8″ apart and about 60″ long.  Use whatever you have, as long as it isn’t newspaper.  At the two ends, draw perpendicular lines connecting the two lines.  Then find the centers and extend out 3 or 4″ until you can make a nice point.  Make diagonal lines connecting so the shape looks like the one above.  Add 1/4″ all around for the seam allowance.  The sides of my pattern are 53 1/4″ long (incl. seam allowance), the center from point to point is 57 1/2″ long (incl. S.A.), and it’s 6″ wide (incl. S.A.).  See on the right end of the photo where there are notches and a sketch?  The sketch is how you fold the part of the cravat where it goes along the back of the neck.  The notches are for where the folding starts and stops.  On the long sides, I notched for folding 21″, 25″, and 29″ from one end.  When you cut out your fabric, don’t cut the notches.  They’re guides for when you’re ready to fold.  About the center of the photo above, it says Cravat (call it whatever you want), then the date I made the pattern, then cut 2 listed twice.  Black ink is for most patterns, the shell (outer) fabric.  The red ink is for interfacing.  Do it this way so you’ll remember you have to cut fabric and interfacing.

Once you have your pattern made, cut it out and lay out your fabric (folded in a double layer) and lay the pattern over it.  Weight the pattern with something so it doesn’t shift (don’t pin it), trace around it, and set it aside.  Cut out your fabric and move that and do the same for the interfacing (double layer, too).

Then fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric.  (Usually wool setting with highest steam setting.)

A piece of fusible interfacing laid over the cravat fabric.

Fusible interfacing laid over the wrong side of the fabric and the pressing cloth laid over that.

Now the pieces are ready to sew together.  Use a 1/4″ seam allowance.  If you’re used to 5/8″, try 1/4″ and go as slowly as you need to go.  It turns out much nicer and you don’t have to trim as much excess off (plus it does save a bit of fabric).

Sew all around the shape of the cravat, leaving about 6" open so you can turn it right side out. The opening should be near the center of one of the long sides. See the opening at the top of the photo? That's about 6". The seam pivots and goes to the edge, which makes it easier for the seam allowance to turn to the inside once it's right side out.

The corners are sewn.

If your machine doesn’t press very hard to meld the fabric and thread, press this flat as it is.  Then clip the corners to reduce bulk.

Clip fairly close to the stitching but be careful to not cut into the stitching.

Now, turn the cravat right side out, press it flat, and stitch the opening closed.

Here the cravat is turned right side out and the corners have been pushed out as far as they'll go from the inside with a chopstick.

Here, it's nicely pressed. Sometimes you have to manipulate the fabric closely and carefully so as much of it will turn out and press flat and pretty.

Here the opening has been sewn shut with matching thread.

Press that.  Now it’s time to fold where it will sit on the back of the neck, pin it, and stitch it.  This placement is near the center but off by a bit so that one end of the cravat will be longer than the other.

The basic amount of folding is 1/3 of it is left flat and the other 2/3 are folded into thirds or whatever matches the first 1/3. This is all stitched along the short way three times as shown. See how it's near the opening you just stitched shut? It's folded so one long side is down in the photo and the other long side is up. It ends up being a hair over an inch wide.

You can press that, too.

The finished cravat.

Here is a photo of my husband wearing it.

Rob with the cravat just demonstrated (and the vest from an earlier post) with me next to him.


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