Tag Archives: theatre costumes

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.

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Here is the jabot from the original blouse.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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Here are some photos of the finished lace base part.

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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.

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

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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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