Saturday, 6 October 2012


Cravats are wonderful things!  You can disagree with me on this, but you will be wrong.  There is a sad shortage of cravats in every day dress and as such they are quite hard to find.  Up until recently I myself only owned one cravat.  A rather sorry looking polyester paisley affair.  It fell some way short of the dashing silk cravat I aspire to.

I happen to be rather fond of taffeta, but as a heterosexual chap there are not many ways I can get away with wearing it.   A cravat is one of the ways I can get away with wearing it.  I had bit of cloth left over from making a waistcoat, so I thought I would have a go at making cravat.

I had seen a vogue patterns for a few accessories including a cravat, but some thing had always stopped me from buying it.  Perhaps Jupiter's transit through Aquarius made me overly cautious, or perhaps it was the thought of paying £12.99 for a pattern for something, that even I could work out was basically a strip of cloth.  So I looked on the internet for people who had faced this dilemma before.  Surprisingly there was a total lack of useful advice.  I found a couple of people who mentioned the fact that they had made cravats for their wedding and 'saved a fortune!', someone who had made a cravat for their teddy, and someone showing how to make an 'easy' cravat using elastic and a lace doily.  Given that a cravat is essentially a straight strip of cloth, I' not sure how much easier it is to use a doily.

Anyway, I decided to do what I should have done from the start and took a closer look at my cravat.  What surprised me was it is even simpler than I had imagined.  I was expecting some kind of subtle but important shape cut on the bias, so that it hangs just so......No It really is just a long strip of cloth, pointed at both ends.  It is not even cut on the bias.  There is no lining, interfacing, webbing or any other material.  There is not even any difficult stitching.  So it more surprising that the cravat is not the introductory piece of sewing, equivalent to making a tie rack in woodwork, or 'hello world' in programming.

Instructions for how to make a cravat!
A cravat is just a strip of cloth aprox 115cm in length and 14cm wide, which has been finished to leave no cut edges.  To make the simplest cravat (one that is the same on both sides) fold a piece of cloth and pin it so that it does not move.

Mark a chalk line 14cm from the fold, along the length.

Mark a right angle point at one end then measure 115cm to the other end and mark a similar point there too.

If you need to cut out the cloth before you sew then don't forget to leave some seam allowance as you will be sewing along the chalk lines.

Starting at the fold, sew along the chalk line until you are almost at the middle.  Repeat from the other end, leaving a gap of about 10cm-15cm un-sewn in the middle.

Trim the seam allowance.

Turn the whole thing inside out through the gap that you left in the middle.

Press all of the edges with an iron to make them all nice and crisp.

Some cravats are left at that point, but you can close the hole and sew in some folds to make the back of the neck part look more attractive.

One finished cravat!

My lovely taffeta cravat.

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