How to Make a Cravat

by Jamie Farber

A cravat is an optionin lieu of a tie which can be worn with a tuxedo or other formal wear.

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A cravat is the forerunner of the modern tie and there are those that still refer to neckties as cravats. The cravat has its beginnings in 17th Century Croatia when men wore either silk or cotton scarves tied under their collars. Today, cravats are still worn as a part of men's formal wear and are often used as an alternative to a bow tie or necktie with tuxedos. Cravats can be purchased at most menswear stores, but you can also make your own.

Items you will need

  • Measuring tape
  • Brown paper bag
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • 1 yard of fabric
  • Straight pins
  • Thread that matches the fabric
  • Sewing machine or needle
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • 3 inch by 12 inch piece of interfacing
Step 1

Cut open a brown paper shopping bag and spread it out flat. You will use this as paper for your cravat pattern. Draw the collar piece, which is a rectangle that is 13.5 inches long and 3 inches wide. Add a slight curve to the bottom line of the rectangle. Use your measuring tape for correct measurements.

Step 2

Draw the tie portion of the cravat on the brown paper. The tie piece is a rectangle that is 12 inches wide and 34 inches high. Leave one short end of the rectangle open and draw a v-shape that goes down 7 inches. The point of the V-shape should be centered in the rectangle.

Step 3

Cut out the pattern from the brown paper.

Step 4

Lay your fabric, good side down, on a flat surface. Pin the collar and tie pattern to the fabric using straight pins and cut around the pattern. Remove the pins from the pattern and place the fabric pieces you just cut out to the side. Re-pin the pattern pieces to the large piece of fabric and cut a second set of collar and tie pieces from the fabric. Remove the pins and paper pattern from the second set of fabric pieces.

Step 5

Fold one of the fabric tie pieces in half lengthwise, with the V-shaped portions and the long ends of the rectangle meeting together. Pin the fabric together along both the long side and the V-shaped side. Repeat the process with the other fabric tie piece. If you are using fabric that has a good side and a bad side, fold the fabric and pin it with the good side, or the side you intend to have showing, facing inside.

Step 6

Sew a seam along the pinned sides of the tie 1/4 inch in from the end of the material. Do not sew the short, straight end of the tie which you did not pin. You can either use a sewing machine and thread that matches your fabric or a needle and matching thread to complete the sewing. Remove the pins and turn the tie right side out, pulling the sewed edges through the open side. Repeat the process with the other tie piece.

Step 7

Place the tie pieces on an ironing board with the long seam to the side and iron the tie pieces to remove any wrinkles.

Step 8

Place the collar fabric pieces on top of each other with the good sides facing in. Put a 3 inch by 12 inch piece of interfacing on top of the collar fabric pieces and pin the pieces and interfacing together along the two long sides.

Step 9

Sew a seam on the long sides of the collar 1/4 inch in from the end. Remove the pins from the fabric and pull the collar right side out through one of the open ends. Once the good side of the fabric is facing out, turn the edges of the collar inside, to cover the rough finish. Place the collar on the ironing board with the long seams at the top and bottom and press with an iron.

Step 10

Place two straight pins on each side of the open end of one of the tie pieces. The straight pins should go in the top of the long seams and, when the pins are in place, it will resemble a football goalpost.

Step 11

Wrap one end of a piece of thread tightly around the end of one of the pins. You will need to wrap the thread around the head of the pin at least four times. Once the thread is securely on the pin, hold the pin with the thread with one hand and pull lightly on the other end of the thread with your other hand. Pulling the thread should cause the tie material to bunch up and make the opening smaller. Continue to pull on the thread until the tie opening is the same size as one of the openings in the collar. Wrap the loose end of the thread tightly around the other straight pin once you have reached the desired width.

Step 12

Sew the opening on the tie piece closed with your sewing machine or a needle and thread. The seam should be 1/4-inch from the edge of the fabric. Remove the pins and the thread once the sewing is complete.

Step 13

Place two straight pins on each side of the open end of the remaining tie piece. The straight pins should go in the top of the long seams and, when the pins are in place, it will resemble a football goalpost.

Step 14

Wrap one end of a piece of thread tightly around the end of one of the pins, just as you did with the other tie piece. You will need to wrap the thread around the head of the pin at least four times. Once the thread is securely on the pin, hold the pin with one hand and pull lightly on the other end of the thread with your other hand. Pulling the thread should cause the tie material to bunch up and make the opening smaller. Continue to pull on the thread until the tie opening is the same size as one of the openings in the collar. Wrap the loose end of the thread tightly around the other straight pin once you have reached the desired width.

Step 15

Sew the opening on the second tie piece closed with your sewing machine or a needle and thread. The seam should be 1/4-inch from the edge of the fabric. Remove the pins and the thread once the sewing is complete.

Step 16

Place the tie ends that you just sewed into each of the open ends of the collar. The tie pieces should go 1 to 1/2 inches into the collar piece. Pin the tie pieces into place and sew the pieces together where the end of the tie meets the collar. When you are finished, you will have a collar piece with a tie piece on either side.

Step 17

Remove any loose threads and give the cravat a final press with your iron, laying the cravat on the ironing board with the seams to the side.

Tips

  • To wear your cravat, tie it in a four-in-hand knot like a regular necktie. You can also wear the cravat as a jabot by tying it in a loose, floppy bow.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Valueline/Getty Images

About the Author

Jamie Farber started writing professionally in 2000. Her work has appeared in several newspapers, including "The Grand Rapids Press," "The Advance" and "The Wooster Daily Record," as well as in several local magazines and on various websites. Farber holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from The College of Wooster.