How to Make A
Also known as an Ascot tie, the cravat is a formal accessory that is most often worn at weddings and other special events, as an alternative to the usual neck tie, or is worn as part of a steampunk outfit or Halloween costume (a blood-red cravat is perfect for vampires!)
As well as looking smart, it's also a fun & simple project that is ideal for sewing beginners. In total, this project should take under 2 hours, and cost you very few £££.
Cravats are often pleated at the neck to reduce the width in that area, but I’m making a plainer/simpler cravat where pleating is not required, so it's even easier to make!
If you scroll down this page you will find written instructions, but first is my video tutorial which guides you through each step.
The running order of the video is as follows:
00:25 - What you will need
02:55 - Start of the tutorial + making the template
07:00 - Cutting the fabric pieces out (If you are using fabric over 50"/127 cm wide)
10:25 - Cutting the fabric pieces out (If you are using fabric less than 50" wide)
14:25 - Start sewing the cravat pieces together.
You will need:
- Fabric; Silk/satin are the traditional choices but pretty much any fabric will do. Satin edges do fray and shed a bit so be aware of that.
This cravat is reversible, and you can make the back and the front out of different fabrics if you like, as long as they look nice together. That way you kind of get 2 cravats in one!
You will require either enough fabric for 2 pieces that measure 50” (127cm) long and 7” (18cm) wide OR enough fabric for 4 pieces that measure 25” (64cm) long and 7” (18cm) wide.
- Paper; to make the template with
- Sewing machine and thread that matches the fabric (although hand sewing is an option but will take longer)
- Sewing pins
- Fabric scissors
- Rotary cutter and cutting mat (optional)
- Iron and ironing board
- Pattern weights (or any random items to hold down the template!)
- Pen or pencil
- Scrap fabric (optional); to test out the fit of the cravat before making it in the 'proper' fabric.
- Fabric pen (optional)
- Pinking shears (optional but recommended)
- Chopstick/knitting needle or similar
F i n d W h a t Y o u N e e d o n A m a z o n U . S . :
- First you will need to wash and iron your fabric.
Be careful to look up what temperature setting to use for your fabric; satin for instance can be melted with an iron and may need a lower temperature setting, or may require a clean dishcloth in between the iron and fabric to protect it.
- Next, you will need to make a paper template. If you don't have a piece of paper big enough for the template above (which is obviously not to scale!) then you can tape smaller pieces together.
If you would like some tips on how to draw this template yourself:
* The easiest way is to first draw a box that measures 25” x 7”, making sure the corners are at right angles. Cut the box out and then fold in half lengthways. This fold is the centre line.
The most important thing with the template is that everything is symmetrical either side of this centre line.
Don’t worry about being a few mm off here and there, the shape is really just a guideline.
* You can then draw a line 1.25” above the centre line, going from the left end of the paper, measuring 11” long and positioned parallel to the centre line. Make a mark at the 9” point on this line too.
* Then measure 2.25" upwards from the end of this 11" line you just made, and draw another 11" line, going to the right. This line should be parallel to the centre line and lie 3.5" above it.
* Join the start of this second 11” line to the 9” mark you previously made on the first line.
* Then measure 25” from the left side of the paper, along the centre line. Join this point up to the end of the second 11" line you drew.
You have now drawn half of your template.
- All you need to do now is fold the paper along the centre line, and cut along the lines you have just drawn (cutting through both layers of paper).
This will create a symmetrical shape exactly as shown below.
Note: The sizes I’m using are suited to the average man.
If you need to make a cravat for a child, or you want to test the fit of the cravat to make sure you like the way it looks before you make it for real, then first make a ‘mock-up’ from a single layer of scrap fabric.
Then you can just adjust it until it fits well on the intended person.
No sewing is required for this – you can just use safety pins or a fabric pen to mark any necessary adjustments – and it shouldn’t take very long to do at all. The sizing for a cravat doesn’t have to be that precise.
You then use the amended template going forward with this project
Now you need to use this template to cut out the fabric pieces.
Ideally you want to cut out 2 long pieces of fabric, each one twice the size of the template. You'll be able to do this if you have fabric at least 50”/127 cm long.
(= Option 1)
If you don't have long enough fabric to do this, you can instead cut out 4 pieces of fabric the same size (well, almost) as the template, which is something I will show you how to do further down the page.
(= Option 2)
- Take a piece of fabric at least twice the length of the template, and at least as wide, and fold it in half widthways, across the centre.
- Position the template on top so that the narrow end lines up with the fold (see photos above).
- Using sewing pins to keep it in place.
Note: If you are intending to make each side of the cravat in a different fabric, then you will need to cut out 1 piece in each fabric.
This diagram shows both options for cutting out the fabric pieces - option 1 at the bottom and option 2 at the top.
- Place the fabric and the template on a cutting mat, and weight the template down with pattern weights or - as in my case - anything you can find!
This is to stop the fabric sliding around and to stop anything moving when you cut it.
- Use your rotary cutter to cut around the template shape, cutting through both layers of fabric.
This will give you a long piece of fabric twice the size of the template.
- Repeat the steps above once more to give you 2 identical shapes of fabric.
Tip: Using a metal ruler with a rotary cutter helps to get straighter lines.
If you don’t have a rotary cutter and cutting mat, feel free to use another method. For instance, pin both layers and the template together and cut around the template with fabric scissors.
This option is set up the same as above, with weights on top of the template on top of the fabric on top of the cutting mat.
However there are a few differences: a) you are only cutting through one layer of fabric at a time, rather than a piece of folded fabric, b) you are cutting 4 pieces of fabric out rather than 2, and c) you will need to add an extra 1/2" of fabric at the narrow end of each piece.
- To add the extra 1/2", place the template on the single layer of fabric so that the narrow end is 1/2" away from the fabric edge, as shown in the photo below. Pin the template in place at this point.
- Cut around the template using a rotary cutter and ruler, except at the narrow end where you simply cut straight to the fabric edge to add that extra 1/2". Repeat this 4 times.
The result will be 4 pieces of fabric almost the same size as the paper template.
Note: If you are intending to make each side of the cravat in a different fabric, then you will need to cut out 2 pieces in each fabric.
Because with this option you now have 4 separate pieces, you will need to pair these fabric shapes up to create 2 longer pieces before moving on to the next step.
- To do this, take 2 of the fabric pieces and place them right sides together, so that the edges line up. Then do the same for the other 2 pieces.
- Use sewing pins, as shown below, to connect each pair together at the narrow end.
- Then sew straight across the narrow end using straight stitches on a sewing machine (or backstitches if you're doing this by hand).
Use a seam allowance of 1/2" and a matching thread (I used a red polyester thread).
You don't want the stitches to be too long (I used a length of 2.5 mm).
- Press the seam open on the back of the fabric pieces using an iron.
No matter which option you took, you should now have 2 long pieces of fabric.
Note: At this point, feel free to test a fabric piece around your neck to see how it looks when you tie it as a cravat. If you want to amend anything now is the time to do it.
Just remember that any changes must be made to all pieces of fabric to keep everything symmetrical.
Now we need to join the 2 long pieces together.
- First, place one piece on top of the other, so that the right sides are together and the edges all line up.
- Insert sewing pins through both layers all around the edge, except at one of the pointed ends, which you are going to keep completely open.
- Take your cravat over to the sewing machine and start sewing with a straight stitch, beginning (and ending) next to the unpinned section. Sew around the cravat, removing pins as you go.
You can use a 1/2" or 1/4" seam allowance (I used 1/2"), and I used a 2.5 mm stitch length.
You can use the markings on the plate of the sewing machine, or a magnetic seam guide, to help you sew a consistant distance from the edge of the fabric.
- Although optional, I would highly recommend removing some fabric bulk from the angles of the cravat now, between the stitch line and the edge of fabric. This is so that these areas are not bumpy and bulky when the cravat is turned inside out.
You will need to cut a little bit of fabric off at each angle/corner on the cravat, making sure to stay a couple of mm from the stitch line, as the last thing you want to do is cut that!
So, at the sewn convex angles - of which there will be 9 - cut off the point of the fabric diagonally.
And at the concave angles - of which there will be 4 - cut a triangular notch into the fabric (or clip the fabric).
Unfortunately I don't have a photo of this, but if you're stuck, this page should help you out.
- Once the 2 pieces have been sewn together, you will need to turn the cravat inside out, through the pointed end that you left open.
Use a chopstick or similar to help you, if necessary.
- Press the cravat with the iron to make it nice and neat around the edges.
- Then you need to sew up the opening. To do this, first fold the edges of the open end in inwards by about ½” and press.
- Pin these folded edges together so that they line up.
- Topstitch along the opening, removing the pins as you go.
These stitches will be on the outside of the cravat so you want them to be as neat as possible.
I used a 2.5 mm straight stitch again and tried to sew as close to the edge as possible (i.e. edgestitch).
And you've now sewn a cravat!
The photos below show you how to tie the cravat:
First you put it around your neck, with one side higher than the other.
Then you take the lower end and wrap it 1.5 times around the narrow section on the other side, before pushing it up behind the narrow section at the front, over the top and down.
This is then tucked into a waistcoat, or a shirt.
I really hope you enjoyed this sewing project, and thanks for reading :)