I wanted to make a cravat to go with my Regency shirt. You wouldn't think that was such a difficult thing, right? It's only a simple piece of cloth. Well I wasn't sure exactly what went into it - how long it should be, and so forth. I looked online, and found one ubiquitous set of directions, which showed up on multiple sites:
These directions make no sense.
- Cut 1.5 yards white linen. Keep the selvage edge smooth.
- Fold in half lengthwise.
- Measure 10 inches on the fold and cut. This will give you an isosceles triangle, 55" x 10".
- Hand sew a narrow hem on the slanted edges - the selvage [sic] edge is already finished.
- Spray starch and iron.
How wide should you cut your 1.5 yards of linen? If you fold it in half, measure 10 inches and cut, you get a rhombus, not a triangle. You can hem the slanted edges, and the selvedge edge is finished, but that then leaves a long edge to also cut.
I decided not to use these directions.
I have a Victorian shirt pattern (Laughing Moon #107) which gives patterns for various styles of neckwear, including one for a cravat. It's very simple: cut a 50" square of linen, and fold it up on the bias to form the cravat. I decided to take this approach.
My handkerchief-weight linen is 56" wide, so I decided to make a 56" square instead of a 50" one, so I'd only have to hand-roll two hems instead of three. That took me a couple of days to do. I folded it up and ironed it (saving the starch for later) and found...it's really a lot of fabric. Even in handkerchief-weight, after folding it into six layers it's more like a scarf than a cravat:
When I wrapped it around my neck, and made it tight enough so that it didn't look too bulky, it sure helped my posture!
I think I'm going to have to drastically reduce the amount of fabric in this cravat. The ubiquitous instructions also come with an image of various ways to tie the cravat, including a picture at the bottom of an untied one: