A Linen Neckstock

Recently, my husband and I were asked to portray tavern owners at the historic 1753 Bachman Publick House here in Easton, Pennsylvania.   Owing to the fact that we had portrayed only militia in the past, we realized we needed some new clothing.   While tavern owners certainly weren\’t the aristocracy of the area, they were reasonably well-off and could afford much better clothing than the local farm labourers.  

In order to dress up my husband\’s wardrobe in a hurry, he asked me to make him a neckstock so he wouldn\’t have to wear his usual kerchief.   I patterned his stock on the neckstock in the Colonial Williamsburg collection believed to belong to King George II (accession number: 1993-166).

\"Neckstock

This neckstock (measuring 17\” long by 2\” wide, the pleated body measuring 12\” long) is of remarkably fine manufacture.   It is constructed from very fine white linens.   The thread count of the tabs is 100 x 140 threads to the inch.   The pleated front utilizes even finer linen.  

The almost-sheer linen of the front piece is pleated into 46 infinitesimal pleats and sewn to a coarser linen interlining with long running stitches.   Each pleat measures approximately 1/32\”.   The back is created by folding over the last 2\” of the front and stitching it down.   One end is left open to receive stiffening, which is missing from the original.   The tabs are double layers of linen with folds at the ends. They are stitched together by turning the ends under and whipstitching.   The tabs were not sewn inside-out and turned.   They are then attached to the stock proper with tiny backstitches 1/8\” away from the edge.   The shorter tab (the buckle end) has three buttonholes to take the knobs of the stock buckle.   This end is topstitched.   The other end has a crown and \”46\” cross-stitched on the back.   All sewing is down with white linen thread except the crown and 46 which are done with dark red silk.

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The cut pieces of linen for the stock.   The large piece is both the pleated front and the flat back of the stock.   You can see the top folded over 2\” to create the back.   The other strips are the linen interlining and a strip of buckram used for stiffening.

The large piece of linen being pleated to a final width of 2\”.

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The pleated front with the linen interlining and buckram ready to be sandwiched into the stock.

The back is folded over and pressed, capturing the interlining and stiffening inside.

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The front of the pressed stock.

The pleated stock.   The original had 46 tiny pleats on the front.   Since my husband is portraying a tavern owner, not King George, his stock only has nine pleats.

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The ends of the finished stock.   The short end gets buttonholes to match the stock buckle.   The long end slips through the buckle.

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The finished stock.

A fashionable gentleman wearing the neckstock.

All pictures on this site taken by the author except photo of the original stock scanned from Baumgarten\’s book.

Bibliography

  1. Baumgarten, Linda and John Watson with Florine Carr. Costume Close-Up: Clothing Construction and Pattern. Hollywood: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1999.

© 2002, 2003 Kass McGann. All Rights Reserved. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this document for non-commercial private research or educational purposes provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.

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