Thursday, February 19, 2015

18th century short cloak - the hood, mini tutorial

Well, putting together the short cloak was not as simple as I thought: the hood turned out to be quite a bit more complicated than a simple collar would have been. But as I wanted to stay as true to the original image as my creative freedom & fabric would allow, I opted for the hood!

First up, here's a preview of the short cloak & almost finished muff!

Short Cloak & Muff Preview - TheLadyDetalle
And now for the short cloak hood 'mini tutorial':

Here's a link to the blog entry where I talk about how I put together the short cloak base:

And on to the hood...
Image of hood shape from 'The Cut of Women's Clothes' by Norah Waugh:

Image from 'The Cut of Women's Clothes' by Norah Waugh
I began by re-visiting the page from 'The Cut of Women's Clothes' to discover next steps. The first problem to work through, was the description of the hood, 'cut from two-thirds of material folded folded double lengthways...' - was that two-thirds of a an aune? or two-thirds of the original cloak piece, which was one and a half aunes (and two-thirds to half an aune wide)?

Again, an aune is a French pre-Revolutionary term for length, and is roughly 47 inches. I decided it must mean two-thirds of the original piece, so I figured out I would need roughly 46" total (23" on the fold) by approximately 26" across.

Two pieces of fabric pinned together and on the fold: top layer is silk taffeta, bottom layer is pink linen:
Short cloak progress - TheLadyDetalle
Machine sewn with a small seam allowance, then trimmed the two small triangles as the book states like so:
Shaping the hood - TheLadyDetalle
I then gathered up the back together in circular pleats, and caught it at point H on the diagram, pinning & hand sewing on bias binding to finish the edges:

Adding bia binding to hood neckline - TheLadyDetalle
Next I picked up the original cloak that was almost finished, and made some small gathers at the neckline, before adding bias binding hand sewn to finish the neckline edge of the cloak:

Adding gathers to cloak base neckline - TheLadyDetalle
Here is the finished hood: bias binding has been hand sewn to finish all the edges, and I am now ready to attach it to the cloak base:

Finished cloak hood by TheLadyDetalle
This is the hand sewn finished cloak base: ready for the hood to be pinned, pleated & sewn on:

Finished cloak base by TheLadyDetalle
Here you can see where I tried on the partially finished cloak, to see where I wanted the hood to come to: the original point of attachment in the front was much lower than I wanted (although it mapped closer to the extant garment), I found that moving it up higher, seemed to stabilize the cloak better, balancing on my shoulders/neck like the one pictured on the right:

Deciding where to attach the hood - TheLadyDetalle
It also created a much prettier hood shape. So I attached the hood to the cloak base (I already had finished edges, so this was not too difficult), and then went about sewing down the white marabou feather trim (which took FOREVER, and was kind of a pain to work with). In the end, the effort was worth it, I love the finished result. I am finalizing the matching MUFF today, and then I will take pictures in costume this weekend in Williamsburg and post.

A few more construction notes: you don't need to finish the edges of the cloak base & hood before attaching them: you can attach them and then finish the edges, it's just, sometimes I like to create things with little finishing touches, and I loved how the bias binding looked and the stability it added, so I decided to put this together in my own way, as I'm sure seamstresses throughout time have done :).

Again, the original extant garment pic is this:

Extant cloak & muff - image from the Digital Museum
And here's my almost-finished short cloak!  [I tried this on with a quick up-do & tiara to see how it would fit over taller hair: success! (Please ignore the comfy pj pants I was sewing in, lol)...]

Almost finished cloak by TheLadyDetalle
I'm quite happy with how mine turned out! I'll post some better pictures soon!

I hope this little short cloak hood mini tutorial was helpful!


  1. LOVED your short cloak. And I'm not kidding, if you made a pattern of it I would totally buy it. I much prefer the ease of paying someone else to figure that stuff out for me.

    1. So sweet, thank you!! A pattern is a great idea, I'm seriously considering it :), thank you for the suggestion!