Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sewing update - 3 projects - 18th century short cloak

Sewing update:

I was able to do some sewing recently, so progressing on 3 projects:
1) M's waistcoat: I fitted the second mock-up for M's modified 18th century waistcoat and now have the fashion fabric & silk taffeta back pattern pieces cut out. I lack anything exciting in the stash for the lining, so that will either be a nice white cotton, or I'll head to JoAnn's or G Street Fabrics soon to rectify that.

2) My rose pink cotton velvet Regency spencer: I finally picked apart the sleeve seams, sewing them back together with smaller sleeve allowance, pinned the bodice & cream dupioni silk lining together, and now ready to set the sleeves.

3) 18th century silk short cloak: I've had the fabric for this one since 2011, and finally getting it made! I found a pic of an extant garment years ago (2012 I think? - image at end of post below) that I could not resist adding to my 'I must make this some day' list, and although others have since also used this for inspiration, I don't have enough yards of another color of silk taffeta that isn't already 'committed' to a project, and I really wanted to stay true to the original on this one, so it's finally getting made!

No pattern, so drafted this one: I looked at blog entries by a few well known costumers for general ideas on short cloaks, and to see how they shaped theirs, looked at a bunch of images online & doing further research, and then got started on making up a general shape in muslin. I recalled that someone posted about a reference to a short cloak in 'A Cut of Women's Clothes', so I grabbed that book off the shelf, google'd 'aune' (which is how the book describes the length & width) and converted 'aunes' to inches, and then referenced that image to get the 'final' shape closer to what I wanted.

Image of a diagram in the 'The Cut of Women's Clothes' by Norah Waugh
There were also multiple iterations of trying on, cutting & re-shaping, trying on, and again.

My earlier guesstimations at shape were on the right track thanks to above mentioned research, but looking at the image in the book, I was able to get the final shape where I wanted it.

Cloak shaping in progress by TheLadyDetalle
Once I was finally satisfied with my muslin mock-up, I cut out the actual cloak fabric using a pretty silk taffeta I picked out in the L.A. Garment District back in 2011, and lined with pink linen from in India.

I basically cut out one lining in linen (on the fold) and cut out one fashion fabric (on the fold) in the silk taffeta; I decided not to line this as the linen already gives it a little weight, and I want this on the lighter, rather than heavier side. I pinned the silk & linen together, and machine stitched a very small seam allowance all the way around to hold the two together.

Now I am using bias cut binding from the same pink silk to finish the edges, pinned & sewn on to cover over the machine stitched seam allowance; basically hand sewing on the bias binding all around the edges.

Here is the cloak base in progress:

Cloak in progress - adding bias binding by TheLadyDetalle
Short cloak progress by TheLadyDetalle
I still need to tackle the hood, which is described in the book as a fabric folded double lengthways with tiny triangles removed and with circular pleats gathered together...I also have to gather the neckline a bit, add the hood, then finish that trim, and then add the marabou feather boa/s. I also need to make the muff, which is cut out already.

The inspiration extant garment is one from Digital Museum, showed up in 2012 and I fell in love with making a version:
Extant short cloak image from The Digital Museum
More sewing progress on this one soon!


  1. This is an excellent post I seen thanks to share it. It is really what I wanted to see hope in future you will continue for sharing such a excellent post. best sewing machine

    1. Definitely! You're welcome and glad you enjoyed the post! I have a few upcoming sewing construction posts on a late 1790's gown that's almost finished and another silk cape in progress, so check back in the next day or so!

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