Sunday, August 14, 2016

Winter Wear - A hooded cape limited workshop at Costume College

How many of you love historical outerwear? You dream of Victorian skating parties in the depths of winter or winter sleigh rides in the light falling snow. An 18th century carriage ride to a Twelfth Night in Williamsburg, with a wool blanket to warm your frosty toes and a down-filled muff in your lap to warm your hands in...
18th Century portrait

I don't know about you, but I get SO excited when I see historical fashion plates of a lovely pair of ladies in beautiful silk pelisses or hooded capes and mantles, or a Victorian woman at a skating party with a fitted mantle and matching fur-trimmed muff! I dream of warm woolen cloaks with large fur muffs and linen-lined silk fashion hooded capes trimmed in warm fluffy marabou.

18th Century print
[And if you live in a warm climate, don't despair, you can still wear a lightweight fashion cape made of breathable fibers (think silk, linen or cotton), and you can even leave off the hood and just make a cape or pelisse!]

I'm so excited to share what I have learned about outerwear of the 18th and 19th centuries! About two weeks ago, I taught a class at Costume College in L.A. called 'Winter Wear - Hooded Cape workshop' - as you can imagine, we were making 18th (or 19th) century hooded capes!

Here is the inspiration that started it all for me!
18th century extant pink
silk hooded cape & muff by
The Digital Museum

I had a full limited class of 10 students, and we had 2 1/2 hours to make progress on our capes. I started the class with a short history of capes and outerwear from the mid 18th through late 19th centuries, illustrating how the shapes changed (and yet in some cases changed very little) through the years. Here is a link to my Pinterest board for capes & outerwear for a more visual history of outerwear in portraits, fashion plates and extant garments. This is a subject that I'm continuing to learn about as I continue to research outerwear from the early 18th century through the turn of the century.
Here's my (shortened) version
of the extant cape & muff!

After the brief cape history, everyone got their pattern kits and pattern instructions and laid out their fabric to cut out the cape and cape lining, and then the hood and hood lining. The students brought a variety of fabric, from a velvet, to a herringbone wool, to a silk satin, to taffetas, and much more: it was quite exciting to see all the options and styles that everyone chose!

I helped a few students slightly modify the pattern to make one longer and one shorter, to help others with squeezing the pattern out of less fabric, how to make it reversible, whether to add additional lining for warmth or take away lining for warmer climates and more. I brought along 2 hooded cape examples, my pink silk and my blue green wool, as well as my black mourning cape, along with a rusty red hooded cape in progress, in order to show how to put the cape and hood together, how to pleat the neckline, how to pleat the hood, how to add the bias binding, and more.
Rusty red 'hooded cape in progress' as
class example - really helped with teaching
the class!

I'm super happy that I brought the hooded cape in progress example, as well as two slightly different hooded cape examples, as I was able to use those to illustrate how it should come together, where to lengthen/shorten, and more.

Here are a few pictures of the CoCo class below, hard at work:
Winter Wear - Costume College class
Students hard at work on their hooded capes!
We didn't get as far as I would have thought in 2 1/2 hours, so if I teach this again, I would make the class a little longer: overall the feedback I received from my awesome students was very positive, they said they learned a lot and enjoyed the class! If you're one of my students and you're reading this, again please reach out with any questions: you all had such pretty fabric and plans and I can't wait to see all the finished products!

Two of my students finished their hooded capes already, Joy and Kailey Frye, a mother and daughter pair - Kailey is 14 (the same age as my niece, Jenny, who finished a cape as her first ever sewing project earlier this summer!).
Finished student's hooded capes
by Joy and Kailey Frye

My niece, Jenny, sewing her first ever
project: a cape! 

I really enjoyed teaching this limited workshop class at Costume College, and would definitely do it again!

A bit of background, I draped and drafted my hooded cape pattern a few years ago by researching the shapes from a few historical sources, and then drawing and re-drawing the shape and making various muslin mock-ups, until I was happy with the shape and fit. I have made a few hooded (and even one sans hood) capes, which can be found on my Costume Portfolio page under 'Outerwear.'

If you are interested in giving one of these hooded capes a try or missed getting into my limited class, my hooded cape pattern is now available for purchase in my etsy store, TheLadyDetalle!
Use coupon code: 'COCO16PEB' to get 20% off your purchase through 9/30! 

Hooded cape pattern by TheLadyDetalle
And this is my next outerwear project: drape a version of an 18th century pelisse similar to this!

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