18th century clothes, 18th century clothing, cloak, common dress, fashion, living history, Rhode Island, sewing, short cloak, style, winter, wool
We’ve had a bit of snow and cold, which kept me at home (when there’s a parking ban, most businesses have to close, as most parking is on the street here). We have plans in another century this evening, so I thought a second cloak would be in order. The first cloak I made was based on one in the collection at work as well as on a Rhode Island runaway advertisement.
Although I’m not displeased with the cloak, the length can be annoying and I knew that the blue cloak for a runaway was not what I wanted to wear with the sacque. So I sacrificed some yardage from the Strategic Fabric Reserve, read up on cloaks, and got out my scissors. A cloak is a fairly simple thing to make, so I don’t know why it took all day, beyond getting distracted, making dinner, shoveling, re-learning high school geometry, and trying to do a very careful job.
Because I’m tall and have long arms, I made the new cloak a little longer than I would have for a true short cloak: it is easier to trim than to add, though this is pieced on the fronts and on the hood and on the hood lining.
The front piecing is more noticeable than I really like, but that’s how this came out and how cloaks often work out. I won’t really care, as long as I am warm and able to move my arms. When it’s really cold, as it is today, I can wear both red and the blue cloaks with a wool gown and petticoats and wool kerchief. Or perhaps I should just wear a sheep.
I found the trick to getting the pleats/gathers on the hood to flip correctly was to work from the outside, or right side, once the back seam had been sewn up partway. It took three tries to figure that out, but somehow working the pleats/gathers from the right side worked. I did backstitch the pleats/gathers on the inside to hold them in place.
In all, this took less than a yard of yellow silk Persian, about half a yard of red wool twill tape, and two yards of crimson broadcloth, all from Wm Booth, and all but the Persian purchased as remnants. There’s a fair amount of broadcloth left, so a yard and a half with aggressive piecing might work, especially if you want a shorter cloak, and are not as tall as I am.
If you steam the seams of the front piecing with a nearly-wet pressing cloth, the seams should be less noticeable. It looks from the photo as though those seams have not been steamed, so you might try that. The hood looks great!
No, you got me. I haven’t steamed the front seams. I did the hood, but skipped the front because I was in a rush. And that just proves one shouldn’t rush. Thank you for the comment about the hood– I do like this cloak a lot, and the hood fits nicely over a bonnet.
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