March 12, 2015

HSF '15 #3: 1850s Velvet Cape

This weekend I'm heading off on the IHC's annual historical house party at the gorgeous Coopershill House in Sligo. We privately hire the 18th c country house and spend the weekend pretending to be lords and ladies complete with candlelit dinners and canopied beds! :) Expect a post on it soon!

Although I had lots of elaborate plans for new gowns in the end I decided to take the pressure off and only make one thing which I sorely needed, some warm outerwear. As this month's challenge was "Stashbusting" it fitted perfectly with my plans to make a warm cape out of the leftover fabric from my bedroom blind! It was all I had that was remotely suitable and at first I wasn't too keen on it but once it was cut out I fell in love with it! So I hope you like it too!

The velvet was as velvet always is, a bit of a pain to work with and walked around the place a bit but I more or less got it to behave with lots of tacking from the get go. I wanted it to be warm so I interlined it with cotton domette which looks almost exactly like cotton batting but is much cheaper. It makes it snugly warm! It's then lined in black cotton calico.

The trim is taken from a fashion plate that is shown in the book alongside the pattern and dates from the same period. I really like the effect of the two widths of black velvet ribbon against the red.

My trim is inspired by the lady on the right

I really wanted to make a muff to go with it, I even got some cute tassels, but I haven't got around to that yet.

What the item is: An 1850s Cape

The Challenge: Stashbusting

Fabric: Some sort of textured velvet interlined with cotton domette which is very like batting but half the price and lined in black cotton calico

Stashed for?: Originally it was to make some cushions to match the blind but that was never going to happen! Had it about two or three years.

Pattern: I used a pattern from Jean Hunnisett's book "Period Costume for Stage and Screen", pattern sheet no. 18a. It's a pattern taken from an original garment, an 1850s green velvet cape. All I changed was a slight adjustment to the shoulder seam so it sat better on me and I added a collar similar to one in the fashion plate.

Year: approx. 1854

Notions: Velvet ribbon, three fur/coat hook and eyes

How historically accurate is it? The pattern is taken from an original garment, the fabric is sort of accurate I think and the trim, although polyester, is taken straight from a fashion plate of the same year. It's machined but it is 1854 so I'm going to say I can get away with that so maybe 90% historically accurate.

Hours to complete: Hmm spent a week tipping away at it a few hours here and there each day. I was rather slow and unhurried about it.

First worn: This weekend!

Total cost: The velvet outer fabric was from the stash but the domette interlining, cotton lining and ribbon I bought so about €40 probably.

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