Monday, November 23, 2015

Laurel Cloak - Construction

I actually wanted to blog this project as I went along, but the recipient didn't want to know the details about it until it was presented. So, now that it's been given to Ercc Glaison during his elevation to the Order of the Laurel, I'll give a synopsis here. I've already written up my documentation for it for next spring's A&S faire, and you can find that on my website.

So, pretty much as soon as Ercc was put on vigil for the Laurel, he asked me to both speak at his elevation as the populace speaker and to make his Laurel cloak. For the cloak, he wanted it to be late Elizabethan (to coordinate with the 1600-ish outfit that he was sewing for the elevation). He also didn't want it to be the style that many use - with a single large decorative item in the center of the cloak. I immediately knew exactly what the cloak had to look like. Basically, this:

This particular cloak is pieced in a way that is very efficient in fabric usage. You can see from the top view, when it is laid out, that the center section was cut to the width of the fabric, with the scraps being used to fill out the circle.

The Italian tailor's book by Juan de Alcega has patterns for this type of cloak. I tested some of them out in miniature.

Although I knew that Ercc would appreciate a cloak with this type of seaming, due to its period-correctness, I also knew it would seem wrong to the modern eye. Since I found another cloak whose piecing was in wedge-shaped sections that was also quite efficient on fabric as well as period correct, I went with that patterning instead. This cloak is made of wedge-shaped sections, which were cut without regard to nap. That is, some were cut right-side-up and some upside-down. That made it quite efficient in terms of fabric usage.

Janet Arnold patterned this cloak in Patterns of Fashion: The Cut and Construction of Men and Women's Clothes 1560-1620. I scaled up her pattern and made some adjustments, since I didn't want it to be as long, etc.

I found a beautiful wool sateen gaberdine (basically, it is woven with satin weave - with long threads on the surface - but the word "satin" traditionally applies only to silk). The variation in sheen for the pieces cut right-side-up versus upside-down would be noticable if you looked for it, but not overwhelming. The color was what we would call "olive", but I felt that it probably approximated what the Elizabethans might have called "goose-turd green", which I knew Ercc would appreciate.

I hand-sewed the body and the lining pieces into their 3/4 circle shape and prepared for embroidery. I will talk about the embroidery in my next post.

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