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Making a Mantle & Long Tailed Hood

26 Jan

It’s taken me a while to get this post out but I think i’m finally ready to get back into the swing of things with twice a week updates. And i’m starting by blogging about the cloak/capelet/mantle which is the final piece in my Cotehardie ensemble. You can read about making the cotehardie here, and I also have a post about making the matching shoes and leggings, which can be read here.

This mantle also has a liripipe, which is a long tailed hood. They look a bit ridiculous, but I kind of love them. It was my first time making anything like this, and also my first time attempting dagged edges. So lots of new experiences were involved in making this project!

The first step was creating a pattern. This would have been really easy to flat draft, but I chose to drape it on my dress form and trimmed the fabric until I liked the length and shape. I copied the pattern onto paper and added seam allowances.

Then I created the dagged edge pattern. First I drew out an arrow shape, then I cut it out of bristol board (a very thick paper) which gave me a template. I placed the template on the hemline of the cloak and traced around it ten times, until the arrow pattern was repeated all the way across. The finished pattern looked like this!

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I traced my pattern onto the lining fabric I purchased for this project – which is a stiff quilters cotton.  I chose this fabric since wanted a sturdy material that wouldn’t slide around or fray much, since the seam allowance will be trimmed quite small at points. The only one I could find in the color I wanted has a glittery spray on it and a star print to it…which probably isn’t historically accurate, but it’s super pretty!

In case it wasn’t obvious, I designed this pattern so I could cut it on the fabrics fold so I don’t have to have a seam at the front.

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I roughly (as in, with more than an inch of excess at each edge) cut out the cotton lining and my top layer of fabric (which is a heavy wool coating).

Then I pinned them together. I used a lot of pins across the dagged edge to make sure neither of the fabrics would move when I sewed them.

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In hindsight, I probably should have used safety pins instead of straight pins, since I pricked myself a lot. 

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Now this part should have been pretty straight forward. All I had to do was sew around the lines I had drawn on the fabric. Shouldn’t be that hard.

Apparently my sewing machine thought differently. It decided it wasn’t going to sew curved lines. I changed the needle, adjusted the tension, tried different threads. All sorts of things, but it still refused to stitch any part of the dagged edge properly.

So each arch is made up of lots of choppy straight lines, instead of being beautiful curved ones. I think the thickness of the fabric goofed my machine up which is why it gave me so much trouble. Luckily the heavy weight of this material hides the wonky stitches, and by some miracle all the curves were pretty smooth when I turned everything the right way out.

Once I finally finished sewing the hem I trimmed the edges down between one quarter and one eighth of an inch. Then I snipped the tips of each arrow and the arches between each one, so they would turn over nicely.

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I used a pen and tweezers to help turn everything the right way out.

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Then added more pins to keep everything in place while I moved onto the next step.

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That step involved tacking the wool to the lining, then stitching around  each edge with embroidery floss. I like how the floss looks around the edge, but i’m disappointed that the tacking created such visible divots in the wool.

The stitches aren’t actually visible from the front side of the fabric yet they are still very obvious. There isn’t much I can do about it now, but i’ll keep this in mind for the next time I work with coating fabrics.

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With that done the cloak portion was mostly finished. So I moved on to drafting the collar piece and hood. To help me visualize the hood a bit better I used this pattern as a guide – and by that I mean I drew out something that looked kind of similar based off of measurements I took.

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Then I cut out the collar from blue wool.

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I did up the back seam and sewed a half inch away from each edge to create guidelines for where the edge gets turned under. I turned the edges over by hand and secured them with a running stitch.

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Unfortunately i’m missing a few photos here, but the process should make sense without them. The next step was sewing up the shoulder seam/darts on the cloak, which I did by machine. I also sewed up the back edge, but that was done by hand.

Then I sewed the bottom edge of the collar onto the cloak with a slip stitch. I made sure the opening of the collar lined up with the center front of the cloak, and the seam lined up with the back seam of the cloak.

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And I sewed bias tape over the raw edge where I trimmed the excess fabric from the shoulder darts.

(“shoulder darts” sounds a lot more exciting and dangerous than they actually are)

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Now time for the hood/liripipe!

I didn’t make a mock up so I decided to start by cutting out the lining layer. This way I could get an idea of the shape before potentially ruining the remaining wool fabric. Once I placed my pattern on the fabric and drew out the seam allowances I realized the tail was kind of tiny. Not nearly as dramatic as I like things. So I made it bigger.

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Here are the lining pieces cut out and pinned. I sewed the edges together with half inch seam allowances and did a little test fitting. I was pretty happy with the end result so I moved forward with the wool layer.

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Since my paper pattern was now inaccurate I used the lining as a pattern for the wool layer. Before sewing the edges I marked the turn over point at the front of the hood. The raw edge will be turned inward by more than an inch to create a facing of sorts.

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Here the hood is, turned the right way out with the front edge turned inward.

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I tucked the lining into the top layer of the hood, then whipstitched it in place an inch away from the front edge of the hood. This way the lining isn’t too visible when the hood is worn.

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Then the hood got sewn onto the collar.

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And lining was sewn into the interior of the collar so none of those ugly raw edges are visible from the inside.

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The front closes with three small buttons and loops. The buttons are the same ones used on the Cotehardie, and the loops are made from some cheap twine I bought from Michaels.

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As cool as this hood looks, it’s not very practical. It really didn’t want to stay on my head, since it isn’t very deep. I didn’t want to be constantly fiddling with it so I added a plastic comb on the interior of the lining. This isn’t noticeably when it’s worn (whether the hood is up or down) and makes it way easier to wear.

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And that’s it!

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Here is the finished piece worn with the rest of the ensemble!


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And one without the mantle, but with the crown I made!

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Now I guess I should get to work on the matching ladies ensemble!

Thanks for reading!

 
 

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8 responses to “Making a Mantle & Long Tailed Hood

  1. mrsmelanievarela

    January 26, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    I think it’s DARLING! It all looks great together.
    Have you considered using fusible interfacing as an inner lining? Just a shame that your stitches show. Would a steaming help relieve that a little?
    Looking forward to the next project.
    Thanks.

     
  2. mlm247

    January 26, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    There are special sewing machine feet that allow you to sew highly shaped lines. You would go to a quilting shop to see them in use. Look for a free motion foot, a darning foot, or a big foot. A walking foot might be a useful purchase for stitching multiple layers evenly. Look on youtube for some demonstrations.
    The costumes you make are wonderful. I trust that in time you will expand and teach classes.

     
  3. Chris Tine

    January 27, 2016 at 12:18 am

    Je suis admirative de votre travail. Vous êtes pleine d’imagination. Magnifique!

     
  4. Sonia

    January 27, 2016 at 7:35 am

    I really like how the whole outfit came out, the colors match perfectly! Also the crown you made is very beautiful, can I ask you what technique did you use to make it? (I’m sewing a houppelande dress and I would like to create a crown to go with it, but I haven’t figured out how to make it yet ^^)

     
  5. Nanik

    January 27, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Amazing! I love it!

     
  6. nannyfodder

    January 28, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    As always beautiful. Just a suggestion – if the little divits on the dags bother you – sew a small bead on each one – it would cover the divit and add just a tiny decoration.

     
  7. SJ

    February 26, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    This might be totally out of your interests but if you were to reproduce this hood with “hoodie” material, you would make a killing on etsy. I can see it being very popular. It looks loves as is and I like the color choice!

     
  8. Carol

    June 7, 2016 at 8:35 am

    I came across your work while I was looking for a simple XIIth century-style dress for my 2 year old daughter (we particpate in many medieval reconstitution camp in France). I have absolutely no talent for sewing, but I was spellbound by what I have just seen on your website, you are incredibly talented, and full of clever ideas! I’ll borrow your trick for the plastic comb to saw in my own hood (hand-made, but not by me)… I wish you a lot of success, you’re work is splendid and breathtaking!

     

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