March - May 2010

1890s-1900s Cream Wool Cape

A wool flannel cape, made for my turn-of-the-century bicycle outfit. The pattern is Truly Victorian's TV590 "1890's Cape," and I used all stash fabrics.

I adapted the pattern to make it a tailored garment by adding a 1" hem, 2" extended facing, and a mandarin collar (from TV463 "French Vest bodice"). Because there were only 2 pattern pieces, all the stitching lines were thread-traced, which was a first for me. This really increased accuracy - especially since the center front is cut on the bias. The cape is underlined in silk organza and lined in cream silk twill. Center front and neckline are taped, the hem is mitered, and I ease-basted the hem's excess fabric to shrink it. The collar is interfaced with a layer of silk organza which is fused with knit interfacing. Collars are tricky and this was something of an experiment. But it stands up well enough and is still supple and comfy. Ultimately, tailoring is always a lot of work. But at least it'll match everything in my closet!

It's finished with 5 handmade cotton frogs that I found locally for $1 each. Frogs by themselves, however, do not keep the cape hanging straight. Instead, several hidden hooks are sewn to the facing, down the first few inches of center front.