Cloak, 2011

Having now a warm winter cloak I thought a summer version would also be an useful garment to have. Rather than keep me warm it would protect the dress from dust and perhaps even slight rain.

I had a piece of taffeta I had found on a sale for a few euros, so I decided to use that. A densely wowen woollen material would of course have provided better rain protection, but on the other hand taffeta is light to carry, folds into a small bundle which doesn't take too much room on the pique nique basket, dries quickly and of course looks pretty.

18th century cloak
I cut the cloak as half circle with some piecing and made it as long as the material available allowed. The piece was badly stained at one end, which of course explains the price, but I managed to cut the hood out of it with some piecing. I cut it slightly larger than on my winter cloak, lined it with black satin and assembled it according to Garsault and sewed a satin tape on the neck to form a tunnel for the ties.

I slashed openings for arms and finished them with hand stitched binding. The seams and hems are also finished by hand, though sewing the dense taffeta was a pain in the ass. As you can see in the picture, the openings ended up rather too close to front edges, so that the cloak easily gaps open at the front. It is perhaps a bit too small over all to be worn over hoops.

The polyester nature of the taffeta made itself known from the very beginning. When I cut it on laminate floor it became so loaded with static electricity that it immediately gathered a coating of dust, which didn't bode well for the use. Once I had finished the cloak I washed it with a lot of anti-static detergent and sprayed more anti-static products on it afterweards. happily it helped.

For the last thing I coated the cloak with textile protector spray which made it slightly water-resistant. Not very period-correct, but handy. As the taffeta is very dense it also keeps out wind to some extent, which is a nice thing in a sea fortress where many of the events take place.

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18th century cloak