Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A Black Wool Cloak

Oh my gosh, it's been more than a whole month since I've blogged about anything. I hope you all had a fabulous Halloween, and a beautiful Thanksgiving, and that you are going into the Christmas season with a lot of joy and love and good memories of times past.

After my last post I pretty much stopped sewing for a while. I was just burnt out and nothing seemed to appeal to me, even though there were, certainly, things I needed to work on. In early November I wore my Persephone jeans (but not the blouse I wore with them in my last post) to see Bohemian Rhapsody with my son, Judah (I cried a lot. The movie was awesome). The weather got very cold and I half heartedly started a cloak, since this year I decided I really wanted a long, drapey, black cloak instead of a new winter coat, similar to the ones worn by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the music video for Something.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 1969
Earlier this fall I got a pattern for a 1974 cloak that had the princess seams and hood that I wanted. I didn't want to make a half circle cloak, because that doesn't stay shut in front. I didn't want to make a full circle cloak because ohmygosh the fabric waste, unless it's pieced. A gored cloak seemed most economical; still, even with shortening the full length view of the pattern 4" to accommodate my height, the cloak still took up a whole 5 yards of 60" wide fabric, for each layer. And there were three layers. So, all told, this cloak contains 15 yards of fabric. It's heavy. But it's warm.

It took so long to make this freaking thing. I was so not into it. It wasn't until I went out to the woods a few weeks ago and nearly froze to death that I decided yeah, I need to finish the damn thing. Everything took forever. Cutting out each layer took at least a day, for each layer. If I was lucky I'd sew two seams a day. The seams were so long. Even made mostly on the machine (the only hand stitching, which I desperately tried to avoid, was done at the hem and the center front facings and the hand slits), it took so long.

Finally, the weekend before Thanksgiving the cloak was almost done. Then, I was struck with a uti-turned-kidney-infection-turned-sepsis and spent last week in the hospital with a fever that peaked at 106 and struggled to get below 103. I was so sick. Once I was released to come home, my parents arrived from Illinois and I sat in my chair in my room for the first day or two, and, lacking anything else to do, finally finished the cloak hem.

The last thing to do was to sew fasteners to the cloak. The pattern calls for hook and eyes, but these are extremely impractical. I think I will eventually (soonish) sew an underlap strip on one side of the center front opening to act as a kind of air barrier there.

Yesterday was the first time I really got to go out since coming home from the hospital and it was a beautiful, cold, snowy day. School was cancelled and my kids were thrilled! We never get a lot of snow here, but it's exciting to even have a little. It is so pretty! I had a dr. appointment in the morning and on my way home stopped at this nearby mound, constructed over fifteen hundred years ago by Ohio Valley Indians, to take some pictures of the trees in the snow and also to try to get a few pictures of my finally-finished cloak!

I promise I wasn't really pissed off or upset in these pictures -
the wind was bitingly cold and my eyes were watery from it, lol.

The cloak is made of an outer layer of  black wool suiting, interlined with a heavier wool blend and lined with a mossy green stretchy, tight woven mystery fabric from Wal-Mart that works great as a wind block. It's warm, except for where the front blows open. Definitely need a better front closure. . .

And with that, November is nearly done. 2018 has gone by so fast. I hope you all have a blessed and happy December, and a very Merry Christmas!



  1. I'm glad you're home and feeling better! I love the cloak! it looks so flowey, and cozy, and the green lining is fabulous!

  2. Oh no! That is very frightening to get so sick. I'm so glad you're doing better.
    You seem down about this whole project, but it's so gorgeous! It really is. I have a 1940s era French military cloak of thick, heavy wool that I love, but it is just one layer and I think it would be so much better with more. I keep thinking about lining it, but I'm daunted by the how of it.
    I keep thinking we should meet someday...we're so close now. But I wonder if we wouldn't know what to say to each other, even though that sounds so silly to say...
    Maria and I have been looking at a lot of 1770s era things lately, and dreaming of costuming and reenacting together. I think it needs to become reality. I live historical clothes but I have never actually reenacted and I know it would be wonderful. Now I have a daughter who's interested!
    I hope you make a full recovery very soon.


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!