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1790 Cream Satin Mantle

My first completed project of 2018 is a cream satin late 1780s/early 1790s faux fur-trimmed mantle and matching muff. You’d think by now I’d have enough  18th century capes and cloaks, but there is so much variety in the accessories of the last quarter of the century, and I want to make them all!

For this cloak, I wanted the very specific style you see in the late 1780s through the 1790s – a fur-edged satin cloak with an extra large hood, where the back ends at the waist but the fronts extend to the knees or below.

I was particularly inspired by the 1791 painting of Mrs. Cholmondeley by John Hoppner, but I also referenced several other images, including this 1788 stipple engraving (“January” by F. Bartolozzi after Wm. Hamilton) and this 1787 satirical print:

To pattern the mantle, I used the Diderot diagram, as well as the scaled pattern from the 1780-1800 satin cloak in Fitting and Proper.

The cloak is a cream silk satin remnant from Burnley and Trowbridge, interlined in cotton flannel for warmth, and lined in white 12mm silk habotai from Dharma Trading Company. The three layers were basted together and the then hood was attached to the body of the cloak. The hood lining was left free at the neckline, and this was then turned under and whip-stitched down to encase the seam. Since I planned to edge the entire cloak with faux fur, I didn’t bother hemming any of the edges.

To be honest, I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to faux fur. This was my first time working with it and I feel I learned quite a lot. This is how I made and attached the fur edging on this project, but I’m not sure I would do it this way again. I started by cutting strips of fur and whipping the edges together, taking care to hide the seams, to make on long piece of fur. Then, using a running stitch, I attached a piece of twill tape along one side of the fur. This gave me a stable edge to pin to the cloak. I laid the cloak out flat and pinned the fur piece around it, approximately 2.5 inches from the edge, right sides together. Then I turned the piece down, and attached it using a whip stitch, catching only the edge of the tape and the outer fabric, and avoiding the fur. Once the fur was attached, I wrapped it around the cloak edge, turning the raw edge in and making sure it was an even width all around. Then I stitched it using a large whipstitch, taking care to hide the stitches in the fur. This method worked fairly well, but I feel there must be a more efficient, better way to attach fur.

The hood pleats gave me a bit of trouble. Originally I  planned to gather the hood like the cloak in Fitting and Proper, but the fabric layers were too thick to gather nicely. Next I tried pleats, whip stitched edge to edge, but the finished look was too messy for my taste. Finally, after looking at as many extant hoods as I could find, I tried a set of radiating pleats, tacked only at the corners, like this cloak at the Met. This technique worked really well with all the layers, and I’m very happy with the shape it gives the finished hood.

Posted: 3/23/2018 12:10:02 PM by Aubry | with comments
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