Making a Mantle & Long Tailed Hood

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!


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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


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.


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.


Then I cut out the collar from blue wool.


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.


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.


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)


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


Then the hood got sewn onto the collar.


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


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.


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.


And that’s it!


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



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


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

Thanks for reading!

A Fabric Haul & Project Plans!

I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays! I had a quiet but nice Christmas. It wasn’t filled with surprises because I was responsible for buying my own presents, but that arrangement worked out really well because I got exactly what I wanted! And what I wanted was fabric. Lots of fabric. And some beads.

Which meant it was time to take a trip to the garment district!

I haven’t been into NYC to buy fabric since my birthday (in April) so I was really excited! This year I’m aiming to make detailed, higher quality garments, so I went for quality over quantity…but I still got an absolutely ridiculous amount of fabric. This is going to be a post about what I got and what I hope to do with it!

I’ll start with the most elaborate fabric, which I definitely did NOT need. I was pretty good about sticking to my list this time, but when I saw this I couldn’t resist!

It’s a low pile velvet decorated with gold embroidery and sequins. I wish the velvet quality was a little nicer, it isn’t very pleasing to the touch but it does look lovely. I fell in love with the colors and embroidery pattern and knew I had to have it! I got it for $12 a yard from Amin Fabrics but I saw it at other stores too.

I know this has indian inspirations behind it, but I think it could make a lovely regency court gown. Definitely not an accurate one, but it could be so pretty. I feel like fabrics like this do all the work for you and I don’t want to cut into it too much, so a style like that would suit it well.



I actually bought satin! I haven’t bought satin in…years? I think it has been years! This is an off white polyester satin with matching embroidery all across the fabric. In the store I really really liked it and decided it was perfect for a simple Regency dress, which i’ve already started on.

Now that i’ve played around with it I have mixed feelings about it, because I think the sheen makes it look a bit cheap.The sheen is actually identical to some silk satin I have, which is a high quality fabric. So maybe i’m just not used to shiny fabrics…or maybe it looks like costume satin and i’m in denial.

DSC_1594 The red fabric underneath it is a cotton sateen. I’ve actually used this exact material a LOT, I’ve made two dresses, a bonnet, and a corset from it and I still adore it. I love the weight, color, sheen, and price! So I picked up another six yards on this trip.

It will be used for a robe a la polonaise, worn over the ivory satin dress.


 This year i’m finally going to tackle a gown from the 1640s! It’s my favorite period when it comes to fashion and i’m so excited to make something for it. It will be of this style. I chose a light blue taffeta for the project, I had hoped to find a richer shade but I think this color is nice too!

DSC_1946 I also got eight yards of champagne colored taffeta and eight yards of this lovely emerald green. Jewel tones are my favorite colors and i’m looking forward to working with these! They will eventually be turned into a monster ball gown from the mid 1800s.


 I picked up eight yards of this ivory damask. I wish I could remember the shop name from where I bought this so I could recommend against visiting them. I was browsing trim while they cut this and when I unrolled it at home I found that over a yard is filthy and the weave is damaged beyond repair! Very annoying.

Hopefully I will still have enough to make the dress I planned. It will be an unusually elaborate dress that will be worn under a riding coat, with a mid 1700s theme.

DSC_1939 I also picked up a lace to pair it with! This is from Dianas fabric. It was $13 a yard, it’s sixty inches wide and both edges have gorgeous scalloped lace. That means I only needed three yards and I have enough to hem the dress with, so it works out to being cheaper than buying trim by the yard. And in addition to the lace edging, it also has appliques I can cut out and use.

Unfortunately the lace doesn’t really match the fabric (damn store lighting) so it may get a tea bath before I start the beading process!


The fabric I bought for the riding coat is a stunning melton wool! Not the most exciting looking fabric of the bunch but I love the weight and texture of this. I got the three yards for $35 which I think is pretty good considering the quality!

I’m going to do a heap of research before starting on this project, but i’m so excited. It combines my love of lace and pretty dresses with tailoring, which is great!


 I found these taffetas in Amin fabrics for $4 a yard and fell in love. They are really light and have a sheen that reminds me a lot of irredecent silk taffeta. I think they will make a really lovely renaissance ensemble.

I got some pink chiffon and trim as well, which actually don’t match. That’s what you get for trying to match fabrics without swatches. I think I have some chiffon in my stash that will match anyway, so i’m not too worried! It will always get used for something else!


 The final fabrics I got are for a Tudor piece. I showed a few of my inspirations here, unfortunately I couldn’t find materials as intensely colored as I wanted. I ended up settling on this gold and orange damask, which I like but don’t love. But i’m confident it will grown on me once I start the project.

Bright colors can look a bit garish in historical recreations so I think in the end i’ll be happy with how it looks.


I bought silk – a shock to the people in the fabric stores who remembered me, because I never buy silk. Usually when I ask how much something is they will just respond with “That’s silk” and that means it is  more than i’m willing to pay. But this year is about quality over quantity, so I decided I need to have one project that uses something other than cotton and polyester.

It’s a nice copper color with some deeper red tones.


 So that is it on the fabric front. But i’m not done yet! Because my allowance money from the last four months went into beads. My dad and I went to Beads World, it was our first stop and I was determined to buy a lot of seed beads and glass gems.

Most of the seed beads I bought were gold, because it’s the color I find myself reaching for most often and crafts stores don’t have a good variety.


I also got some orange ones with my tudor gown in mind, some blue ones for the baroque dress, and some cream colored ones of the same size. I would have chosen differently if I had bought the fabric before visiting this shop, but the location of this store meant we needed to go to it first.


 I also really wanted glass gems for my tudor and baroque dresses. They have very elaborate beading at the necklines which should be easy to replicate with these.

I got a dozen of the larger red ones, and a 72 pack of the smaller red ones. I think it was $5 per a dozen and $12 for 72, so I opted for the latter.


A dozen of medium sized clear ones and a 72 pack of the smaller ones. I REALLY wish they had some square ones since those are more accurate, but i’m happy with what I got. I think with less variety they will be easier to arrange, so that’s good!

DSC_1930 Some larger ones in this taupe color.

DSC_1929 A mixture of blue and clear oval ones! I really adore the color of these blue ones.


And two large ones, for pendants.


While walking to the fabric stores we came across another bead shop which I got a few things from. I purchased two (massive!) bags of sequins, two bags of plastic pearls, two feathers and some thread.

These feathers are fantastic, I never thought I would pay $5 for a single feather but these are just…I can’t describe them, they move like they are alive. Like some sort of underwater creature. It’s fantastic. My dad and I sat on the floor of this shop looking at them and talking about how “Nice those feathers are” which sounds odd looking back on it but was totally justifiable at the time because they are really nice feathers.


I thought the pearls were super cheap because they were in a big box and all strange colors. I realize now they are probably so cheap because they don’t have holes in them. I am officially the biggest dummy ever. I should have checked but I just assumed beads would have holes in them.

Luckily the sequins do, in fact, have holes!


I also got three spools of thread because it was really cheap. But a blog post filled with such pretty things shouldn’t be finished with something so boring, so i’ll end this here!

I’m not sure if it can really come through my writing but i’m so pleased and excited with what I got and really looking forward to working with all the new supplies!

I hope you all had a lovely holiday and I wish you a happy new year! It has been a really exciting year blogging wise and i’m looking forward to continuing it in the new year. I’ll have a big gooey round up post with my goals and such up next week, so I won’t get too mushy here. But thank you all for visiting and reading what I have to say here! It means a lot to me!