Friday, February 25, 2011

Mantelet? Short Cloak? Decisions?

I'm in sewing limbo--I had intended Mother's new outfit to be the next item on my list, so held off on ordering fabric for the 1940s day dress. However, Mother's block-print fabric is held up in India (that sounds so very 1800s, by the way--"Dratted schooner and its slow chintz shipment!"). So I am fabric-less.

Except. I do have the two yards of brilliantly beautiful blue wool. I've wanted a short cloak or mantelet for eighteenth-century wear for a while, especially as my only cold weather outerwear options are a) spare regimental coat or b) scrap of wool from making regimental coats. While both of these are appropriate wraps for a lower-class sort, when I am being The Officer's Wife I really ought to have something more ladylike. When I found the wool last fall I snapped it up for that purpose.

Then I let it sit in my fabric pile because I had projects that I could wear more quickly, like the 1940s Cocktail Dress. However, now that spring is on its way and the reenacting season is approaching, it's definitely a wear-soon project.

Which means I need to decide what I'm doing.

I'm between options--I could either do a short cloak (essentially, a cropped version of the long cloaks you often see) or a mantelet, which is a shaped garment that drapes (theoretically) delicately over the body.

See--the short cloak is pretty much a cropped cloak, even hem all around. This one may--I can't quite tell--have slits in the front so you can poke your hands without opening the front of the cloak (and defeating its purpose by letting in a nice draft of freezing cold air).

Can I mention that I am In.Love with the idea of trimming whatever I do with fur (preferably reused vintage--I'd like to avoid faux) like this cloak does? I'm thinking either a rich auburn or a snowy silver to play off the blue of the wool.

And here, a sketch of a mantelet. The hemline of the mantelet is curved so it drapes over the arms, but is long in back and front for warmth. You could keep your arms warm with mitts.

Either piece would have a hood. I'm debating adding a lining--this is not strictly accurate from what I've seen. Not that it's not plausible, but I can't find an extant or description in which the cloak is lined (historical clothing geeks--if you have documentation for lining cloaks, let me know!). Still, there is nothing--and I mean nothing--in this world warmer than wool lined in silk.


anachronist said...

I would sew a mantelet with silk linning and auburn fur trimming.

MrsC said...

The cloak with slits for your arms would be warmer and more practical, and even an officer's wife has to consider such things!

Connie said...

Wool and silk are the ultimate in warm.

anachronist said...

What about this one? Looks warm and lovely

Isis said...

Mmmmm...fur-trimed cloak...mmmm.

Rowenna said...

MrsC--good point :) I'm leaning that way :)

Anachronist--I hope I find the right color brown!

Connie--silk+wool=my favorite :)

Isis--Yummy, I know, right!?!

V.R. Christensen said...

Rowenna! I love your blog. I wish I could get it to notify my email, because I forget to check my reader, and then I read your blog in bulk.

I want to come sew with you. I'm good with formalwear, but I think you could teach me a lot. That would be so fun.

Rowenna said...

Val! Been missing you :) You're welcome to pop by here anytime, even for bulk reading.

Wish we could have a sewing party--would be fun :)

Helen said...

I'll dig around & see what I can find for documentation. Basically, the period garments I've seen line the hood in silk, but not the body. Somewhere I ran across a cloak of which the collar had silk quilted onto the wool. Since I'm allergic to wool, I'm just lining mine. Otherwise I can't wear it. Not strictly accurate, but I know it is an anachronism and there's a good reason for it. :) If anyone comes up with a fully lined extant cloak, I'm all eyes & ears!