R and I have been thinking for a while now that it would be cool to make period outfits inspired by the Assassin gear worn by Ezio in Assassin’s Creed. I am more interested in AC2, while he thinking of something a little more Brotherhood. I love the look of Ezio’s white outfit with bits of red, and I think that his overall look will be easily adaptable to something more period.
I have been dragging my feet on getting an actual dress started, and have been feeding my silly quest with little accessories. Until now! Now it’s a big accessory. :D
I present to you: my nifty hooded cloak.
My fancy was planning out a 16th century hooded cloak for himself. While he was at work, I thought I would be helpful and start drafting up the pattern from the hooded cloak in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 3. I wasn’t sure if it would fit him (the author suggests that it was probably meant for a child, since the hood is so small) but I made it up to the exact size of the original anyways. I noted that most of the cloaks in her book were around the same length, even the ‘child’ one (30 to 33 inches, if you were curious). The original cloak below:
It is a half circle with a somewhat large neck seam that gets gathered up and attached to the hood. I didn’t want the neck to be very gathered, so I reduced the size of that seam a bit. I was not sure what to make of the flaps hanging off of the hood. Arnold says that they likely tie under the neck. I included them in the pattern because I was curious about how they would look and work.
I found that the hood was indeed a bit too small, so I raised the top by about 2 inches, adding a total of 4 inches around the face that wasn’t there before. Then the hood would fit fine, right? Well, it did fit fine in the end, but adding those two inches to the top did change the geometry of the hood. The original was a rectangle twice the length of it’s width. Meaning that when folded in half, it became a square. Fold a square in half, corner to corner and you get the nice triangle you see on the original. I think that while it is possible for the original to have been a child’s cloak, I really just think that the hood was decorative. I remember looking at some of Juan De Alcega’s hood patterns (which are a bit different from what I am making) and thinking, how the hell would you wear that? The hood opening would not fit or look right when worn. But looking at the gentlemen on the right, the Alcega pattern would lay nice and flat like that, not gaping open like one sees on most modern cloak patterns. So the original was a decorative hood, not functional. Or for a child. Whichever explanation you like better.
After making the pattern, I started thinking that maybe I wanted a hooded cloak too. Which is funny, because I have always been a non-cloaksist sort of person, preferring period coats and jackets instead. But this wouldn’t be an annoyingly heavy cloak that drags in the mud everywhere and makes it so that I can’t really use my hands because I am using them to keep the heavy cloak from choking me. I don’t know why short cloaks seem like such an innovation for me, but they do.
So! I decided to make a cloak, using the pattern I made up for my Fancy. The noble woman in the image above, and the two men beside her were my main inspirations for the look I was going for. I love the look of guards/stripes on kirtles and gowns, so making some on the cloak was a bit of a no brainer for me.
On to the actual making of the cloak:
I cut out my big half circle, with a total of 30 inches in length after the inside half circle was cut away. Because I used modern fabric with wide widths, I didn’t have to do any piecing at all. I cut out lots and lots of both bias tape and straight grain tape for my guards.
I picked red wool for the fashion fabric, and white silk I had just picked up for the lining. This is my second project using wool (wooot!) and my first using silk for something other than binding (wooot!). I feel so fancy :D
I sewed a small strip of silk into the entire hem around the half circle that would later be pinked and look awesome, something I have not tried before now.
The hood flaps ended up a bit thinner than I had intended (I should have put a bit more seam allowance around them when I cut the fabric out) but I decided to leave them as is.
Even though I really thought I had measured it all out when I cut the guard tape, I ended up not having quite enough to do the 3 stripes I originally intended. But two looks nice too. I might have been able to squeak out a bit more tape from the scraps of silk, but I decided not to bother. And even though I cut out red wool guards to go on the inside of the cloak (I was still toying with the idea of it being reversible), I ended up not sewing them on. I think I was afraid that the drape the hem was already looking a little stiff, and didn’t want to add more thickness to it.
When I sewed down the guard edge closest to the bottom, I made sure to go all the way through the wool to the silk lining, because I wanted to make sure it was well tacked down and wouldn’t do weird droopy things later.
The hood also got silk trim, which didn’t take nearly as long as the cloak’s trim. Yay for speedy parts of the process!
The neck was gathered to fit the bottom of the hood. Mine is not as gathered as the original, but still has a little bit.
I pinned the hood to the cloak body and then machine sewed the two together. I did fret for a while, trying to decide on how to make the inside of the cloak look finished and nice, while still being able to gather the neck. I ended up going with the same construction as the original: just sew it together with the raw edges inside and put a strip of silk facing over it. It ended up looking rather nice I think.
A quick bit of whip stitching…
And the hood suddenly looks like a hood!
I think that the original hood would have layed much more flat and close to the body than mine does, but then, my hood does sort of look like some of the Spanish riding hoods, the way it is round and not flat.
Looking pretty sweet. All that’s left is the neck ties, and the tassel for the top of the hood.
I didn’t have any good thick cord to use for the ties, so I took a bit of the silk trim I had leftover and folded it lengthwise a few times until it was acceptably thin and sewed it closed. The tassels for each end was made of some left over bits of string that Mr. Fancy was using to embroider his own cloak (I believe that he was working on the hood embroidery at this point).
I had not made anything but the sort of simple little tassel on the neck ties. I knew that I wanted the hood tassel to be much bigger, grander, and all around more nifty. I was sort of experimenting here, and ended up with something pretty neat to hang on my hood. I tried researching how to make 16th century tassels, but some of those things are absurdly fancy. I ended up doing a sort of simplified version of one I saw that looked like it was made up of a bunch of tiny tassels.
With the tassel sewn on, I declare the hood done! (Well, mostly, but I’ll get to that in a moment.)
All the best hoodie ninja assassins are goofy smilers. Didn’t you know?
Very pleased with the neck ties. No issues with them coming undone that I have noticed yet.
So, those hood flaps. They look sort of ok just left as they are… but I am thinking that I might figure out a way to secure them to the sides of the neck. Maybe some sort of loop and button construction? I really like the way it looks when down with the flaps tucked over one another around my neck. And I have a feeling that I will wear it down most of the time anyways.
Tieing the flaps works too, but isn’t nearly as elegant I think. It strikes me as more cutesy than anything.
But even if I don’t do anything with the flaps, I am alright with wearing it as it is.
I don’t often dress up or pose to look like a specific image, so this was very fun. The cloak is much longer than hers, but the upside is that Mr. Fancy can wear it too, if he should so desire.
For anyone thinking of making one for rapier, here’s how it looks on one shoulder:
Slightly aside from the main focus: Yay hair!
A few more pictures of the process and final product can be found in my Red Cloak Flickr set here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/healor