Pattern Review: Randwulf’s Collection of Capes
By Terri Schultz
A nice finishing touch to any garb ensemble is period appropriate outerwear. After shopping around for cloaks at the local renaissance festival and online, I thought it would be a nice first project to tackle and so I set out looking for patterns. There is no shortage of patterns available for free or for sale, and the range of choices was just about overwhelming. After much searching, I decided to order Randwulf’s Collection of Capes, along with a few cloak clasps. Later I learned that I could have ordered directly from the author.
The pattern packet consisted of a 15 page booklet containing instructions for creating a cloak with or without the enclosed pattern, and two pattern sheets printed on heavy duty durable paper. One thing noticeably absent from the pattern was any guidance with regard to fabric. As an aside, I wasn’t entirely pleased with the clasps ordered along with the pattern and settled on a loop and wooden toggle closure for Kurt’s cloak (the wooden toggle was purchased from Treadle Yard Goods (which offers discounts through MNSOC) in St Paul.
The first order of business was to settle on material. I was planning on making 3 cloaks: one for a pre-teen girl and the other two would be adult sizes. Based on the sheer volume of fabric and the fact that we wanted these to be functional garments, we settled on a lighter weight wool for the girl’s cloak and a heavier upholstery grade wool blend for the adult cloaks. The general guideline given in the instruction booklet calls for “3 times as much 45-inch fabric as your cape length, plus another half yard if you want a hood.” I erred on what I thought was the far side of caution and ended up with just a bit of fabric left over. Please note: the pattern does not call for a lining, but there is a section on adding a lining to your cloak.
Overall the instructions were very clear and even a novice should be able to finish a cloak in a weekend. You will need a bit of space for laying out and cutting, and depending on fabric weight, the garment can be a bit cumbersome on a machine. Since our garb is not noble in flavor, I chose to use simple fabrics, rather plain clasps/closures and no trim at all. As with many pieces of period garb, a fancier material and appropriate trim would really create a striking cloak for any noble ensemble.
The author clearly states that the patterns are intended for simplicity of construction rather than the specific re-creation of any historical garment. Given the variations included in the pattern, the pattern truly could be used to create a cape or cloak suitable for any time period from the 1300′s to the 1900′s. The clear instructions, durable paper and variations available through the pattern make this a good value and great addition to any costumers library.
Available from Patterns of Time: http://www.patternsoftime.com/proddetail.asp?prod=MRCapes
Or directly from Randall Whitlock: http://www.moirandalls.com/patterns.htm#capes