hsifeng: (Landsknecht)
[personal profile] hsifeng
So the lovely [livejournal.com profile] sstormwatch came by to work on some fittings last night and did me the excellent service of ensuring I didn’t lose my mind in Mock-Up Hell on my cloak project. I had started out with the basic de Alcega cloak pattern that I have posted in this project before. Just in case you (somehow) missed it:

de Alcega Cloak

Based on this I had come up with a lay out that looked like this for my mini-cloak:

Cutting Layout

The problem? Well, let’s just say that the de Alcega ‘cloak’ actually seems to be scaled on the size of a ‘cape’. And a short cape at that. Given that my inspiration image is clearly knee length, this meant that my layout was going to have to change.

I had planned on just whacking out some basic shapes in muslin and then ‘messing with them’ until they worked. Not only would this have been massively inefficient (in both my time and in materials) but the chances were good I would have made some pretty annoying mistakes right from the jump that would have sent me into a downward spiral of compensatory drinking and sewing machine cursing.

Let's just say it's happened before...

So how did she save me, you ask? She asked if I had graph paper. And of course, like any self-respecting geek raised on D&D, I did.

So, using my basic measurements and the mini-cloak mock-up as a guide, we developed the following.

Neck Placement - Charted
Note: I would have totally centered the neck hole on the body of this cloak and been miserable when it hung longer in the front than the back. Saved. Me. I tell you…

I used an online calculator to figure the diameter of the circle for my neck opening, and then added this number to my overall cloak length X2 in order to get the diameter of the final circle shape. This was 98” overall.

Yeah, no way the de Alcega based layout was going to work. Mostly.*

The neck is off-set for the center point of the circle so that 2/3rds of the space is to the ‘front’ of the cloak (4” of the 6” diameter neck circle), and “2 is the ‘back’ of the cloak. This is because our necks sit forward on our body by about these same proportions (2/3rds to 1/3rd).

So once I had the basic ‘circle’ figured out, I drew a representative example of the width of my fabric, which was folded widthwise, and folded the tiny pattern of the cloak body to a quarter circle for an example cut chart. This let me see what my ‘waste’ fabric would be and what I could fit into that space for other cloak bits.

Then I drafted up the hood pattern, based on the following measurements:

Middle of shoulder blades, over the top of head, to forehead = 24”
Middle shoulder blade to middle, plus some “wiggle and draping”/2 = 14”
Base of ‘trapezoid’ of main hood shape in mini-mock up is approx. twice the size of the shoulder to shoulder measure, making this = 28”

Pythagoras helped with the length of the angled side…  = 27”

Based on the mini-mock up, the ‘tail’ of the hood sections is basically the same length as the angled side of the trapezoid shape of the main hood body = 27” (or 54” overall).

Basic Hood Pattern - cropped

Please note, in the final shape the line without a measurement in this diagram will NOT be straight, it will be tapered into the long side of the trapezoid shape long before it reaches the mid-line of the hood (as it does in both the original art and the mini-mock up). When I am working in muslin, I go for the ‘more is better until you cut if off’ method. This allows me the maximum of material play with in determining the final/best shape for the ‘tail’ pieces on the hood.

So, with the grid hood in hand, I played with some lay out options in the ‘waste’ sections of my cut diagram. Sadly, none of them were perfect, but in the end I did find a means to using a majority of the waste fabric efficiently. If I was willing to piece the be-Jesus out of the hood (still an option) I could probably get the whole thing in; but I am not interested in a whole mess of seams in an area that I’d like to keep as water tight as possible, call me crazy. ;)

Hood Cutting in Theory 1
The circle and hood laid out on my 'test grid' version of the mock up fabric. Please note, the fabric is folded widthwise, not lenghtwise. Each square in this = 4".

Then it was time to cut fabric, but we appeared to be experiencing a greyhound infestation.

Nigel Helping
A more adorable pest I have yet to meet. With the possible exception of my cats. Who I think Nigel is taking lessons from.

Piecing in practice
Hood Cutting in Theory 2

Piecing in action
Hood Cutting in Action

Next steps, putting it all together and making up a collar. Then messing about with taping for drape.  Once I have test fired the patterns in real life I will use the graph method to devise my final cut chart based on my actual fabric widths (think of this as a trial run on the concept).

The important thing I have to keep in mind is that my final version needs to allow for TWO WHOLE SETS of the hood – since it will be both lined and covered in the same wool fabric (if it is lined at all, which is still up for debate depending on how much fabric I have in my stash…).



*Still theorizing on how a narrower fabric and additional piecing may end up with me going back to a version that is closer to the de Alcega in the end. We shall see.
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