Today I started laying out the cloak pattern. Because my fabric is so much narrower than normal I cut a long piece of muslin to 24 inches to match my fabric and then pieced together the cloak pattern out of that. I cut the muslin and laid it out on my Black Welsh fabric.

First big problem, my weaving is uneven. While the piece of fabric is 24 inches wide on one edge it is only 22 inches long for most of the length. I figured out a way to get the cloak body and shoulder cape out of my main piece of fabric and while not quite perfect it is close to a half circle. I can cut the hood out of the sample piece I wove so I think I can actually make it from the fabric I have with nothing to spare.

Next problem is how to sew the pieces together. The original was much finer fabric and sewn in contrasting thread with a 1/8 inch seam allowance. To test my sewing I cut a small piece from my sample fabric and have been playing with various edge treatments. This is the sample I’ve been sewing on with both thick hemp thread and thinner linen thread. The original was with silk thread but I don’t have any.

The bottom left edge is like the original. It is a pair of running seams with about a 1/8 inch seam allowance. This one makes a rather large welt because my fabric is so thick. I don’t think it will work as the welts will make the cloak uncomfortable to wear. Next over is a whip stitch. Same problems as the first one and hard for me to keep even. The middle seam is like a baseball, butt end the raw edges and sew them in a herringbone style. This lies flat and seems sturdy enough although it is pulling because the weave is too loose. I am concerned that my seams will pull out my threads and fall apart. It is also totally inaccurate from a historical standpoint. The slantwise seam to the right is almost the same thing but behind it I sewed some twill tape with a running seam on both sides to strengthen the seam and provide more stability. The twill tape solves the stability problem but it also suffers from being totally inaccurate. Above that is a seam you cannot see. It is another version of the original seam along a selvedge edge. This almost works because I wove a double warp on the selvedge and I can sew just beyond that warp. For seams along a selvedge I may do this. Along the top I sewed a piece of the twill tape to encase the raw edge and then tried to sew it to itself as in the original. As you can see I took it out because it made such a huge lump. However, for the raw edges along the bottom and sides of the cloak I think this will work to bind them.

So I have a lot of questions for anyone who hand sews stuff.

Are there any other ways to attach two thick pieces of fabric together that I’ve missed?

What do you think of the various options I have?

Which should I use and why?

Should I stick with accurate contrasting thread and inaccurate stitching or try to hide the inaccurate stitches by using black thread?

I tried machine sewing and that really doesn’t work. My fabric is too loosely woven and too thick for my machine to work with it.

Any and all suggestions welcomed. Please comment!