The whole reason I have Black Welsh Mountain Sheep is because I wanted a traditional medieval Black Welsh cloak. While most folks would go buy a cloak or at best buy fabric and make one I did things a bit differently.
I bought the sheep, bought a spinning wheel, learned to spin, bought a loom, learned to weave and learned to sew. The idea was I would make my cloak from scratch. That was 12 years ago. I am only just now good enough at spinning to spin fine enough for historically accurate fabric. However, soon after we first got the sheep I had a mill spin some coarse 2-ply yarn from our fleeces. I used this yarn to weave my initial fabric.
Well I finished weaving this first cloak fabric December 2006. It took 6 years and I used the commercially spun yarn from our own flock of sheep. The fabric has been sitting waiting for me to do something with it. Actually, it was waiting for me to get the courage to cut it since it took so long to make.
Along the way I learned that what I had in my mind as a traditional medieval Welsh cloak was not accurate for medieval times but was closer to 18th century styles. So I did nothing.
Well Kass at Reconstructing History makes historically accurate patterns. And she now has a pattern for an 18th Century Women’s Hooded cloak. This pattern matches what I originally had in mind as a medieval cloak.
Well I’ve decided that I really need to get a cloak made, whether it is accurate for medieval times and with appropriate fabric or not. And that I can always work on more accurate fabric for another one later. However, because I am such a novice at sewing I decided to use some commercial fabric first.
Today I made the first revision of the cloak using commercial brown wool fabric.
For this test I used a contrasting thread and machine stitched the whole thing.
I learned several things making the pattern that I will have to adjust when doing it with my Black Welsh fabric.
First off my fabric is not as wide as commercial fabric so I will use more pieces to make the cloak body. I’ve already asked Kass and the suggestion is to make the center back from the full width and then piece to the sides to get the entire cloak body made.
I am not sure the waistcoat looks good on me so I think I’ll leave it off. It can easily be added later anyway.
My fabric was woven then fulled but it’s still too coarse and will unravel at the edges. So I am going to use a black cotton tape binding on all the edges unlike the extant cloaks that have no hems or binding. The original did not have the seams pressed open or finished but I think I will need to do some pressing and tacking down of the seams because the fabric is so thick. I’ll have to see how it fits and feels once it’s done.
Next step is to press the Black Welsh fabric and figure out how to lay out the pattern pieces on my narrow fabric.