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Gathered Rectangular Cloaks
The Rectangular cloak is the simplest and most romantic minimal sewing cloak, in fact it can be as simple as wraping yourself in a blanket, which is warm and convinent. However I know that everyone love a full flowing cloak They are usually made of a rectagular piece of fabric gathered in to a large collar. There is a good commercial pattern available from Folkwear number 207.

Measure from the nap of your neck, over you shoulder and down to floor. or to whatever length you wish.

The collar should be as long as your head is round. it must be so big so it can be won over the collar of other garments and still be comfortable.

Lay out your fabric cut three, four or five panels depending on how full you want your cloak. Also depending on how much and wide your fabric is, but remember it all has to be gathered into the collar and the more fabric you start with the more has to go in to the collar and the thicker it will get so how some restraint. or consider a gored and gathered cloak Then sew the salvages of the panels together so you get a big rectangle, do not cut the hem yet. Do the same cutting for a lining fabric adjusting it if you want a turned over edge facing or sewn-on facing.

Sew both ends of the linings to the ends of the outer fabric (right-sides together) and add a strip of interfacing 3 to 6 inches wide. the interfacing will stiffen and maintain the straitness of the front edges of the cloaks Then turn right-side out.

Once right sides out, topstitch the linings to the outer layer so that they will be as one fabric from now on. Arrange the fabric in box pleats or knife pleats in either direction from the center, what ever pleats you like or can, just get the fabric in the collar. want to know the secret to Gathering perfect pleats

If you're going to gather knife pleats the best pattern for them is to have the knives lying to the back like in this diagram were the front is at tne bottom the back at the top, the line inside is like the twill tape, Small box pleats will also work fine but don't let your pleats be more than around a half inch.

The pattern for the collar is not carved in stone they can be of many kinds, I like this one which is rather like that of the Kinsale cloak and many other coats. Inside the collar you should have some interfasing to help suport the lower part that will bee standing when you wear the cloak.

So then sew the collar on the body of the cloak if you're going to have a remoovable hood sew buttons to the collar so when the hood is not on the buttons are hidden under the folded collar.

with the collar done hang the cloak up so it can feel its weight Now that the cloak has been hanging for a long enough time to do all of the stretching and distorting it will do, and this kind of cloak will nor distort as much as a circle cloak because it's all hanging on the grain, no bias parts.

When when it's hung long enough you hem it, but it on yourself as you will wear it, stand on a chair, table or the floor if you can mannage, and get a frind to mark, or cut it as chair or what would be floor level. THis way when you turn up the hem it won't drag on the floor or mud. When you hem the lininghem it a littl higher. becuse it will not shink as much as the outre fabric and you don't want it to show all the way along the hem

You can make a spectacular cloak with a full circle or more of gores. and if you want the most spectacular cloak in the world you could go with a gathered gored claok, make a big arch of gores and line it and gather it to a collar and if you like put on a sholder cape or two or five.

Learn more about Gores here

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2006 March 28