How to Make a Cloak with Pockets

How to Make a Cloak with Pockets

For some time now I have been working on a cloak. This is not be an historically accurate cloak, nor is it strictly accurate to a single fandom. My original intention was for it to be a fellowship cloak, but I could not find a gray wool the right color. However, it is in the cut of a fellowship cloak. Furthermore, I wanted it to have many little pockets like Kvothe’s cloak from the Name of the Wind. In my stash I had a charcoal gray wool in the right weight. To have hidden pockets it had to have a lining. Thankfully in my stash I found a black synthetic slippery something to use as the lining. Everything I put into this cloak came from my stash. Today’s post will be a tutorial- how to make a partially lined cloak with pockets.

Swirling cloak- the Name of the Wind style

I like this photo because it looks like the cover of the Name of the Wind!

This Lord of the Rings costume research site has wonderful directions for making the cloak. I followed their tutorial. My tutorial will assume that you are also working off of that tutorial (This one will contain modifying instructions).

Make the Pockets

To make the cloak have pockets you need a lining. I chose welt pockets because of their streamlined appearance and relative ease of construction. How to make welt pocket is well explained here.

  • Start by cutting the largest semi-circle you can out of your lining fabric.
  • Sketch out where you want your pockets to be. I chose to have ten pockets in various sizes.
  • Decide on the size of each pocket.
  • Add some extra seam allowance to each of your measurements and cut them out on a fold.
  • I originally had measurements but when I was cutting them out I cut whatever fit on the scraps. Do whatever fits your level of precision.
  • Serge or otherwise finish the edges of your fabric.
  • Pin your pockets in place on your fabric (Right sides together). Do not have the pockets folded.

Pin pockets in place

  • Mark and sew two lines of stitching, then cut a line between them that is slightly shorter than the lines of stitching.
  • Cut in from the ends of the stitching lines to the center line. This should create little triangles. Turn right side out.
Cut a slit between the lines of stitching

Cut a slit between the lines of stitching.

  • Fold the pocket piece all the way up the fold it back down so it leaves a flap over the opening.
  • Now fold in half the pocket and stitch around all sides only through the pocket layers. Make sure you do not sew through the pocket lip.
  • Repeat with all the pockets.

Cut Your Wool

Now it is time to cut the main body of the cloak out.

  • Return to your outer fabric, in my case the wool, and determine the length you want it.
  • If you have the fabric add extra inches to account for the fabric having to go over your shoulders. I did not have the fabric to add, and it now comes to mid-calf. Incidentally, this is how long the cloaks are in the LotR movies. I have been wearing it everywhere for over a week now and have come to appreciate the shorter length; I wouldn’t change it if I could.
  • Cut out your semicircle. I found that folding it in half and measuring out from the corner and marking many times worked well to define the semi-circle.
  • Do not cut out the neck hole as a semi-circle. Measure in from the center of the circle two inches or so and cut a full circle. Check around your neck and make larger as necessary. The tutorial I followed said seven inches, I found that six worked nicely for me.
  • Cut the neckline identically on your lining.

Draft a Pattern for the Hood

Next it is time to draft the pattern for your hood. I originally followed the tutorial for the pattern but I suggest going straight to the idea of a wider hood. However, even as an experienced pattern drafter, I was unable to understand those directions. So here I will attempt to make it clearer.

Cloak pattern

  • Draw a line that is half of your neck circumference plus one inch.
  • At one end and at a right angle, draw a line that is as long as your desired hood length. Mine was thirty inches, however, many people have told me that my hood is comical; you may wish to use a shorter length.
  • Draw in the hypotenuse.
  • Cut out pattern on two sides but not the hypotenuse.
  • Fold along the hypotenuse and trace.
  • Measure from the top of your head and down to where the neckline will sit. Position the tape measure as you desire the hood to sit.
  • Starting from the top center of the ‘kite’ and along your recently traced line draw your newly made measurement in.

Drafting Diagram

 

  • Redraw the hypotenuse in on that side.
  • Cut out of your fabric, making sure that you have mirror images.
  • Make a muslin. This means to sew a copy not in your good fabric to make sure the pattern is good.
  • I rarely use real muslin to mock-up. I have a mostly hand-me-down stash and therefore have many pieces that are unusually ugly and I use those for mock-ups.

Hood muslin

Sew the Hood

After you work out kinks in your pattern and have cut out all your hood pieces (two lining, two wool),

  • Make the lining hood and the main hood separately.
  • Serge the pieces right sides together.
  • I did not have enough fabric left so I had to piece the wool together. If you have to do this, try to finagle it so that the extra seams are on the underside of the hood.
  • I used a tailor’s block to help iron the seams flat. A tailor’s block is a piece of wood that you place on top of the seam line as soon as you remove the iron. Continue pressing down hard till fabric is cool. This is a picture of me using one.

Using a tailor's block

Putting Together the Pieces

  • Attach the hoods to the necklines.
  • Make the lining and the outer cloak separate, at this point you should have two separate cloak with hoods and capes.
  • Nest these into each other wrong sides together.
  • Hem the outer hood over top of the lining hood.

Hem the hood over top of the lining hood

  • If your cloak sides (the flat side of your semi-circle) are not cut on the selvedge, hem the sides over top of the lining sides.
  • If they are selvedges you can just sew them together. This is how I did it.

Sew the edges of the cloak to the lining

  • Hem the bottom.
  • In the tutorial I followed, it suggests that you gather it and steam it. I tried it and found it unhelpful. I didn’t get past gathering it before I gave up. I got rid of most of the stitching and hemmed it normally; it is not so bad on such a large circle.

Finishing Up

All that is left is to work on the closure.

  • Sew on a large hook and eye.
  • I did not have a giant hook and eye so I used three small ones. I do not suggest this, though it works.
  • You will want to cover the scratchy wool at the neck with your lining fabric.

Congratulations on making a cloak with pockets!

 

Here are more pictures!

cloak-finished-4

I wore it to go with my Heather Longtreader costume I wore for Halloween. Heather is from The Green Ember. It is quite good so if you haven’t read it, you should (It is by S. D. Smith). She is a rabbit, so I made rabbit ears to go with my costume.

cloak-finished-6

I hope you had fun at least looking at this cloak, if not making your own!

What are you working on?

 

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