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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gentlemen,

I am once again in need of your opinions/advice, please.
I want to surprise my husband with an opera cape for Christmas. I know they are very difficult, virtually impossible, to find anymore - at least in the style and fabrics (e.g., genuine silk satin lining) that I envision. Fortunately, I am quite good at sewing, thus this is not an insurmountable problem.

This Web site has a cloak, but I think it's too long, based on the vintage fashion plates I have seen, and I find the lining rather dull.
https://www.irishcapescoatsandcloaks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=35_41&products_id=38

Here are my questions:
1. How long should the cape be (by that I mean, where should it end, e.g. mid-thigh, above the knees, at the knees)? Anything longer than that would be a cloak in my opinion, correct?
2. What type of fabric should I use for the outer layer? Obviously, a nice, heavy wool fabric, possibly blended with cashmere, that drapes well, but what type of weave? A gabardine? Flannel (too much like a school-boy blazer?)? Wool felt (similar to Loden, but not green)?
3. What colour silk should I use for the lining? Does history give preference to one colour or a few colours over others?

I wish it were easier to find answers. Any assistance you can provide will be greatly appreciated. I would like to order the fabric next week to give myself ample time.
Thank you.
 

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Persephone,

Good to see you on the forum again. My grandfather had such a cape, worn with his Patrol Dress. Of course, he was a field grade officer of infantry, not actually going to formal events with such a cape.

I would go with wool felt on the outside, and a silk lining. The reason I suggest this is, such a cloak will need to be worn to make it practical, so you don't want anything which makes it seem too fragile.

Also, a rabbit fur collar might be appropriate. Mink might be a wee bit poncy, but I like the idea of a formal opera cloak. Someday, I'll have one made for myself.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so very much for your response and the greeting.
I rather like the idea of black wool felt. Gabardine is probably too insubstantial and the cape must be warm and practical as you pointed out.
As a great animal lover though, I think I will use black cotton velvet for the collar. Silk velvet is too soft, and perhaps a bit too feminine.

Katherine
 

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I would have it hang to the back of his knees. Any shorter and it doesn't function properly and longer than that is overly dramatic. Do post pictures when you have it completed. Though we have a fine couple of opera companies out here in SoCal, the weather never gets cold enough to justify a cape for anyone other than superheroes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you, Oldsarge. I agree that the longer ones are too dramatic and perhaps even venture into the costume realm. I have a long velvet cloak to wear over my ball gowns, but I fear my husband would look like an elf lord from Lord of the Rings in that.

I found a vintage wool fabric on etsy last night, and because it was a great price ($80 for 5 yards) I went ahead and purchased it. If it's not heavy enough, I will use it for another project. It was apparently properly stored, and is free of moth holes. I have worked with this seller in the past, and I trust her.

I already have black cotton velvet for the collar, and my husband wants crimson silk satin for the lining. I think 20-25 mommes will be a good, substantial weight for the lining. Traditionally, the frog closure was made of either silk or mohair, but I think I will go with black silk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I hope will will see this.
I hope so, too! Apart from a lace jabot for my husband's Halloween costume, I've never made any men's clothing. I've hand knitted a jumper and a shawl, but I've never sewn anything that can be worn by a man. My latest sewing project is attached. I am the one in the light blue ball gown dancing with a family friend, and it took me over a year to make this dress, because I procrastinated and came close to giving up more than once. I used 11 yards of 20-momme silk taffeta, 5 yards of stiff netting and 8 yards of habutai silk lining. It's based on a 1950s pattern. Clothing Wedding dress Bride Dance Dress


P.S. I posted this with my iPad, and don't know if the picture will show up properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
One more picture of a sewing project from a few years ago. I am the one in the middle in the gold dress. It was a masquerade ball, but I chose an evening dress and a Venetian-style mask, which I did not wear for the picture.

Clarification: The dress was made in 2009, but the picture is from last Saturday. I seem to have trouble with expressing myself in a clear and succinct manner today.
Smile Hairstyle Shoulder Dress Gown
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you. How very kind of you.

I love handmade presents, and it doesn't matter if it is homemade jam, baked goodies, a knitted scarf, paper origami, etc. One of my most cherished possessions is a paper origami rose that I received from a 9-year-old girl (I taught ballet as a uni student to make some extra money). Of course, I treasure all presents, but gifts like that have a special place.

It's lovely to see that I am not the only one in our materialistic world who appreciates such simple gestures.
 
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