Scarlet Pimpernel/Highwayman Cloak

Sir Percy-
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Ever since I first read the book, I have loved the Scarlet Pimpernel. And when I finally saw the 1980's movie (the one with Anthony Andrews, Jane Seymore and Ian Mckellan) I wanted to make a stylized version of the outfit he wears through much of the movie - fitted breeches, flounce shirt, cravat, striped waistcoat and a large billowy cloak.

So, over the past few years, I've been slowly acquiring all the things I'd need to make the outfit when I see them cheaply: the gold plated lion's head buttons (12 for $6 from a yarn shop closing sale), raw black silk for breeches (free as the fabric has a small glue stain in one corner), and striped gold satin for the waistcoat ($1 for an odd shaped 2 yard piece from an upholstery store).

But the cloak always gave me some trouble, just with the sheer volume of fabric needed (more than 8 yards when made to hit the floor at my height and make it extra billowy). I ended up being given about 10 yards of black cotton/wool blend (most likely a type of linsey-woolsey, but of unknown origin) for helping clean up an SCA lady's house.
Simplicity 5794

So, I used one of my favourite patterns, Simplicity 5794 (View A), which I have used to make 2 wool cloak commissions previously and always ends up nice. I left the body unlined (as both sides of the fabric look the same) and lined the hood in remnants of black satin. I finished all the inside seams with a zig-zag stitch on my machine and all the outside edges and hems were sewn with a rolled hem foot which ended up giving it a lettuce edge look which I really like and made the cloak drape beautifully.

The fabric itself was easy to sew but left a mess. It shed and I had to clean my Bernina after every hour or so because it would leave behind such a mess of lint. However, the fabric made the cloak super warm! I wore it to the MD Renaissance Faire in October and I was nice and toasty the entire time.

Here are some picture of the cloak in action!
Back view. Picture taken before Halloween while
wearing a bustle dress in high winds and rain!
Side view at the Maryland
Renaissance Festival


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