What’s On: Another 1894 Cape

Here’s one our latest fit samples, in this case a cape based on an original 1894 pattern:

And for a colse-up of the collar:

And here’s a little of the construction process. Here we’re chalking out the lining:

And after cutting out the wool main cape:

And a burn test before starting- yes, it’s 100% wool. 🙂

This cloak is constructed from a patterned wool print fabric. The base fabric is a camel-colored brown and the pattern is black. The lining is a medium-weight cotton sateen. Stay tuned for more!

Looking Back…Clockwork Alchemy


Going through some older pictures, I came across this one from our 2016 trip to the Clockwork Alchemy Convention. I designed these two dresses for our entry in the fashion show. The evening dress on the left is our latest design, the “Lucy”, named after Lucy Westenra, the ill-fated companion of Mina Harker in Bram Stoker’s book Dracula and the subsequent Dracula movies. The dress on the right, the “Camille” is a lavender day dress in shades of lavender with amethyst accents. Both dresses are executed in the Mid-Bustle Era style (late 1870s/early 1880s) and represent some our most recent creations. While there were some challenges making these designs work for the parameters of the fashion show, I was very pleased with the result and I look forward to returning to Clockwork in 2019. 🙂



Now That’s a Wrap!

Living in Southern California, there is rarely a need for cloaks and mantles so it’s something that we’ve never really considered until you have to… 🙂

Karin Cloak

Oh, those Victorians! They sure knew how to make an entrance! Last night I finished an evening cloak for my new ballgown for our London/Bath trip. Rain in a silk satin dress? No problem…I will be fine from hotel taxi to the ball. 🙂

Karin Cloak

Karin Cloak

So what inspired my design? Well, there are many sources of which these are just a few… 🙂

Pingat Opera Cloak c. 1882

Emile Pingat, Opera Cloak, c. 1882; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.60.42.13)


Mantle Worth Outerwear Late 1890s

Worth, Evening Mantle, c. Late 1890s; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.51.69.2)

Dolman Mantle Late 19th Century

Dolman/Mantle, Late 19th Century; Augusta Auctions (32.14685.160.71)

As for construction, Basically, I started with an original period pattern dating from 1891 and modified accordingly. The most important thing was that I needed this to fit over a sloping ballgown bustle, so I flared the side piece and the center back piece from the hip down for room, otherwise it will only work for the 1890s and up. The armscye I also cut wider, only so a puffy ballgown sleeve could reach through without a struggle, otherwise that required no fussing. I skipped the collar (because I own the shortest neck in the world) and opted to face a shallow v-neckline. The drapey sleeves required a little Origami technique to figure out but they’re simpler than they look. I also strongly recommend lining this garment. Finally, I also added drapery weights for swing.

That’s it pretty much in a nutshell. I’ll be posting some pictures of the cloak in action very soon so stay tuned!



Now That’s A Wrap!

Living in Southern California and the Southwest in general, it’s easy to get spoiled with all the great weather- warm, sunny, and few or no clouds. Rain is relatively infrequent so it’s usually something we just don’t think about. Well, it hit us that England is quite the opposite and especially when it comes to rain so we had to do a slight re-think about our wardrobe for the Victorian Ball in Bath and that means a cape. 🙂

Karin Atelier Cloak Mantle

What to do? Obviously an evening cloak of some sort but since we’ve never really needed one in the past, it’s not something that I’ve given much thought to so it was time to a little research into evening cloaks…so here’s some of the many examples I found:

Cloak Pingat c. 1888 - 1890

Emile Pingat, Evening Cloak, c. 1888 – 1890; Metropolitan Museum of Art

This opera cloak made by Pingat in circa 1882 especially caught my eye- the combination of fur and feathers combined with the floral design decoration ivory silk satin is simply stunning.

Pingat Opera Cloak c. 1882

Emile Pingat, Opera Cloak, c. 1882; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.60.42.13)

Pingat Opera Cloak c. 1882

Side Profile

Pingat Opera Cloak c. 1882

Three-Quarter Rear View

And here’s the cloak worn over a dress:

Emile Pingat Opera Cloak c. 1882

Cloak Pingat c. 1879 - 1880

Emile Pingat, Cloak, c. 1879 – 1880; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.60.6.7)

Cloak Pingat c. 1879 - 1880

Three-Quarter Rear View

Cloak Mantle Pingat c. 1891

Emile Pingat, Mantle, c. 1891; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (M.2007.211.38)

Interestingly enough, In my search, it seemed that the most striking examples were those may by Emile Pingat and after some thought, we decided that a full-length cloak would be the most effective and practical design, especially given that my ball gown is a Mid-Bustle Era design so after going through my collection of original patterns, I came up with one from the early 1890s that I could modify:

Karin Cloak

Angus,  our creative consultant checks out the faux fur, trying to determine what animal it came from…

Karin Cloak

Curved gores follow the shape of the underlying ball gown.

Karin Mantle Cloak

Here’s a good view of the corded floral design.

We’ve used a pale blue silk satin and lined it in ivory silk moire. The cloak is also trimmed in a faux fur (primarily to avoid issues with potential vermin infestation). The cloak is still under construction but we’ll be finished soon and when we are we’ll post some more views here. 🙂