Mistress Ysabeau’s Laurel Cloak

Photo by Lady Adelaide

When Baron Hamish MacLeod found out that his wife, Baroness Ysabeau ferch Gwalchaved, was going to be surprised with her Laurel at Bright Hills Baronial Birthday in February 2020, he asked me to create her Laurel cloak. Now-Mistress Ysabeau is a spinner, weaver, and sewer who handsewed garb for one of her first events 32 years ago (in a time and place when handsewn garb was actually looked down on — how far we have come!) so I knew I had to pull out all the stops I had.

The body of the cloak is wool fabric from Burnley and Trowbridge sewn with a light fingering weight wool yarn that I already had (and happened to match perfectly!). Because the fabric is fulled and doesn’t fray, I didn’t need to flatfell. I usually flatfell for strength, though, so I backsewed all the construction seams to make up for that. The body is made of wedges, but the collar is rounded.

The appliqued laurel wreath and device is a mixture of fulled plainweave wool (laurel leaves, red goutes on the device), wool twill (black field of the device), and silk (wavy bend). It is appliqued with a mixture of 20/2 silk thread and silk sewing thread. The ermine spots on the black field were embroidered with 20/2 silk thread. The wool is from Burnley and Trowbridge, the silk fabric is from Dharma Trading, and the 20/2 silk thread is from Eowyn de Wever.

The cloak is lined fully in black silk (also from Dharma Trading) sewn with black silk thread. The clasp (two fox heads, for Mistress Ysabeau’s fox badge) is from Cloakmakers. The lining was sewn into wool facings on the front edges and the collar, but given a light loose tacking at the seams on the hem.

Progress Photos

Layout sketches

Backstitching the body with wool

Laying out the design using freezer paper

Leaves basted and starting to be appliqued; device pinned

Large elements of the device sewn down

Figuring out how to embroider ermine

Laying out the ermine spots

Embroidery and applique done!

Photos from Mistress Ysabeau’s Elevation

Photo by Lady Adelaide (who caught Mistress Ysabeau’s and my crying faces!)
Photo by Lady Adelaide