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The Ramblings of a Seamstress, Gardener, Chicken Keeper, and Housewife

Proof of My Adventures (and Misadventures!)

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Coronation Robe

I've got a little downtime before the series finale of Breaking Bad, so I might as well be semi-productive and use some of it to share the coronation robe I made for Shane.

I'll preface this whole thing by saying that this is intended for wearing at LARP events, and therefore is only historically inspired.  Even so, I think it came out well enough that I'll still enter it into the HSF Outerwear challenge.

If my less-than-ideal backdrop doesn't bother you too much, then keep reading!

The Challenge:  #20, Outerwear

Fabric:  Velvet, satin, two different faux furs.

Pattern: Butterick 4030, modified slightly to more closely match the inspiration pic

Year: 1902, approximately

Notions:  Gold trim, 1 large thread-covered hook and eye, thread, fabric glue

How historically accurate is it?  Ultimately, just accurate enough to be recognizable for what it is and clearly inspired by the inspiration pic.  All materials are modern and (in most cases) of synthetic origin.  In light of all that, perhaps 20%?

Hours to complete:  Between 60 and 70.  There's a considerable amount of handwork and hand sewing there.

First worn:  September 21st, by my friend who commissioned it.

Total cost:  Materials ran about $275.

Here's the inspiration photo my friend sent me.  It's Edward VII, whose coronation was in 1902.  I'm not sure if the portrait was painted the same year or not, but I'm guessing it's close enough.


The velvet seams were hand-basted, then machine sewn.  Even though that adds a lot of time the construction process, I've found out the hard way that it's the only way to keep velvet from shifting like crazy under the presser foot (even a walking foot!)  All the striped fur trim was hand sewn together, then hand sewn to the robe.  The gold trim was also hand sewn to the robe.

I created the faux ermine by following the tutorial on Naergi's Costuming Site.  I first cut out the capelet pieces from the white fur, then drew a grid on the wrong sides.  At each intersection, I removed a 1/2" square of white fur, then replaced it with a 1/2" square of black fur.  To keep them in place, I used fabric glue and a square of muslin as a backer.  I wasn't sure how sturdy it would be, but I'm sold on that process now.  Fabric glue really works!  There are 104 faux tails on there.  I found that the black fur I used wanted to fluff out instead of coming to a point like the tip of a tail would, so I pinched some Fray Check into them and it turned out perfectly.

ermine tail closeup

There's a single hook and eye at the neck to keep the robe closed.  It's fairly heavy, and being lined with satin makes it especially prone to slipping off if it isn't closed.  We decided not to line it in faux ermine as the inspiration pic showed mainly because faux fur is so expensive.  I know now that it would have been much, much heavier if we'd done that and probably a lot less fun to wear too!  We also decided on royal purple velvet instead of red, and we left off the big satin bows and gold cord/tassel closure.  My friend likes to be showy, but he has his limits.

front hook and eye

satin lining

I made sure to miter the striped trim at the corners, per the inspiration pic.

mitered corner trim

Here's my friend at the final fitting, wearing all his finery:

front as worn by shane all finery

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That is absolutely spectacular! And I'm not just saying that. I've had my own struggles with fur and fake fur, so I have an idea what you went through. He must be a very good friend!

Thank you! It was a lot of fun seeing it come together, but I definitely learned that I need to price things higher when they involve faux fur! Luckily for Shane, he's been my husband's buddy for the better part of a decade (and by extension, mine too.) He wanted this outfit to inspire others to improve their garb, and that's something I can definitely get behind.

Wow! You went to a lot of work to make the ermine! The whole process sounds fascinating, too. I love how it all turned out. Stunning!

Thank you! It was a lot of work, but it was totally worth it. :)

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