Thursday, October 11, 2018

Costuming The Brother

My brother is Scrooge. And I get to costume him.

Now, just to clarify, my brother is acting the part of Ebenezer Scrooge in a high school production of "A Christmas Carol" come December. In real life he doesn't generally go around crying "Bah Humbug!" On stage however, he is a very convincing hater of Christmas. So clearly, he needs the costume to fit the character, and I am having great fun designing it! 1840's grumpy old man here we come!

First up, his outerwear! My mom bought him a top hat, and I made him a cloak - just in time to share today on the costume blog tour hosted by Made For Little Gents "Magnificent Wizards". So here he is, my not so little anymore, little brother, transformed into a gentleman one might pass on a London street in the 1840's.

When this brother of mine got the roll of Scrooge, it didn't take me long to start researching 1840's men's clothing. I finally has an excuse to make something vaguely historical for my brother! I'm reasonably familiar with 1840's women clothing, having made a dress, or two, from that era, but men's wear is a whole new ball game. For starters, men don't have to (get to?) wear corsets, or petticoats. And they wear pants. And tailcoats. Definitely nothing like women's dresses! They do, however still get to wear cloaks, which is a historical clothing item I am familiar with. Thus, that is what I started with. A cloak for my brother.

Gentlemen's 1840's cape, found on

I began where I always begin historical costuming projects - on the internet, finding extant garments similar to what I'm wanting to make. After a quick search I had a general idea of what a men's cloak in the 1840's would look like and I was ready to get started!

All the cloak examples I found showed a double layered cloak, one shorter over layer and one longer under layer. Luckily, I had the perfect pattern in my stash for a cloak like this - the same pattern I used to make my own 1840's cloak almost 4 years ago.

Yep, the Princess Anna cape pattern, McCall's M7000 (or MP381 if you grabbed it off of the display rack, like I did 4 years ago, rather than the normal pattern drawers.). Now this may look like a princess cape pattern, but it's an excellent base for early victorian capes! For my brother's I just made the corners right angles instead of curves, smoothed out the back hemline, and the cloak turned out about as un-princess-y as possible.

Though my brother does declare it as elegant, in a gentlemanly type way.  Especially in pictures where one happens to be running away from the camera.

Now, you know what's not particularly elegant, or gentlemanly, or historically accurate? Flip flops. My brother's shoe of choice for our photo shoot. Or sweatpants for that matter. However, this brother of mine does not particularly enjoy getting his picture taken, and he was actually rather amiable to the idea of a cloak photoshoot, so I didn't push the shoe and pants issue.

We had great fun with our little cloak photo shoot, as my brother went from grumpy Scrooge, to goofball, to mysterious vampire. He generally fell in love with his cloak, which absolutely thrilled me.

Now, honestly, while the cloak gives a lovely historical impression for the stage, it's not really historically accurate in and of itself. It's made of a rayon suiting (found on the clearance rack at Joann's), rather than wool. It's entirely machine sewn. And it's not lined or faced like an actual cloak from the 1840's would be, instead the edges are all finished with single fold black bias tape. But it's perfect for the play! 

Over all, I'm very pleased with how the cloak looks, and my brother is all around happy with it! 

This kid was thinking he wouldn't do anything for halloween this year, but now he's thinking he might wear this cloak to be a vampire! And I am not complaining about that!

So, Vampire, or Scrooge, my brother now has the beginning of some fabulous costumes! Now I just need to make the rest of the pieces!

As much as I enjoying sewing clothes for my sister and I, sewing things that my brother likes and wears is incredibly fun, and I'm excited to continue working on his costume! Next up, a dressing gown, to be finished sometime before dress rehearsal the first week of December. 

And possibly a second cloak, because now that he has one, the brother declares cloaks are awesome and he needs another for daily wear. One suitable for general wear with flip flops and sweatpants. Go figure.

See what other bloggers are making boys for Halloween by following along on our Magnificent Wizards Blog Tour! 
Mon. Oct. 1 | Angel Child Clothing
Tues. Oct. 2 | Made for Little Gents
Wed. Oct. 3 | Big Fly Notion
Thurs. Oct. 4 | Tenille's Thread
Fri. Oct. 5 | Sewing Novice
Mon. Oct. 8 | Paisley Roots
Tues. Oct. 9 | Custom Made by Laura
Wed. Oct. 10 | Fée bricolo
Thurs. Oct. 11 | The Sewing Goatherd
Fri. Oct. 12 | Manning the Machine

The cloak looking elegant, in a gentlemanly type way.


  1. HE looks great and I'm cracking up on those poses!!!! Great job :)

    1. Thanks! It was so much fun to photograph him in his cloak!

  2. Eeek I love this! What a fantastic costume to represent Scrooge. And I love what the original pattern is for - how ironic!

    1. Thanks! I'm really pleased with how it came out! And how often do you get to use a princess dress pattern to make something for your brother? I just had to take advantage of the opportunity, lol!

  3. Cloaks are just generally cool ;) And yeah, sewing for a brother has a special satisfaction to it.
    Now I want to go dig out my cape to finish it : D

    1. There's just something great about sewing for boys! And I highly recommend finishing the cape, you never realize you need a cape in your life, until you have one!