An easy guide to making your own victorian accessories part one,Muffs, capes and other things

Making almost all Victorian accessories is quite easy  and usualy very cheap and those which cant be made are usually easy to buy of ebay or from fancy dress shops.

Before I show how to make mittens ,capes ,cloaks ,collars chemisettes bags and parasols Its probably handy to see what you can buy without sewing anything  and where to buy the items such as fans and gloves you cant make ,its possible to buy fans offline very cheaply and plain ones will look authentic.

Shawls and capes

Picture 1114

Shawls are also very easy to find plain or paisley  look best

bronte gown back edit

webshot purple victorian dress SHAWL

Though I will show how to make one very quickly  also often possible to find faux fur or fur capes

blue cloak

nicki and harry

.Long elbow length gloves can usually also be bought cheaply offline

dark green gown

as can parasols ,some are lace  but theres also often fabric or paper ones

blue skirt


nicely tailored victorian style jackets can sometimes be found

victorian mourning outfit

Plain leather gloves are usually ok for Victorian events and sometimes its possible to find vintage muffs

blue dress

To make a  caul cap ,mob cap  or coif check my post here

you can make a very easy cap by using a cotton lace edge mat

lace doily

Just gather the mat near the lace edges with a running stitch to make a little frilly cap

gold and purple 044

To make a muff

This is the easiest accessory to make .If your very lucky you may find a faux fur or fur coat  or jacket ,in which case just cut off a long length of sleeve tuck part of it inside until it makes the size of muff you want .The effect is the same as when you pull  your sleeve out of a coat but it gets stuck and pulls partly  inside out as you take it off .When its the right length you can tack it in place ,this makes a fully fur lined fur muff .Add a piece of ribbon or curtain cord tied inside in a loop for something to hang it around your neck with, or a very much shorter length to use as a hand strap.

If the sleeves are too short you will still have enough length for a muff but you will need to use the sleeve lining.A velvet ,silk or wool jacket or coat sleeves  will also work  to make muff in the same manner ,though it wont be as  warm.

You can also make a quick muff by using a 1940s fur stole such as these

40s-shot gloves

While cutting up a perfect 1940s fox fur is a little bit too wasteful may of these foxes have missing eyes,paws tails etc and can be bought cheaply to make muffs ,merely wrap them around themselves and tack in place .you could do the same with a fur wrap or cape

haworth 1940s 3

If the fake fur is a bit unremarkable or your using a silk ,satin ,velvet or wool jacket you can make a very fancy muff

pale pink muff

you could make a very fancy muff using beaded fabrics sleeves  from evening gowns or tops

black beaded eco muff

or gold trim your fur muff

gold muff detailing

To make a muff from scratch is also easy its just an oblong piece of fabric.

muff piecwe

striched along its edge then  make another long tube of fake fur,long enough to go inside and be turned over at each end.Place it fur side outinside the outer tube of fabric and trun back the fur and stitch it down


If you dont have enough fake furt for a full lined muff just add some fur along its edges it works best of you use rich fabrics such as velvet or damask

tudor muff

or fabrics with detailing such as these pieces of vintage fabric

silk pink muff



jaand me

You will need

A  very full skirt  bought from a charity or thrift shop ,preferably one with interesting detailing .Any length but short

a fur collar or other collar ,velvet  silk ,satin ,this can be cut from a blouse cardigan or a vintage collar bought ,many modern cardigans have removable fur collars.

a very small length of ribbon ,velvet works best but any will do

How to make your cheap and quick cape

The easiest way to make a cape is to find a very full skirt  or full skirted dress thats made from something suitable ,velvet is ideal ,satin can also be used as could wool .A line skirts wont work but very full flared skirts will if you cant find anything else ,gathered skirts work best. If your lucky you make find a very long skirt to make a cloak length cape.The skirt should be lined but an unlined skirt works well but wont be as warm.(You can use shorter narrower  skirts even mini skirts  but theres slightly  more work ,I will cover it at the end of the post)

Step one

You simply cut the skirt down the back edge where the zip is .Turn the edges over and stitch them down  now just gathered the skirts neckline until it fits flush against your neck .The cape below was an very elaborately embroidered skirt which can from a charity shop. I cut as above and made into a cape this way ,it took around half an hour and cost approx £5


Step two

,cover  the neckline  gathers with a piece of fake fur ,feathers or ideally a vintage or modern  fur collar .

Step three

sew on ribbons  to use for the ties

sweet love of youth

To make a cape using a short or narrow skirt

wgw red gown

cut off the waist band ,hem both edges as before and gather slightly at the neck but this time put the skirt on your shoulders and tuck it at each should until it sits flush as below ,sew these “darts” so the cape sits  flush against your shoulders,add the fur collar and add ribbons as before


 The duvet cover evening cloak

The cloak below was made with a satin duvet cover set


Firstly gather the duvet to suitable width for your neck using a running stitch.then fold the pillowcase along its width stitch a little bit of the folded edge together to give a slightly folded hood shaped bit ,gather the pillowcase as you did the duvet cover  then stitch the pillowcase to the duvet cover and add ties The cloak is already hemmed and lined .I add some fur trim cut from an old coat and made a matching muff with it

sil cloak

You can make cloaks from damask duvet set or a pair of curtains ,gathered again at the neck

pink cloak gowns


You can also use a  pair of heavier curtains for a winter cloak ,again,gathered again at the neck but first cut a long length off cut this length to a suitable size for a hood ,fold along its longest edge and stitch together




I have not yet tried it but I am fairly sure it would be possible to make a good cloak using a throw just gathered at the neck then trimmed with a fur collar as the cloaks  below look like throws before they are gathered and have their shoulders shaped.

for pam edite



Its possible to make mantles fairly easily but as they take more tailoring I will leave those until I have a suitable piece of fabric

green coat


About hathawaysofhaworth

I am a Historian and author living in the north
This entry was posted in 19thc and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to An easy guide to making your own victorian accessories part one,Muffs, capes and other things

  1. Pingback: A cheats guide to Medieval dresses ,how to make a medieval gown with no sewing experience | Hathaways of Haworth

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