Welcome to Hoggstowne

Many, many months ago, during one of those *rare* times at work when we are distracted by things on the internet, we came across a wonderful thing. Hoggstowne Wizarding VIllage–an immersive Harry Potter inspired event that is happening in October at the Shaker Village in Harrodsburg, KY. You get to dress up, attend magic classes, eat feasts in the great hall, hunt for ghosts, and dance at a Harvest Ball! Naturally, the moment we found out about this, we decided we were going, whether we sold things there or not. We will have a small booth in the shop selling spells to help those wizards with less distinguished beards impress their friends with magnificent facial hair, and to augment the stylish witch’s coiffure. But mostly, we’ll be having a magical good time with everyone else.

Unsurprisingly, we’re extra excited about the clothes, because, hey, who’s more stylish than witches and wizards?

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I rest my case.

We have some extremely grand plans (which I’ll reveal later) for the Harvest Ball, but witchy day wear is almost as fun.

Part of the whole Hoggstowne thing is creating a character for yourself. We’ve amused ourselves a lot at work discussing our characters personal histories, tastes, etc… We do very tedious things all day, so it’s a good thing we are all able to discuss Harry Potter and its offshoots ad nauseam. And we’re all costumers, so creating a character, of course, goes hand-in-hand with creating a wardrobe. There are classes at Hoggstowne, but I’ve been thinking of it as more of a master class or conference, rather than a school, since most of the students are adults.

Let me tell you about Adelaide Grey:

Adelaide Grey is a half-blood–her mother is a witch, and her father is a muggle (or non-maj, as we recently learned is American term for non-magical people). On the outside, her parents seem entirely unsuited. Mrs. Grey is an eccentric witch with a flair for Herbology, who keeps a conservatory where she breeds magical plants attached to the house. Mr. Grey is a lawyer, straight-laced and clever. He is, admittedly, baffled by the magical world, and spends most of his time in his extremely non-magical study, though he adores his wife, and his daughter, Adelaide. Adelaide inherited her mother’s talent for inventive magic, and her fathers strict, rather uptight, intellectualism.

At school, Adelaide excelled at Transfiguration, Charms, and Arithmancy, and she now works developing dark detectors and other tools for Aurors (or whatever the American version of them is). She specializes in disguises and other wardrobe-related gadgets–robes that change their appearance to be appropriate in any situation, glasses that alter eye color and nose shape, watches that can replay conversations, and a hat that automatically sieves off thoughts and memories so that they can be retrieved in the event of disaster.

Adelaide began inventing things early on, starting with things to help her parents in their work. She especially loves to slip subtly magical objects into her father’s life: a pen that never runs out of ink, a tie that changes its color and pattern to suit any outfit. Her own outfits are extremely neat. She doesn’t care for modern muggle fashion, and has a tendency to borrow and…modify items from her muggle grandmother’s wardrobe.

When I started thinking about Adelaide’s wardrobe, the first thing I thought of was the Beauxbatons uniforms from the Harry Potter movies. From there, I started looking at 1960s fashion, which is a great place to find an intersection between prim and magical. The image on the right pretty much sums up my vision for Adelaide’s preferred silhouette.

The great thing is–all of the things I plan to make/acquire for Adelaide’s wardrobe are things I will happily wear in real life!

I started with the most important thing for any stylish witch: the cape–you could argue that that would be the hat, but I’m not making that myself. I’m planning to order this one from Frontier Millinery on Etsy, in navy with a bronze band as soon as I have some extra cash.

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I decided to make everything for Adelaide from 1960s patterns that I already have lying around and haven’t used. Luckily, my collection includes two different cape patterns! I went with this one from 1968, which is basically identical to the one in my inspiration photo.

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I found a beautiful navy blue windowpane wool coating from the Dorr Mill Store. I’m still waiting on the lining, but I couldn’t help sewing the fabric this weekend anyway, because I was too excited and I want my cape!

The pattern is interesting to work with since, instead of having an instruction booklet, each seam is numbered on the pattern pieces in the order in which they should be sewn, with minimal instructions given. It’s not a difficult pattern, so it doesn’t need extensive instructions anyway. This method may be more efficient for the printers, but it’s a bit odd having to search all of the pattern pieces to find the next step.

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It’s fun to see how terminology has changed in the last forty-five years. Instead of saying grainline, it has the much more elegant sounding “Lengthwise of goods”

Alright, now we get down to it:

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Seam 1: Shoulders (luckily, I know enough about garment construction to know that basting in the interfacing first was implied.)
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Since this wool is far too thick to press crisply, I opened up the seams and top stitched along each side to hold the seam allowances nice and neat, which I think looks quite smart.
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The body of the cape is made of one front piece, two side pieces, and two front pieces. The side pieces have darts to make them curve around the shoulders, which is the second step.
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Here’s a finished dart.

Steps 3, 4,5, and 6 involved attaching the side pieces to the back and front. Each notch was numbered to show what direction to sew in. The top, curved portion of the side pieces had to be eased into the shoulder area, and there is an opening in each side-front seam for the arms.

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The collar got a row of top stitching around the edge to keep it neat as well, and I went ahead and basted it to the fabric so that I could see what everything was going to look like.

Sewing all of the fabric only took me a couple of hours, and now I can’t move forward until the lining arrives! It’s going to be lined with bronze silk Habotai. I’m also getting three of these clasps in bronze from Farmhouse Fabrics to close it with:

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I hope the snow sticks around until I’ve got my cape finished, but either way, I’m super excited for it and I WANT MY LINING!

Hannah

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