Last summer I came across a photo of Prince Elector Moritz of Saxony’s Parade Cloak, which is an extant mid-16th century garment lovingly preserved and restored. Here’s a photo of it:
Sadly, this was the largest photo I could find. I found a closeup of the collar area at the Staatliche Kuntsammlungen Dresden museum, which had it on display in 2009-2010. Searching around the Internet, I found no mention of anyone else who’d made such a garment for a man. I did find a pattern from Reconstructing History which appeared to be duplicating this exact cloak based on the drawing on its cover, so I ordered this hoping it might give me some more background. I received it, and it had some background on cloaks of this shape and style, as well as the pattern. Alas, when I tried to make the garment based on the pattern and instructions, there was not enough detail — it was like trying to put together a puzzle with various pieces, and not succeeding.
Desperate, I tried a more extensive Internet search for the garment. I needed more photos! Then I tried contacting the museum to request more information and/or photos. With no response from them, I went back to the very short description at the museum and noticed that the restoration was done by an foundation called Abegg-Stiftung. So I found the Abegg-Stifung web site, and discovered that the restorers, Bettina Niekamp and Agnieszka Wos Jucker, wrote a book about the restoration! Awesome! Except that the book was not online to browse, nor in stock to purchase. Not giving up, I searched deeper for a copy of this book and was amazed to discover, thanks to WorldCat.org, that there 41 copies around the world in libraries, and one just happened to be a mere 3 miles from me. I’m so thankful to live in a university town!
Today I adventured to the Fine Arts museum at the University of Michigan. And there, perched on the shelf, was a beautiful, full-color copy of Das Prunkkleid des Kurfürsten Moritz von Sachsen (1521-1553) in der Dresdner Rüstkammer: Dokumentation – Restaurierung – Konservierung! It’s all in German, but I’ll just have to learn how to translate the parts I need into English. The book has lots of photos, many close-up. I also discovered that the Reconstructing History is indeed based on this garment, but that it appears they simply copied the construction diagram, including some of the letters the authors used to match up parts — and then forgot to print some of the letters on the pattern, which explains why the pieces just weren’t fitting for me. So now I have the complete picture of this garment’s construction, including notes on materials, techniques, and the like.
Finding this book was the best feeling! I love libraries and I love books! Thank you, Bettina Niekamp and Agnieszka Wos Jucker, for documenting your work.
I would like to make a version of this coat, first as a practice in wool for more rugged use. Then, after I’ve learned from the first, I will find some lovely silk damask and try a dress version.