Copote pattern needed : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I am interested in trying to sew Copotes (Hooded Blanket Coat of the Plains Indians) for my family. I was wondering if anyone had or could point me to a source for an easy pattern or instructions. I would be happy to purchase the pattern or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a copy. I would be interested in hearing from others who have sewed these coasts about their expereices and how they enjoyed or didn't wearing their Copote. Thanks for any leads!


-- Kathy Springer (, March 01, 2000


I have one from the Boy Scout Book "FRONTIERSMAN," copyright 1991. I'll try to scan it in and email it to you.

-- Rich (, March 01, 2000.

Making a Capote

The Hudson Bay Company was founded to establish a fur trade with the Indians. Among one of the prized items was the Hudson Bay 4-pint trade blanket. When the Indian obtained one of these blankets, it was then cut and sewn into a hooded coat, a capote (kuh-POH-tee) that could keep the chill off in low winter temperatures. This coat, used by both Indians and mountain men, is a good all- weather warm coat good for heavy usage. Typically, it was made from a Hudson Bay blanket, but any good quality wool blanket will do. Note: Before you begin this project, you may want to consult a good seamstress for helpful suggestions. First, make a pattern from some wrapping paper. Measure your arm length from the top of your shoulder to the wrist, adding an extra inch. Measure the length of the coat body from the back of your neck to whatever length you desire; preferably a little past the kneecap. Most Hudson Bay blankets are 72 x 90 inches, so keep that in mind when laying out your pattern. See diagram 5 for remaining measurements. (Helpful hint: You may want to use an old coat as a pattern. Remove the thread- ing from the seams and take the coat apart completely.) Remember that the body of the capote is made from one piece of cloth. When you think you have all the pieces you need, lay them all on heavy wrapping paper and trace around each piece. Mark the items "left arm," "right arm," etc. Cut out each piece with scissors. Construct the capote by putting all the pieces together with pins or tape. Follow diagram 5 closely. When you have satisfied yourself with a decent fit, you are ready to cut the actual pattern out of the blanket. When laying the pattern onto the blanket, make certain that the color- ful stripes are all going in the right direction. Also, lay the paper pattern onto a lightweight, inexpensive fabric, and cut out the pieces. This fabric can be sewn together like a lining and later used as such, and you'll prob- ably end up getting a better fit. When hand sewing, follow the sketch and use red wool yarn for sewing pieces together and for the edging. The last piece is simple. Cut a belt to circle your waist with enough left to hang over. It should be about 3 inches in width. You now have a nice warm Lone Hawk capote.

"FRONTIERSMAN," copyright 1991 by Boy Scouts of America, Irving, TX, booklet # 3448, pages 31 & 32.

I'll email you directly a graphics (tiff) file of the diagrams. You should be able to open and print it out. I hope this works, if it doesn't let me know and I'll snail-mail you a copy.

-- Rich (, March 01, 2000.

I have made several capotes, and it was not complicated at all. If making your own pattern is a bit daunting (it is for me, especially with the first project, and ESPECIALLY with an expensive wool blanket), they are pretty widely available. Just about any company that deals with the 1700-1800's era of the Living History hobby will have patterns for capotes available. You might try Smoke and Fire Company, at 1-800-766-5334. They can take your order right then, if you have a credit card, or ask for their free catalog. Another good company is James Townsend and Son, with a web site at Their catalog is free too, and both companies are prompt with their deliveries. My pattern was from Northwest traders, at 1-800-458- 8227, with a web site at . I borrowed the pattern, so I have not had any personal experience with this company, but I have heard that they are reputable. The resulting coat is only as warm as the blanket that you make it from. I sometimes wear my Hubby's whitney blanket capote on really cold, windy days on playground duty. I wear a dress or skirt all the time, and the extra length gives a welcome bit of warmth. Hubby loves his, and he always gets a lot of compliments on it at Living History events. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I love my hobby.

-- Leann Banta (, March 01, 2000.

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