When Amber and I designed the Scroop + Virgil’s Fine Goods 18th century mantle patterns we tried to keep the amount of extra specialist notions you’d need to have to make a beautiful mantle to a minimum.
So the pattern includes pattern pieces and instructions for mantles with fabric bindings, but…you can also bind your mantles with purchased ribbon!
We used this technique on the hoodless View B Marie Mantle in black wool that Averil models:
Here’s how to do it!
- Silk ribbon
- Your mantle finished up to the neck pleating step, with the pleating basted in place:
I’m using the 1” wide single faced silk-satin ribbon from Burnley & Trowbridge. If you want something a little wider and lusher (like the cyclamen pink bow Averil is sporting on her dress) Virgil’s Fine Goods carries beautiful silk satin ribbon.
Anything under 3/4”/2cm is tricky to use as binding.
I don’t recommend silk taffeta ribbons, as all the ones I have tried were extremely lightweight, more habotai than taffeta, and will wear through very quickly (if you know someone selling silk taffeta ribbon with a decent weight, please let me know!).
To bind the neck edge:
Measure across 1/2 of the pleated mantle neck edge:
You’ll need this measure + how long you want your ties to be, x2 (or, this measure x 2 + the ribbon requirement given in the Marie or Charlotte patterns) for your binding.
Cut your length of ribbon, fold it in half to find the centre, and mark the centre point:
Match the centre point to the centre point of the mantle neck edge, and pin in place.
At this point I like to fold my ribbon over the neck edge of the mantle and pin, so I know that when I sew the ribbon on I will be binding the neck edge evenly, with equal amounts of ribbon on both the right side, and wrong side of the mantle. However, this does mean I have to do a rather tricksy manoeuvre where I re-pin the mantle through only one layer of ribbon, and take out the original pins, so I can sew through only one layer of ribbon. Eyeballing it or pressing in a centre fold are also good options. It’s up to you.
With your ribbon pinned to your mantle, sew. Sew the ribbon to the right side of the mantle first. I like to use a whipstitch, but you could also use an edge stitch or a backstitch.
When you reach the end, turn the mantle over, fold the ribbon over the raw edge, and stitch the other side of the ribbon. This edge should always be sewn with a whipstitch or edge stitch.
When you are done sewing on the binding, finish the edges of your ribbon by cutting them into Vs, pinked scallops, zig-zags, or by hemming.
I like to hem as I find modern ribbon tends to fray or unravel, but cutting definitely seems to have been more common based on extant examples and period images.
Pinked scallops (although it’s not entirely clear if we’re seeing her mantle ties or dress bow):
And, you’re done!