A Cope for a Rat of Most Excellent Pedigree

There are times when I offer my talents up for an assignment and hope that the recipient accepts my offer.  This project was one of those times.  I was lucky enough to have Rich Templeman accept my offer.  “Uncle Rat”, as most of my friends know this man, is a friend to many of my friends, my households, and my kingdom.  When I heard that he was to get an award for craftsmanship I jumped at the chance to make him a memorable garment to show his newly gained award.

Seeing as Rich lived on the West Coast it made sense that linen was to be the best fabric to make this out of.  Being that he already had a cloak I optioned to make him a cope, or shoulder cape, which he could wear over his cloak to show all of his earned peerages together.  After speaking with him and learning he did not receive a cloak for his elevation to the Pelican I knew adding one of those to the cope would help round out the design.

When I take on a project I, first, jump into photoshop and set my designs to the screen.  The size, color and designs are all set out here so in printing the design i print the elements to size in order to cut out my wool and silk pieces.


As with all first engagements this picture didn’t survive to become the final piece, only bits and pieces of it did.  I put together the Cope itself, next, and once I had it together realized that there was no way that I could cut out and applique so many of those leaves as I had planned in the design. Scrapping the extended laurel wreathe  I decided that individual ones would be more striking to the piece overall.


In the back, center, of the cope I placed a felted wool pelican’s head detailed with gold silk and outlined in gold passing thread.  Two garnet stones mark the blood drops of the sacrificing pelican.


Surrounding the pelican head I added the first laurel wreathe, once again, garnets are sewn onto the fabric to represent laurel berries. An interesting note about this is that the “stem” of the laurels are actually lucet cords with the leaves being hand felted wool appliqued down with the same wool used to make the stems.


Oh the front of the cope I sewed invisible clasps and set the “Ermine Vermin” which are Rich’s main heraldic charge To either side so they would be foremost in position.  Placing another set of laurel halves around each rat so when closed it would form a full wreathe.


This is a more detailed view of the rats before I took them off of the embroidery frame.


Lastly, here is a copy of the Cope from a distance showing Rich’s heraldic colors and the reversed collar.