Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Cape

The quilted cape from Honolulu is here, and it is wonderful. I think it was made some time in the middle to late 20th century, but no later than the 1980s. It was framed, and appears to have very minor fading, but the back is bright. Interestingly, a back was put on after the piece was quilted. Hard to say if the maker wanted more of a garment finish or what, but the back is also a redder red.

It is appliqued, echo quilted and bound on all edges in yellow and black. The ties for around the neck are part of the black neck binding.

The cape has a stiffness from the batting and extra backing. When worn, it takes on a rigid, cone or bell shape rather than draping loosely.

I have looked everywhere for other quilted capes but have not found any yet. I have also sent a note to the seller asking if there was any more history they could share. It's a very special and unusual object, possibly even sacred, so I will take good care of it and will look forward to learning more about it.


  1. Looking on the net it looks like your quilt is a copy of a feather one in the Bishop Museum. Perhaps someone wanted a feather one but the collection of the appropriate feathers was forbidden by then. Somewhat analogous to the button blankets made by the Northwest coastal tribes when materials and/or expertise were unavailable to make the famous Chilkat blankets.

  2. What a unique cape! I bet it would be very warm!