Wednesday, 19 December 2012

More on the French Capot

This reproduction capot, a hooded coat, is representative of those worn circa 1690-1720 in French Canada.

An ample coat with hood and sleeves, the capot was derived from the coat used by French sailors in inclement weather. The French inhabitants of Quebec modified the design by giving them a slightly more tailored look. These alterations were meant to imitate the justaucorps, the fashionable coat of the day. This reproduction example has mariner's cuffs. Some sleeves were plain and others had long "boot cuffs" like those on justaucorps. Capots were fastened around the waist with a sash. A single button on the right shoulder allowed the left flap to cross over the breast. These coats were typically made of serge, a woolen cloth that is pliable and drapable but durable. Blue was the favored color. Like most textiles, capots rapidly became highly sought-after trade goods in New France. Native North Americans soon adopted the design to make their own garments from square-cut blankets, creating a kind of knee-length hooded cloak held together at the waist by a sash and closed at the chest with a clasp or pin.

This is supposed to be dated 1730, but I have no provenance as yet.
Capots were originally a kind of a hooded coat or gown worn by French sailors in wet or bad weather. Capots were first used in Canada by Natives ; as early as 1606, French sailors were trading their capots to the Micmac on the Atlantic coast. They seem to have become popular trade goods ; by 1620, a French captain found it necessary to order his sailors not to trade away their capots until all the other trade goods had been used up [1].

"the native people wear French capots, and in the winter, bed-blankets."

Father Baird in Acadia in 1616.


Frontier Carpenter said...

My wife made me a capote out of a grey wool blanket. I really like it I suggest making one they are great in cold weather.

Does it get very cold were you live?

Le Loup said...

Coldest I have known it to get where we live is 19 Deg below. Not too cold.

Kurt Baier said...

The Eguipment of the New France Militia 1740-1760, by Steve Delisle,Kebeca Liber Ata Co. is a great resource for all things Milice. I use the plain-cuffless version as it snags less in the woods and packs in a tighter roll for sash carry. from other sources most popular color blue pre 1750, white during F&I, however gray-brown-blue available from the kings store. Great pics. Woodsranger2007

rehall said...

I am interested in making a capote similar to the one pictured here. Where can I get a pattern for it. Reid Hall

Keith H. Burgess said...

Try here Mr Hall.