The Yellow Wallpaper



Gabrielle Reynard


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Photos by Hattie Rensberry

Outline the story …

I took inspiration from the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, as my time in quarantine over 2020 made me appreciate the story much more as I listened to it over and over! I took design inspirations from extant 1890's capes at the MET and FIT, and also borrowed books on costume history in the 1890's from a professor of mine.

Outline the construction…

I began with a Truly Victorian 1890's cape pattern and some truly elaborate ideas. What began as a grandiose evening cape became a simple dinner capelet when I realized I went too big too fast, like a Happy Birthday sign. I taught myself to sew as a young girl but because of mental health problems I hadn't sewn anything in many years, and had to relearn and correct all my terrible sewing techniques on this project! I also had to overcome living in a more rural area with not much access to a large or varied fabric selection, and not enough time to order anything online. I made do with some imitation silk, a soft yellow suiting, and your typical hobby store trim! I also taught myself how to make the two matching rosettes by hand with faux velvet ribbon. The construction itself took about 2 weeks, with the whole cape being taken apart and put back together nearly 5 times. I got frustrated, I cried, and I wanted to quit, but I pulled through and built something I can show!




  1. Avatar Laura Boyles on March 11, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    This story haunted my childhood. I love the capelet. The colour is exactly right for the book (in my head). Lovely collar, and perfect trim. It was worth the hard work and heartache. I hope it’s the start of a return to a happy sewing journey. Wear it! Best of luck x

  2. Avatar Lindsey on March 12, 2021 at 2:49 am

    I’m so glad you stuck through it, this turned out wonderful.

  3. Avatar Laura Wemyss on March 12, 2021 at 11:29 am

    Such a lovely sunny colour. The rosettes are subtle, yet so sweet! Hats off to your perseverance!

  4. Avatar Andrea Olinte on March 12, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    Well done, the trims look beautiful.

  5. Avatar Carolien van Alphen on March 12, 2021 at 6:01 pm

    You look great, and the yellow is lovely and vibrant. It’s good to realize that we sometimes take on too much and take a step back. This is something I myself definitely still have to learn. Well done!

  6. Avatar Ame on March 12, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    This is a gorgeous capelet. I’m so glad you finished on time! You made such lovely decisions with the trim and the color, and the rosettes just put that Perfect Finishing Touch(tm) on it.

  7. Avatar Suzi Smart on March 12, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    I love the collar. It creates such a nice line to the capelet.

  8. Avatar Anne on March 12, 2021 at 9:07 pm

    It is stunning. I LOVE it. I always think we need more yellow. And look at the trim around the boarder. Fabulous!!

  9. Avatar Alizée Charrié on March 13, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    The rosettes and the trim look so good together, I think they make the whole aesthetic of your capelet!

  10. Avatar Valerie on March 17, 2021 at 3:04 am

    Something about translating the wallpaper into a capelet works so well in a way I can’t articulate. I love all the choices you made, and you look wonderful in it!

  11. Avatar KC (Keowyndrial) on March 19, 2021 at 10:01 pm

    You did a fantastic job – your capelet is beautiful, with exquisite details of the trim, rosettes, and textures. I would not be surprised to see it gracing an exhibit at the MET alongside those that inspired it.

  12. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 23, 2021 at 4:28 am

    Lovely color for the capelet. Quite pretty! Thank you!

  13. Avatar Anna Östman on March 27, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    Love that story – and your cape! Fifth time’s the charm!

  14. Avatar Lizzie Blake on April 1, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    Your trim is a beautiful finishing touch to this capelet! Good job sticking through to make it to your goal, even if things changed in the process 🙂

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