"...Nellie asked, 'Don't you wish you had a fur cape, Laura? But your Pa couldn't buy you one. Your Pa's not a store keeper.'"
But on Christmas at the church...
Laura was too excited to speak. She squeezed Mary's hand tighter and tighter, and she looked up at Ma, wanting so much to know what that was. Ma smiled down at her and answered, 'That is a Christmas tree, girls. Do you think it is pretty?'...
...Just then, Laura saw the most wonderful thing of all. From a far branch of that tree hung a little fur cape, and a muff to match!...
The little fur cape and muff still hung on the tree, and Laura wanted them. She wanted to look at them as long as she could. She wanted to know who got them. They could not be for Nellie Oleson, who already had a fur cape...
...And suddenly someone said, 'These are for you, Laura.' Mrs. Tower stood smiling, holding out the little fur cape and muff...
...Laura could not speak. The golden-brown fur cuddled her neck and softly hugged her shoulders.
"'Merry Christmas, Nellie,' Laura said. Nellie stared, while Laura walked quietly on, with her hands snuggled deep in the soft muff. Her cape was prettier than Nellie's, and Nellie had no muff."
from On The Banks of Plum Creek
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
When we read that part a couple of months ago, Chloe's eyes were shining as she said, "Oh, I bet they were so beautiful." When she opened these, she knew exactly what they were: "It's a fur cape! And a muff! Just like Laura's!"
Details on the cape and muff:
I used a pattern for the cape: McCalls 4703. It was terribly easy, just about anyone could do it. I lined the fur with a matching satin on the inside so it's nice and soft and not itchy around her neck. Fur is - of course - misery to sew on. But worth it. I never did get my machine to make the buttonhole through like five layers of fur - I just made it by hand.
The muff I didn't use a pattern for. It's just two rectangles sewn facing one another then turned so it's fully lined with fur. I did put in a satin ribbon so that it will hang for her neck - because little girls tend to forget they're wearing such things and muffs and pull their hands right out. With the ribbon, it'll stay put even when her hands don't.
This whole project cost about $15 between the fur, satin (30% off), and pattern ($1 pattern sale.) With my goal for not giving my kids a bunch of plastic toys made in China this year for Christmas, homemade things fit right in. The fur is American made, and so is the pattern. I couldn't find any info on the bolt for the satin, but even if it's not American, two out of three isn't bad. Overall, a wonderful little project.
And now I get to be the mother of the little girl who goes to the grocery store wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a fur cape and muff. Because we Miller girls are fashion-forward like that.