Page 1 of 1

A silly cloak question

Posted: Fri May 30, 2014 3:42 pm
by Bronzeadin
Hi all, this may be a silly question but I'm interested in making a cloak to go with my medieval kit. Can anyone give me and advice or instructions on how to make one?

Re: A silly cloak question

Posted: Fri May 30, 2014 3:59 pm
by Brother Ranulf
Not at all silly, but you need to be precise about the time period/social status and what materials you have available. The Earl of Essex in 1180 would wear a cloak of top quality wool lined with gris, ermine or vair and clasped with a ring-brooch of gilt bronze, while a carter of the same period would have a plain chape or hooded cloak of esclavine (very coarse wool).

Re: A silly cloak question

Posted: Fri May 30, 2014 4:03 pm
by Bronzeadin
Of course, sorry I forgot to add that part. I'm an archer, 14th century. I'm looking to make something quite plain.

Re: A silly cloak question

Posted: Fri May 30, 2014 9:29 pm
by Brother Ranulf
That's outside my own period of research - I guess the semi-circular cloak would be common at that time, but there were certainly other styles.

Try the Medieval Taylor's Assistant, beginning at page 173: ... istant.pdf

Maybe others on this forum can offer more advice.

Re: A silly cloak question

Posted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:26 pm
by Alice the Huswyf
Just don't put a hood on it. Hoods are a separate garment, for economic and practical reasons. Far warmer / dryer with a separate hood shoulder plate over the cloak.

One travelling version is a simple semi-circle cut from fabric, with a neck hole allowed in the top edge. Sometimes with two or three buttons at the neck so that it can be worn in travel with the buttons worn over the shoulder to cover the body but leave an arm free - other edge can then be thrown over the other shoulder for activity

Pre-shrink your fabric before cutting out - especially if a top weather layer in wool.

Don't line it - if a soft wool, overcast the edges down. If a felted wool, the cut edges won't fray.

Also avoid the modern romantic obsession with length: even if not floor length, allow for bending over - your hem will touch the ground and wick up moisture at a shorter length than you would assume. Length = inactivity = status. The same goes for bulk of fabric - a half-circle does more than you would suspect. I have cut half circles from a length of fabric and used the corners to add in to make a 3/4 cloak, but in fact mantles and cloaks were cut from a fabric sheet built with strips of fabric. It is more effective to use the corners to make a hood with shoulder plates. (If no one to swap with and don't want to be matchy-matchy and are intending to dye - dye it before making up to avoid shrinkage)

Have a look at Dorothy Hartley's "How to recreate medieval costume" an older book (but surprisingly contemporary in quality due to excellent practical research and garment testing). Even if she's covering an earlier period than yours, you will see how practical working garments developed and why.

Re: A silly cloak question

Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:22 pm
by Bronzeadin
Fantastic! Many thanks for the replies and advice guys. Really appreciate it.

Re: A silly cloak question

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:45 pm
by guthrie
There are drawings online of a 14th century cloak found on a bog body in Denmark: ... kclok.html

You can also have a look at period manuscripts and see what size and shape the cloaks are potrayed as in them. Lots of them have been digitised by the British library, the Bodleian etc.