Location: Calanais Nuadh, Calontir
Category/Level: Modern Recreationist/Intermediate
About Nest : I’ve played in the SCA since 2004. I am an accomplished seamstress, and should probably be judged fairly strongly in that department. I am trying to up my game at sewing, meaning smaller, almost invisible stitches. I am a complete novice at woodworking and leather working. I have taught numerous classes in sewing, beading, and basket weaving at shire meetings, events, Diamond Wars, Lilies, and Gulf Wars.
Her Project: A simple, hand-sewn t-tunic of linen (embellished with heraldic embroidery, if time allows), a cloak, and a leather ring pouch. (Three sewing entries). Also, a wooden break-down box to hide a modern cooler. I am 8th century, a keeper of a holy well in very rural Wales. These will *appear* to be period pieces, but include a few non-visible liberties such as pockets. (Welcome to the Modern middle ages!) The box will be a variation of a six-board box made of plywood, using modern (electric) tools. The variable is a seventh board as a shelf below the cooler. May also include heraldic device.
I made a ¾ circle cloak out of linen.
I started with 6 yards of 53” wide heavy linen that I had purchased from Carolina Calicoes many years ago. I pre-shrunk it by washing it in hot water and drying in a hot dryer. (I do this for every piece of fabric I sew.)
I purchased matching cotton embroidery thread to sew all the seams. I washed and pre-shrunk the embroidery thread, same as the fabric. I waxed the thread as I stitched to prevent fraying.
The two most common patterns I have found for these cloaks are three pieces, two cut on a fold and the third either attached whole to one side or the other, OR cut in half along the diagonal and each piece sewn on the bias to the selvage. Then a small circle cut out for the neck.
The first method puts the shoulders on the bias which will stretch and distort over time, so it is recommended to hang it for a couple of weeks to allow the stretch before trimming (if needed) and hemming the bottom.
The second method puts the selvage edge on the shoulders. The selvage on the shoulders prevents stretching, but since the center measure is equal from the neck down, if additional inches are not included in the center fold to accommodate the width of the shoulders, the cloak will be shorter on the sides.
As stated above, with the selvage on the shoulder, there is a neck-width gap in the front of the cloak. If needed, the cloak can be hiked with the selvages a bit forward of the shoulders which will allow the front edges of the cloak to meet in front.
I made mine with two pieces cut on the fold, then the other third folded and cut in half up the bias, then each half attached to the larger piece. To prevent stretching, the bias cut was sewn to the straight grain of the larger piece. This means the front edges are on the selvage and will not stretch.
I added a couple of inches of fabric to the fold (center back) to accommodate the width of the neck. I’m not sure if this made a difference or not. I think it would have been better to add enough to accommodate the entire length of the shoulders, but it’s too late to change it now.
I basted the front pieces to the main piece, using a flat-fell seam.
I ironed the seams flat then laid it out and cut the neckline.
I tried it on, and adjusted the neckline to what felt comfortable.
I rolled the hems of the front seams and the bottom hem, pinned and basted them.
The having basted all the seams first allowed me to try it on and make whatever adjustments were necessary (in this case, none). It also allowed me the freedom to do the final stitching without having to chase pins. (No pins makes it easily portable.)
I cut bias fabric strips to enclose the neckline. The ends extend to be ties.
The neck is whip-stitched, but the other seams are all running stitch.
whip-stitched neckline, and running-stitch on flat-fell seam and hems
I had planned for a fancier neck and front, then changed my mind and decided to make a Viking hood to wear over the cloak (which will cover the exposed chest) , and will put the trim in my heraldic colors that Ms. Esther bat Moshe wove for me years ago on the hood instead of on the cloak as originally planned. Since the hood is not part of the cloak I did not include it as part of this Challenge.
Since this cloak closes with ties at the collarbone, the front coverage can be variable, and there is no real way to prevent the front from blowing open. I have plenty of extra fabric and have chosen to put pockets inside the front at waist level to keep my hands warm and to help hold the cloak closed for warmth when needed. These pockets are not intended to carry things in, I have a belt pouch for that. They are deep enough to slip my fingers into, but I must ball my fist to fit the whole hands inside.
My intention is to waterproof it but have not decided what to use for that. yet. I have sufficient extra fabric to try various products, but these products require better ventilation than I have in my house so this must wait until spring to try them outdoors.
This is a wooden box to hold/hide a modern cooler. (See Document in “Additional Documents” section at the bottom of the page.