Friday, November 15, 2013

How to wear a cloak


Conas a chaitheamh bhrat

This could easily be titled how to wear a wool blanket, or how to wrap up in a blanket. With some of my interests being Celtic Iron Age reenactment, and Bushcraft I put some consideration into the thought that not everyone might have the knowledge on how to wear the various styles and why they were/are worn. Below you will find picture by picture as a step by sep how-to explaining the process. There is no right or wrong way, only personal preference. You may wear yours differently and that is fine. Though in wearing a brooch or a fibulae which shoulder you wear it on does denote ones culture. Also too, you never want the pin to be pointing towards you for safety reasons. Always have the point pointing away from you. 

   The blanket I used for this example was a 80%wool- 20% synthetic Harbor Freight wool blanket. They are very smelly out of the package almost like some type of fuel. I washed it with a nice soap as the online description says they are machine washable. I did a second rinse, and air dried it on the line for two days. It was rather linty with some tufts that came off when I shook it out. I smudged it real well with sagebrush and let it sit out for a few more hours after that. There was no smell, it was soft and for the price of $10.00 it cant be beat for a house/car blanket or something for reenactment. The size is 60"x80"  Lets get to the pictures.



 We see a very simple style of the cloak. With the left being folder over and the right flap coming across on top to be fastened at the left shoulder. This was a very common way the Celts wore their cloaks.



This is the same as above only that the front material is thrown over the shoulder to allow more freedom of movement.


Hoods were not common to the Celtic culture as they were simply not needed as this style shows one would just pull the fabric up around their head allowing the heat to stay in, and the bad weather to stay out.


Here we see that the blanket or fabric is folded over into a third. 

 By folding the blanket over into a third and then fastening the brooch one created a double layer of fabric around the body, and a quadrupled layer over the chest. This allows for extra warmth keeping the bodies core temperature controlled in very cold and windy climates. Note the arms are still free to move. 

This shows the same style from the side. 

Again, this image shows the same style. I am lifting up a double layer to show that the two create a quadruple layer over the neck, heart, lungs and core of the body. 


I have readjusted the fabric as you can see near o my neck to all this double layer to be worn down as shown, or up in a hood in the following picture.


Double layer acting as extra protection over the head as a hood.



As you can see I have sewn two loops of 550 7-strand paracord to my blanket


 I pull the blanket over my head meeting my nose. Notice the position of the paracord loops. 

I wrapped the blanket around me with my right hand brining the fabric to my left side and the left side of the fabric covering that. I belted it with a wool tablet woven belt on my upper hips which allows for my fabric to be around my chest. One could the same over the pant line if they so wished. 

I tied the paracord and am wearing it in the down fashion. 

Notice that this style allows for pockets. Very handy!

This is the same style just with the fabric pulled up. You don't even need to untie anything.



You can take the top down to cool off and regulate your bodies temperature. 



If you are wearing it down, you can take the side corners and tuck them up and in to create pockets. People who wear the Great Kilt know how this is done already. 

With the hood up just like in image #15 notice how "robe style" this looks. A possible insight into weather or not the Druids actually wore robes? 



Here you can see that I have the blanket folded completely in half  showing the paracord loops.



With the fabric folded completely in half, the paracord loops are on the inside flap closest to my rear end. This is important for the next step.

I have tied the inner flap like a belt creating a powder skirt. If you have a winter Gore-tex parka you will likely have one on the inside of your coat made from elastic with a snap. By tying this inner flap down, it prevents up drafts of cold air and keeps you warmer. 




With the blanket still folded in half (not tied) pull up both layers on top of your head as shown. Notice the paracord in my hands which is the bottom layer, now on top of my head.

Take the paracord loops and slowly pull back the top layer from your head bringing it all the way down.

Now that you have dropped that top layer, you have one for a hood and a layer on the bottom (which has the paracord loops) you can if you wish tie them to create the powder skirt.

This is a better picture showing the bottom layer tied off and the hood up. 

This is what it looks like with the hood up, bottom layer tied off and your hands free to move about. 






Here are some images of me in Celtic reenactment garb. Notice my Brat (cloak) and how it is worn. 









3 comments:

Elizabeth Regalado said...

That is great information, thank for putting this together. Matt, Clan MacDonald

Hans Johansson said...

I like the idea of the cloak but I also use a backpack, do you have any good way to wear a cloak/brat with a backpack?

Juell Gibson Jr said...

I believe I saw the "robe style" demonstrated on YouTube as a civil war Era match coat, only pinned rather than tied at the neck/chest. It wa reportedly worn over all gear.