Rectangular cloak

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This is the type of cloak worn by warriors in the Bayeux tapestry, and by various early period men and women. It is essentially a piece of rectangular wool that is pinned together to keep it on the body. Women and scholarly or elderly men generally wear full length (ie. to about the ankles) rectangles pinned at the neck with a pin or "penannular brooch". For very cold weather, a separate hood might be worn.

Warriors might wear shorter cloaks (just below the knees), pinned above their right hand shoulder to allow movement of their sword arm. This also works well for women trying to get stuff done.

A rectangular, belted cloak forms the early basis of the Scottish Great-Kilt. The women's Earisaid (pronounced "air-sitch" and spelt in a multitude of variations) is a good example of this and still worn in this fashion.

Cloaks Tips for the SCA

  • If you have an old blanket, then no sewing is required to make your cloak which has the advantage of being able to be used as a blanket again, especially on your bed at night during camping events. Many pictures show draped fabric rectangles with no kind of fastening. It'll fall off unless you sit or hold it in place, but I'm told by someone who wore a blanket for 3 days this way, that it works quite well.
  • If you do not have a period fastener then a nappy pin will work, but doesn't look very period - but can be hidden under the cloak.
  • If your cloak is too long, fold the top bit over as a sort of collar, then pin it.
  • This cloak has no hood, but you can pin it more loosely and drag a fold of the cloak up over your head as a hood.