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Circular Cloaks
These are the oldest form of cloaks, they are basically wraps. Very little cutting involved and often they can be done without any sewing at all. So remembering that the whole point is to wrap yourself if you had a large peice of cloth like a blanket and wraped your self in it that is a very basic cloak. It is a little bulky and the corners may drag on the floor were you'll step on them. So we will want to cut the corners off, now the simplest way to do that is to make it a . . .

Semi-circular cloaks
If take a semi-circle and divide te strait edge in half, then place the edges side by each with the center point at the vertex, you will make a cone. But we are not shaped like cones, so do not exspect to be completly covered by your semi-circular cloak. There similar geometrical probleems with full-circle cloaks. A conic construction will work fine frome the shoulders, but between the shoulders we are rectangular. So when you are cutting your full-circle cloak think of it as having three parts together. a rectangular middle part as wide as the top of your shoulders and as long as the disttance from the floor over your shoulder near your neck and down again to the floor. Then on iether side a semi-circle with a radius of the distance from the top of your shoulder to the floor. Giving you a slightly oval shape which will fit you.

One problem you will always have with semi-circular cloaks is they will not stay on the shoulders. You can't just throw it on and run out the door you will need a cloak pin. Cloak pins are very cool and sexy, I have several very nice ones and I hardly ever wear them because the bigger cloaks don't require them. However when you wear a semi-circular cloak you will need a cloak pin of some kind. The cloak will also bunches up against your neck so you might try it and if it bothers you cut a neck "hole" or half circle in the middle of the straight edge, but I wouldn't do that I find it's not bothersom. Now when you wear this cloak it will want to be worn sideways, so kindof covers one arm and leaves the other exposed. The pine will want to sit on the front of a shoulder. Don't fight it that is just how they fit best on the human body. If you want the opening to hang down the front you'll need to think about making a . . .

Three-quarter-circle cloaks
Now this is a cloak to make that will stay on the shoulders, with or without a pin. Uses more fabric than a semi-circle

This particular cut to the right here is a good cut, often called a MANTEL it's like the pattern on the left but the right angle bits at the front of the neck are cut off. This gives it an easier flow and smoother lines. It can also fit anyone and hase a nicer line which was favorable in the 12th to 14th centuries.

Though this will use almost as much fabric as a full circle cloak, and you may want to go the extra effort to do that instead.

Full-circle cloaks
As the name implies this is a full circle of fabric with a hole in the middle for your head/neck. And with this one ther should be no problem keeping it on your shoulders. If you have any problem it will be carrying the thing around as it will be a lot of fabric and if mad of heavy fabric it will be heavy to carry. However when you wear it the weight will be spread out more and you will notice the weight less. But it will look stuningly beautifule this cloak it is most important that you not cut the final hem intil after it has hung for a while the heavier the fabric the longer you should hang it this purly round pattern is best used for shorter cloaks the look of the hem will not be strait it will curv up because the sides are pulled by the shoulders giving a curve upward look to the hem when viewed from the front and back.

This is what the pattern ends up looking like when you cut the hem of a full length circle cloak at the floor, it forms an elips. this will compensate for the rectangularness of your shoulders. Becuse we are not built like cones nor like balls As your cloak gets longer and you make it with lots of fabric and hem it after hanging the shape end When you have done the hem of the cloak it will endup being an elipsoid shape. The two small addithion symbols indicat teh peeks of the shoulders and act rather like the vertixies of the elipse

When you consider the shap of the wearer we have a rectangular part between the shoulder and semi-circular parts off of each shoulder. So when cutting out you may want to try this. Think of the pattern as a pair of half-circle radiating from two centerpoints, which just happen to be the points of your shoulders. Then between these half-circles of the pattern in sert a long thin rectangular peice as wide as the distance from the points of the shoulders. this rectangular part is were your head hole will be and If you get fabric of the rigt size you may be able to make this huge peice of fabric simply by sewing tthe salvage together for only the back then the edges of the opening will be salvage and the back seam will be the only seam you will need to sew, unless you want a hood too.

As for howmuch fabric you'll need for this kind of full-circle cloak it would be best to measure from the floor up your front, over your shoulder near your neck and then back down to the floor then buy twice that and only if you know that it is wide enough otherwise you'll need more

Go on to Gores

You can make a spectacular cloak with a full circle or more of gores. and if you want the most spectacular cloak in the world you could go with a gathered gored claok, make a big arch of gores and line it and gather it to a collar and if you like put on a sholder cape or two or five.

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2006 March 28