Making a Cloak with Curtains

Hello everyone!

I’ve been lurking here for a while now, but it’s time for my first post!
I’ve recently purchased a set of brown curtains from a charity shop to make a cloak with, they’re quite big, and lined with white fabric.
Will this be okay to make a nice, Navarri cloak with? Without freezing to death in the cold… I’m not sure whether I should experiment and try to make one, or whether I should buy one online (although I’m a broke student and can’t really afford to spend £50+ on a cloak right now…).
I’d love to hear how you made your cloaks (especially if you made yours from a set of curtains!), or where you bought them from! Every little bit of help will be so… well, helpful! Haha.

I’m so excited to go to Empire as it will be my first LARP, and wow, I just can’t wait for the Winter Solstice!

Thanks everyone!

https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Costume_advice has a link to a cloak on there (it says for children but you can upsize!). You may need to sew a couple of bits of fabric together to make it long enough.

Cloaks ideally need to be two things, warm and waterproof. In the dry, a curtain-cloak world be fine, as it will help keep you warm in cold nights. In the wet though, it will soak up the rain and become heavy and sap the warmth from you.

If you do have a non-waterproof cloak make sure you have a waterproof layer on so your core doesn’t get wet (this is the method I use with my orange coat, I wear a waterproof jacket and trousers hidden underneath my IC layers. My coat can get as wet as it likes but I am still dry underneath).

Another tip: wash your curtains before you use them. Curtain dyes often run and you don’t want to discover they dye the rest of your kit in the rain. They also might shrink, best get that out the way before you cut anything to the right size.

In general, charity shop curtains are a fantastic source of cheap(ish) fabric and lots of my kit for a variety of characters has been made from them. Just be mindful of the properties of the fabric you are buying and make something that suits those properties.

1 Like

Welcome to the forums, theblankrogue!

LauraH, as usual, is full of good advice.

What sort of fabric are the curtains? Have you tried soaking the fabric and seeing how heavy it feels? I can suggest grabbing some spray-on waterproofing from a camping shop, and using it liberally (Test on a spare piece of fabric first to check it).

If I was making a cloak*, I’d be going for a large semi-circle of fabric (aiming for your head mid-way along the flat edge), and a couple of triangles sewn together and attached there to make a hood. With a purchased clasp, or even a sewn on leather buckle, to hold it together.

As for making it look Navarr… I’m no expert but I’d suggest that the cheapest method might be some fabric paint for a bramble design around the edge, or a simple leaf pattern stencil in greens and browns and greys. Note: Not modern camo patterns, and not tartan. Oh, and if you can make that white lining into off-white, or colour it something dull, that’d probably be good.

Cloaked and camoflagued Navarr… your enemies won’t be able to find you in the woods, and neither will your friends…

*Actually, if I was making a cloak, I’d ask the costumiers and costume makers here for advice first…

2 Likes

take a look for some washing machine waterproofers. the spray ones may need topping up after each event.

Awesome, thank you all for your tips!
I’ve been thinking about it over the past day or so, and decided that I’ll probably use the curtains for things like leg/arm wraps and the like (if you have any other suggestions on things to make, they’d be greatly appreciated).
In terms of the cloak, I’ve been looking into getting a big wool army blanket (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Genuine-Officer-Barrack-Blanket-Superb/dp/B00VV7LUCS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1515843210&sr=8-3&keywords=thick+wool+blanket) which is roughly the right measurements to make a cloak using a pattern I recently bought (cloak C from Simplicity 1582 A).

I’m pretty sure this would be waterproof, although would it be worth lining it with some waterproof material as well?

I really appreciate everyone’s help so far, I hope you’re all having a great week!

Army blankets are drizzle proof because it’s slightly felted wool. if it tips it down the water will get through, the benefit to wool is even soaked it still traps heat and keeps the wind out. (the whole camp does then smell of wet dog!)

It’s probably better to look into getting a thin waterproof jacket you can wear under your top costume layers, as I suspect that will cost less and more useful than finding waterproof fabric to line your cloak.

Spraying the shoulders with waterproofing fabric spray does help it survive a bit longer in a downpour, but you’ll need to renew it if the cloak does get soaked.

Do note if it absolutely tips it down and is cold then everyone just retreats to their tent or a nearby group roof and wait it out. Most bad wet weather has lulls in it when you can move around and only get damp. Being warm is actually more important as it will definitely get cold.

2 Likes

in regards to the actual making, this is how i made mine.

the downside is you’re limited to length by the width of your fabric!

1 Like