The Royal Cloaks

The following article was written by Master Bartolemeo at the start of the project. The cloaks were completed in time to be used for the coronatoin of Alfar and Elspeth, the first King and Queen of Lochac.

Background

When I first decided I would like to enter a design for the Ceremonial Cloaks, I started planning my design by looking at as many cloaks, copes and mantles from around the specified time period as I could get my hands on. Although most of the surviving examples were religious copes or mantles, interesting similarities between many of them started cropping up.

Most examples were:

In addition, some of them had a large feature design at the centre back, and sometimes this took the form of a decorative hood.

So keeping all of the above in mind, my design was motivated by two primary concerns:

  1. To create cloaks which would serve the required functions of ceremonial cloaks and ensure that the wearers were clearly identifiable as the King and Queen of Lochac
  2. To make cloaks which were beautiful and based on historical examples.

Secondary to this, as a keen embroiderer and a member of the Worshipful Company of Broiderers I also wanted to include significant elements of embroidery in the design. Practical considerations then entered the equation also, and I needed to consider how we could divide up the work into manageable elements, and just how much embroidery would be achievable.

I finally settled on a design that was based on two famous cloaks, The Mantle of Christ and The Syon Cope. Both contained elements that I have outlined above, the decorated front edge, the use of an interlocking pattern to divide up the main body of the cloaks etc.

Phase One

The first phase of the cloaks will be to create the bands that make up the long front edge for each cloak. This will be similar to the front edge of The Syon Cope, a series of squares with heraldic motifs. In our case the squares are approximately 15cm each and are alternating red and blue backgrounds. In the centre of each blue square will be an eight pointed star shaped badge bordered in white and denoting each of the Peerage Orders, repeating along the length of the cloak (Order of the Laurel, the Chivalry, Order of the Pelican). In between each of these, on the squares with the red backgrounds, will be blue eight pointed stars bordered in white with the badge of either the Crown (a white Laurel wreath with a white crown in the centre) or the Consort (a wreath of white roses).

Crown patternConsort design

The predominant background colours therefore become red, white and blue with the squares that contain the badges for the Crown or Consort being entirely red, white and blue to represent the Kingdom of Lochac. The badges that represent the Peerage Orders are predominantly green and gold, which has the dual purpose of representing our heritage as having been part of the Kingdom of the West.

Pelican patternLaurel patternKnight pattern

Phase Two

After or during (depending on progress and how many stitchers are available) other elements such as the Kingdom device for the back of each cloak will be constructed. The Kingdom devices will be primarily applique with fine detail picked out in split stitch etc. The Crown's device will sit over a pair of Laurel boughs, spreading outwards on either side of the device, and the Consort's on two boughs of white roses. These will also be done in applique and embroidery.

During Phase One and Two I will make the actual cloaks, apply the fabric bands for the curving hem, make the chest bands to hold the cloaks in place when worn etc. I would estimate that towards the end of Phase Two at the latest we should have all the squares for the front edges finished, so they can be joined and sewn in place on the cloaks.

Phase Three

By now the cloaks should be pretty much fully constructed. Elements such as the couched gold cord design for the curved hem of the cloaks, applying the braid trim and the Kingdom devices etc which can only be completed on the actual cloak itself will be finished off.

If time permits my plan also included pictorial representations of the Baronies of Lochac to be applied to the main body of the cloaks, and allowed room for other Baronies to be added as they are created. As this element is desirable but not really necessary to the design I intend to leave this towards the end of the process once we have a better idea of how we are progressing and how we are tracking against the deadline.

Conclusion

A lot of work? Yes! However I am confident we can do it.

I will send out the designs, linen canvas and silks to all volunteers and we can get cracking on the front edges soon. If you can, I would suggest maybe getting together with others that are near you once a week to have a stitching night. That would be encouraging, but would also help make sure that everyone is getting consistent results and helping each other out. Those of you who don't have the luxury of others nearby, get in touch with Mouse, Bess and myself and let us know how you are getting on.

Rowany and/or Politarchopolis stitchers who can get together with myself, Mouse and Bess, and therefore have access to the actual cloaks, could potentially help with the decorating of the hems, applying the Kingdom devices etc.

The finished cloakroyalcloak

 The finished cloaks were completed in time for the first Coronation in the Kingdom of Lochac, and have been used in the Kingdom since then.