Cloth for cloaks
Today I bought two 4'x15' canvas dropcloths, and I'm in the process of dying them royal blue in my washing machine. I have a large capacity machine, and it does handle 10 yards of 48" fabric. I've put in five packets of Rit Dye (dissolved in hot water), a whole container of salt and a couple tablespoons of laundry detergent. This is a modification of the recipe given inside the box -- I hope it turns out all right.
The cloth has to stay in the dye bath for 30 minutes. Then after the final rinse, it must be washed again with laundry detergent. Then, I have to run the machine through a complete wash and rinse with laundry detergent and chlorine bleach. And even after all that, I think I'll make sure the next wash load is dark colored clothing.
I bought these dropcloths to sew into medieval cloaks. Keely's SCA group is hosting an event ("Shadow of the Wolf") in April, and I'm hoping to make a modest debut as a merchant there. I've been collecting things at the thrift shops that I hope look medieval enough that people will buy them -- brass candlesticks, metal plates, woven market baskets, non-plastic costume jewelry and so on. I also have some wool and linen fabric (important fabrics of the Middle Ages) that I've picked up here and there. Some of it is reclaimed wool that I got by ripping apart large, pleated wool skirts. Pleated skirts can contain an amazing amount of fabric.
|A French cloak from about 1580-1600, Wikipedia image.|
I think the SCA and their historic reenactments are something Dennis might get interested in after he retires. After all, it involves a couple of things he enjoys -- history and camping. When you go to these SCA events, you dress in your garb, do, watch or study medieval things, eat medieval food and camp in your tent. If I could make a small amount of money being a merchant, it might be fun to start going to some of the SCA events in this part of the country.