More about Cloak Construction

In addition to keeping you warm, Cloak & Dagger cloaks and capes can bring a sense of mystery and drama into your life.

CLOAKS SHAPES AND STYLING

Cloak & Dagger Cloaks can be made as full circles (if you were to lay the cloak flat it would form a single complete circle), as ¾ circles, as ½ circles or shaped with shoulder seams. To give some basis for fullness comparison, a 54″ long full circle cloak would measure nearly 30 feet around the hem. Similar length ¾ circles measure 270”.   Our fuller ½ circles measure 200″ – 280″ and shaped shoulder cloaks will also measure around 200″ – 250″ around  the hem. We can also make a true ½ circle, which won’t close at the front (think Game of Thrones), as well as a coronation style cloak, which is a long rectangle (sometimes with rounded corners) that trails on the ground.

Due to concerns about nap – the directionality of the fabrics – the ¾ circle style requires as much fabric as a full circle, so the cost is the same.

We have developed a more full version of the ½ circle cloak that works better with napped fabric – it has pleats over the shoulders and a center back seam and closes easily in the front.

We also make a version of a full circle cloak called a ruana that is shorter over the arms to reduce weight and to allow easier arm movement. It is possible to drive wearing a ruana but not at all advisable to drive a car while wearing a standard full circle, full length cloak.  For more warmth and coverage while driving, we make the highwayman and coachman cloaks.  These are 2 layer cloaks: the inner layer has arm holes that are covered by a fingertip length overcloak.  The highwayman has a hood; the coachman has a collar.

The basic Cloak & Dagger cloak or cape comes with a full gathered hood, head shaped and big enough to hide in. Cloaks and capes can be constructed with a slightly pointed hood. It tends to look a bit more medieval or elfin. As an alternative to the standard hood, we also offer a liripipe hood, which was common in the 14th century. The liripipe is a thin tube of fabric extending off the back of the hood, about a yard long. It was used as a purse, as a weapon, or as a scarf to keep out the cold.

We can make cloaks and capes with collars instead of,  or in addition to hoods. Collars can be simple bands (military, mandarin, etc), pointed like a standard collar, or with a curved collar for a colonial replica.

To find the back length you will want, decide where you want the bottom of the cloak or cape to fall (we suggest a floor clearance of at least 6″). Then have a friend measure to this point from the base of your neck both straight down your back and measure from the center of your back out over your shoulder to the same distance above the ground. We’ll also need a neck measurement to size it properly. Here’s link to our measurements guidelines.

FABRICS

We usually make winter cloaks and capes from wool or PolarFleece (from Malden Mill) because both are warm, durable, and available in a range of colors. The heavy coat-weight wool is usually a melton, a type of felted wool that is soft, very warm, and must be dry-cleaned. We also stock mid and lightweight wools for warmer climates and indoor wear. Click here for our fabric glossary. Polar Fleece can be machine-washed and tumble-dried. The windblocking Polar Fleece cloaks can be made reversible, as the material is finished on both sides. One side will be water-repellent, while the other (usually the inside) is water-absorbent, and is sometimes a contrasting color. We also have heavy weight Windpro polar fleece and some lighter fleeces.

Other fabrics can be used to make cloaks and capes, as long as they aren’t stretchy, and we’ve adapted a few stretchy ones as well. Summer weight cloaks and capes can be made from wide cotton, rayon, linen, or polyester-blend fabric. We’ve also used specialty fabrics such as water-resistant polyester micro-fiber, and wool/cotton/polyurethane or vinyl raincoat fabric. Full circle cloaks require material that is at least 6″ wider than the desired back length, generally 50 to 60 inches. Cloaks and capes with longer lengths, over 54″, may be constructed using an additional length of fabric, and the additional labor and fabric will increase the cost of the cloak or cape by 30 to 50%.

LINING

Cloak & Dagger cloaks and capes are normally lined only in the hood. For hood linings, we use cotton velvet, silk/rayon, or acetate/rayon velvet, crushed velvet, and occasionally cottons or other interesting fabrics. These fabrics tend to slip less than shiny materials like satins, and help the hood stay on your head. If the body is lined at all, it is partial, either lined over the shoulders for those with wool allergies, or faced with an interesting fabric along the inside of the front, usually matching the hood. We will not completely line full length full circle cloaks.

Full circle cloaks are normally left unlined in the body, but lined in the hood area, partially to improve wearability, and partially due to weight and cost considerations. A full circle cloak does not have shaped shoulders, so the only thing holding it in place is friction. If it is lined with something shiny, the full circle cloak will slide around, and may drag on your neck. We do sometimes line shaped shoulder cloaks, since those are fitted to the shoulders and will stay in place better, but we still discourage a really shiny lining because some slippage will make the cloak difficult to wear during any activity.

A lining made from a fabric different than the cloak will also stretch at a different rate than the outer fabric (generally faster for most linings), which means the only sure way of having the lining not show is to make the lining shorter and unattached to allow room for stretching. Many long coats are lined in this manner. A full lining layer can increase the weight significantly too – rather than a 7 to 10 lb. cloak, you may have a 14 to 20 lb. cloak.
Last but not least, the two layers could generate static electricity in dry winter climates as they slide back and forth.  For those reasons, our cloaks and capes are normally lined only in the hood.

CLOAK COLORS AND COSTS

We try to stock reasonably priced wools and other fabrics, buying directly from the mill when possible. We’ve got a number of colors, textures, and weights of wool in stock, as well as other fabrics like fleece. Please email or call if you have a question about what is available.

The cost of our cloaks and capes varies with the cost of the fabric and details. As an example, a full circle cloak with a 56″ back length requires 7 yards of 60-inch wool: if we use $10 per yard fabric, the cloak will cost around $169 plus the cost of the clasp. Because ½ circle capes require less fabric, they cost somewhat less. Child size half-circle capes can start as low as $49.

Please check the currently available list of items all made up and ready to ship for price examples.

We try to keep heavy black wool in stock, but this is becoming more and more difficult. We also try to keep a number of shades of green available, from hunter/forest through olive, as well as greys, blues, reds, browns, and purples.
We usually have some WindPro and Windbloc Polar Fleece in stock, but the colors we have available will vary. Please call for currently available colors.

If we have to search for a specific color that we don’t normally have in stock, the price increases by the amount of the added fabric cost. For specific colors, we gladly accept color samples (fabric, paint, crayon, whatever).

Arm Slits

Arm slits are not necessary on full circle cloaks – the cloak is so full that you can bring your arms out beneath the hem and it will stay closed. Most folk don’t find that they need slits on ¾ circles, but they may make close-fitting ½ circle or shaped shoulder cloaks more wearable. They will also let in the cold when not in use.  We will add arm slits if requested, please call for an estimate.

Details

Details can increase the cost of your cloak or cape, but they also personalize it. Because every cloak or cape is hand-made, personal details give you a special, one-of-a-kind garment. The most common accents are:

Cloak Clasps

Cloak clasps are priced as a separate option due to the wide range of possibilities available. Our usual cloak closure is a small metal clasp. Other options include larger, more ornate metal clasps, pennanular pins, and loop and button combinations with either metal or wooden buttons. Please note that completely reversible double-layer cloaks need to have loop and button closures for a closure to be accessible from both sides.

Trims

Cloaks and capes can be trimmed – just tell us what you’d like – ribbon, gilt, embroidered trim, or fur. (We prefer working with fake fur.) We can also applique crests, shields, coat-of-arms or other designs.

Applique

Cloaks and capes can also be appliqued. For examples, see our Gallery section

CLOAK ORDERING

Please contact us if time is critical – standard shipping is US Postal Service which is *NOT* time guaranteed.
We can ship via Express Mail, FedEx or UPS Express if requested.

NOTE: Please remember that colors you see on the screen are not reliable. Even when we managed to get the digital colors to match the real world colors on our computer (sometimes we couldn’t) that’s no guarantee that they will look the same on your monitor. When in doubt about the color, trust our descriptions first – if still in doubt, ask.

Most cloaks and capes can be hemmed to the appropriate length (unless the garment is already finished and trimmed). All cloaks have hoods unless otherwise specified. All cloaks are unisex. Our female models range between 5 feet 3 inches  and  5 feet 6 inches tall. Some of the smaller cloaks, those with small neck sizes, are suitable for young adults/children. To learn about the fabrics we use, and to figure out if they are warm enough for winter in your area, please contact us. You can also visit our fabric glossary and these retail sites.

All Cloaks are designed, cut and sewn in Massachusetts, USA!

For any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

FITTING THE CLOAK TO YOUR NEEDS

These items are hand made, and one of a kind. It may be possible to make an item similar to another one you see.

If you were looking for a particular item and don’t see the one you want, call us.

We are working on new items all the time and may have what you’re looking for already in process.

NOTE: Please remember that colors you see on the screen are not reliable. Even when we managed to get the digital colors to match the real world colors on our computer (sometimes we couldn’t) that’s no guarantee that they will look the same on your monitor. When in doubt about the color, trust our descriptions first – if still in doubt, ask.

Sizing: To fit properly, the neck measurement of the cloak should be 5″ larger than the measurement of your neck. Neck size is the first number on a man’s dress shirt size or you can measure. To find your correct neck measurement, hold the tape flat against your neck where it can be vertical or standing on edge, with 1 finger inside the tape measure to hold it in place while you get the number. If you don’t have a tape measure, you can also measure with a string or a long strip of paper, then compare the string to a ruler.

For Length, the cloaks are measured from the back of the neck to the hem, so as a quick approximation of the maximum length you should wear, take your height in inches, subtract 12 for your head and neck, and 4 more for the minimum distance off the floor. So for someone 5’10”, you start with 70″, subtract 12″ to get 58″, and then 4″ more to get 54″ as maximum length, and 52″ as a more practical length.

SEASONS: How warm or cold you run varies with the person, but we give seasons as a general guideline since most customers can’t visit to try things on for themselves. The most appropriate season is listed first, so a cloak with “Winter” listed as the first season would not be a good choice for an indoor or summer event. When we say winter, we’re talking about a cloak that is decently warm at 20 to 39 degrees Farhenheit and winds of 20 -25 MPH with light layers underneath – average New England winter. If it says just “Winter”, it is a very warm garment not really suitable at temperatures above 49F. Southern Winter is often a cloak with less wind resistance and a bit thinner fabric which might be good at 30 to 49F and 10 to 15 MPH wind. We consider Fall and Spring to be 40 to 60F, with Summer as 60F and above for temperature, roughly the same as indoors.

WE CAN SHORTEN ANY CLOAK & DAGGER CLOAK, we can change clasps and we can add trim, (however this can affect whether the cloak can be returned for full value)

Cloaks ordered before 5 pm can usually be shipped on the next business day, but this is not guaranteed. If time is a factor, please contact us for shipping concerns. We will quote and ship via Express Mail or other premium service if requested.

Subject To Prior Sale:

All of our Cloak & Dagger Cloaks are one of a kind items and are subject to prior sale. We try to make every effort to remove items from the web as as they are sold. However, occasionally something may get overlooked. If this happens we will either duplicate the item, substitute with another item of your choosing or give you a full refund.

Washing instructions: (unless otherwise noted)

All non-wool items are pre-washed and machine washable on gentle cycle, hang to dry

All wool and velvet items are dry clean only (unless specified otherwise)

CUSTOM ORDERS ~ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can you make a  ________________  cloak? How much is it going to cost?

Making a cloak is not as simple as sewing a hood to a big ol’ piece of fabric. There are a lot of factors to decide upon before we get started and it is best for you to have given some thought to those decisions before you contact us. In order for us to give you an estimate the first time you contact us, try to have some of the following information ready:

  • Style of cloak (Full circle, fuller 1/2 circle, 1/2 circle, shaped shoulder, Ruana, based on a movie/video game/comic character, etc.)
  • Length (short, mid, long)
  • Color schemes (cloak material vs. hood lining, etc.)
  • Fabrics you’re considering or what you’d like your fabric to be like
  • Where, when and how often you intend to wear the cloak (indoor/outdoor, summer/winter, everyday use/special occasion use, the climate of your area, etc.)
  • Your measurements (if you do not have accurate measurements at your fingertips, telling us your height and weight gives us a decent idea of what size the cloak should be)
  • Optional details such as clasps, trims, appliques, and other personal customizations
  • When you need the cloak and where you live (so we can factor shipping and/or rush ordering into the cost as well)

All of these pieces of information greatly affect our recommendations and in order for us to give you the most appropriate suggestions and estimates, it is is best for us to have as much information as possible.

Is it seriously going to cost THAT MUCH?!  Can’t you do it cheaper?!

Please do not be surprised if our quotes total out in the range of $200+, possibly more depending on what you’ve requested. The current price range on our available cloaks page runs all the way from $49 to $400, depending on size, materials and finishing details.   Custom cloaks requiring custom embroidery, elaborate trimming, cashmere,  faux fur or other luxe materials can run upwards of $1200.

Everything we make is one of a kind, individually designed and sewn. The more details you add, the more time-consuming the project becomes and thus raises the cost. We have skilled and dedicated workers to compensate for completing your cloak, as well as covering the cost of the materials and all the other factors that go into making a garment.  So, if you are making a serious inquiry about a custom cloak, please try to be prepared rather than shocked by the potential price.

On the other hand, if you really want a one-time use garment for the school play and promise not to show anyone the seams, let us know that up front and we will try to work with your needs.

Can you make an inexpensive cloak?

The question of cost relies heavily on the design and specifications for the individual cloak we are discussing.  We may find ways to cut the cost by substituting fabricss or  finishings. However there are certain factors like labor and certain materials that will have a fixed cost no matter what cloak we are talking about.

Can you make a cloak for all seasons?

We would say no, but we also suppose that initially this depends on your definition of “all seasons”. There is no fabric that will be just as comfortable in the Sahara Desert as it will be in Siberia. The closest we could come is to make a lightweight wool cloak that would be approriate for the summer, but you would need to layer your clothing VERY heavily under it during the winter.

Can you make a cloak like (insert character’s name here) wears in (insert movie/book/tv show/comic book/graphic novel/etc.)?

There’s a pretty good chance we can do that for you. However, when you request a cloak based on a fictional character, please try to include pictures or links to pictures, just in case we aren’t familiar with who or what you are talking about. Since we spend a lot of time sewing, taking care of our families  and other activities, we’re not always pop-culture authorities. However, we have plenty of experience with “Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars”. Please check out our Jedi Robe FAQ for more information.

Can you make children’s cloaks?

We don’t usually label cloaks as child or adult, since there can be a progression, with adults wanting a short cloak, or a child insisting on ground length.  So the best way to gauge short cloaks is by the neck size.   Also, labelling a garment as intended for children calls several very restrictive laws into effect

I see that you often use wool. Are there other fabrics I can request?

Other fabrics can be used to make cloaks, as long as they aren’t too stretchy. We often use a washable cotton velvet. We can’t do a true ¾ circle using velvet because it has a pronounced nap – it is a directional fabric and a ¾ circle involves turning one piece of the fabric relative to the others.   We use a more full version of the ½ circle that has pleats over the shoulders, a center back seam and closes over the front. Summer weight cloaks can be made from wide cotton, rayon, linen, or polyester-blend fabric. We’ve also used specialty fabrics such as water-resistant polyester micro-fiber, and wool/cotton/polyurethane or vinyl raincoat fabric. Full circle cloaks require material that is as wide as the desired back length, generally 50 to 60 inches, or they must be pieced and will require much more fabric. Cloaks with lengths longer than the fabric width may be constructed using additional lengths of fabric, and the additional labor and fabric will increase the cost of the cloak by 30 to 50%.

Why don’t you line your cloaks?

Full circle cloaks are normally left unlined in the body, but lined in the hood area, partially to improve wearability, and partially due to weight and cost considerations. A full circle cloak does not have shaped shoulders, so the only thing holding it in place is friction. If it is lined with something shiny, the full circle cloak will slide around, and may drag on your neck. We do sometimes line shaped shoulder cloaks, since those are fitted to the shoulders and will stay in place better, but we still discourage a really shiny lining because some slippage will make the cloak difficult to wear during any activity.

A lining made from a fabric different than the cloak will also stretch at a different rate than the outer fabric (generally faster for most linings), which means the only sure way of having the lining not show is to make the lining shorter and unattached to allow room for stretching. Many long coats are lined in this manner. In addition,  full lining layer will increase the weight significantly too – rather than a 7 to 10 lb. cloak, you may have a 14 to 20 lb. cloak.

Last but not least, the two layers could generate static electricity in dry winter climates as they slide back and forth.

How do I measure for a cloak?

To find the length you will want, decide where you want the bottom of the cloak to fall (we suggest a floor clearance of at least 6″). Then have a friend measure to this point from the base of your neck both straight down your back and measure from the center of your back out over your shoulder to the same distance above the ground. We’ll also need a neck measurement to size it properly.

Check out the Measurements page for more details/

Why not floor length or 1-2″ off the ground?

Two reasons: real life and physics. Firstly, in your real life you are bound to encounter a variety of nature-induced woes, such as snow, mud, puddles, and uneven ground. And when your wet/muddy/snowy cloak starts slapping against the back of your legs and drenches your pants/dress/etc., you will be frowning. And when you step on your cloak and trip, you’ll be even more distraught. As for physics, when you have two parallel lines next to each other, they have the highest apex. As they start to drift apart, the apex gets lower to the ground. What does this have to do with my cloak?, you ask. Well, the point is your legs are the parallel lines and as you walk, your height fluctuates. So again, the longer the cloak, the more potential there is for you to trip. And last but not least, the more fabric your cloak is made out of, the heavier it will be.

Cutting 4″ off a cloak can change the weight by a pound or so. So, since we don’t want your back to break, your legs to get wet/muddy/snowy, or for you to trip and fall down while you’re wearing your cloak, we recommend the 6″ floor clearance.

How do you handle payments for custom work?

We need a deposit to start work, usually ½ depending on the fabric vs labor costs and your deadline. You can order one piece at a time and the backlog for non-rush orders is generally 8-12 weeks. (rush orders are subject to a surcharge) We take: personal checks, money orders, Paypal, MC, VISA, AMEX, Discover.

Why is there such a long wait?

First, we already have custom orders we are currently working on. And since we want your cloak to be exactly the way you want it, we like to have the time to send samples to you (via snail mail), and if you don’t like the samples we have on hand, we also want to have the time to acquire the proper fabrics. However, any given time during the year, our schedule may be different, so you can always call us to check.

Have a question we did not answer here?

You are always welcome to contact us directly.

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