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Polyester Cloak...for vikings.

Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:51 pm
by RyanA
It goes without saying that polyester is evil incarnate for authenticity, but....can you tell the difference between this and linen in appearance and feel?
What are your opinions on this?

Get wool or get lost?

Let the discussion begin! :rock:

Re: Polyester Cloak...for vikings.

Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:46 am
by Gullinbursti
Who would buy a linen cloak?
That makes no sence. If it is too warm
for a wool cloak then you donĀ“t need a cloak.

Re: Polyester Cloak...for vikings.

Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 6:57 am
by Neil of Ormsheim
A wool cloak 'might' be lined with linen but two layers of wool are better than one. Avoid the polyester as if it carried plague!

Re: Polyester Cloak...for vikings.

Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:21 am
by Medicus Matt
Apart from the obvious point (yes, you can tell the difference), you'd be a colossal fire hazard.

Re: Polyester Cloak...for vikings.

Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:13 am
by RyanA
Medicus Matt wrote:Apart from the obvious point (yes, you can tell the difference), you'd be a colossal fire hazard.


At least you'd go out in a blaze of glory. Hahahahahaha....why's no one else laughing? :|

Thanks guys, will go for a wool cloak after all.

Re: Polyester Cloak...for vikings.

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:58 am
by frances
Polyester moves differently from wool or from linen. When you are moving around or there is a strong wind there is an obvious difference. Polyester sort of flaps. Wool waves around more gracefully. Silk makes a lovely rustling sound for 18th century cloaks.

Re: Polyester Cloak...for vikings.

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:30 pm
by Alice the Huswyf
Late to the party, but this is what I was taught when still new to things and it has saved false economies.

If you are not sure of your fabric content, you need to take a sliver of the fabric in question and a lighter - this is best done over a sink with some water in it - and do burn test.

Cotton and linen will burn clean and leave a light ash, if anything.

Wool will smoulder before it burns and silk will burn quickly. Both stink of burnt hair and leave a crumbly dry ash.

Anything with 'esters in it (ie plastic additives to either bulk out the content or to add durability) will burn with more or less black smoke, and form a black, bubbling ball, which, when cool, is hard. Do not touch it when hot, as it sticks and makes a prolonged skin burn , on the napalm basis.

Wool mixes, depending on the amount of polyester added, will stink of hair and also bubble a little.

Polyesters etc can mimic many natural fabrics very quite convincingly nowadays - it is after all only a filament, the spinning and weaving of such determines the end appearance and handle. Hence using only a sliver of fabric, over a sink with a little water, in case your fabric surprises you and burns hard and quick.

Fuller details here. http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/314 ... -burn-test

And you buy wool for more than authenticity - ie thermal reasons - one good layer of unlined, combed or napped wool is much warmer and more efficient than a lighter plain weave or a wool-alike even if lined. It is also going to repel water for longer (and can be treated with lanolin substitutes to do so.) From a point of view fo cost, investing in good cloth pays for itself, as they double as blankets, besides and later providing much uncluttered yardage for recutting into other garments.

Re: Polyester Cloak...for vikings.

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 4:58 pm
by saracen
Thanks for those tips Alice, it's all the information I've been after in one handy package!

Re: Polyester Cloak...for vikings.

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:42 pm
by Wayland
As has already been said, the difference between linen and polyester is entirely academic with regards cloaks because no one would have made a cloak from linen.

For live role play you might get away with it depending on the system but then you don't need our advice for that.

For the Viking period a cloak is a practical outdoor garment for warmth, not a fashion accessory as it became later on. Wool is the material you should be looking for and if cost is an issue then investigate your local charity shops and ask them for blankets. Good woollen ones are often sold for just a few pounds as dog blankets.

From a safely point of view, synthetic fabrics are made for a world that is not filled with open fires and naked lights.

Having seen the life changing injuries caused by burning polyester as a result of a simple accident with a candle, I can assure you that paying a few pennies more for wool could be the best investment you ever make.

Re: Polyester Cloak...for vikings.

Posted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:59 am
by Alice the Huswyf
ABSOLUTELY!

And that is why any linen apron worn over wool in a later period re-enactment kitchen should alway be tied with a quick-release lover's knot (tie a bow, but pull one end through competely, effectively making a one-loop slipknot which can be released by pulling on one end).

Re: Polyester Cloak...for vikings.

Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:44 pm
by Colin Middleton
Generally you can spot high levels of synthetic in a fabric quite easily. Visually they have a sheen to them, which tends to be missing from natural fabrics, especially plant based ones. They also have quite a different texture and crease differently in the hand.

Blended fabrics are harder to spot (and I didn't know that better synthetics are now closely resembling natural fabrics), so listen to you aunty Alice on those (I always do, she's a mine of good information).

Silks are the ones that I find hardest to spot the synthetics in because silk has a sheen too, but that's life...

Colin

Re: Polyester Cloak...for vikings.

Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:39 pm
by Alice the Huswyf
A wiser soul told me that due to the modern mainstream fear of the perceived 'difficulty' of wool (moth, laundering, expense, relative wear) a small percentage of selected 'other' fibres are added to enhance wear

I think that anything 5% or less 'other' while it still has to be listed as a wool mix is as close as you are commonly going to get to 'pure' without specialist / costly / definitive wool cloth purchases. It is also such a small percentage (sometimes even as slow as 2 per cent) that it is a negligible mix. At 5 per cent or lower, you are going to get burnt hair and very little 'napalm' but in higher percentages you need to be aware if working around a fire, so observing a burn test is a sensible thing to do - especially for kid's kit..

If lucky enough to be lower status and you come across the lighter weights of upholstery wool ( a good tabby-homespun type) you may already benefit from initial fireproofing - until it is washed....

Re: Polyester Cloak...for vikings.

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:50 pm
by tanyabentham
Silks are the ones that I find hardest to spot the synthetics in because silk has a sheen too, but that's life...

Colin

That's actually really easy. Imitation silk has a cheap shine to it. Real silk has an expensive lustre. Compare the "silk" ( ie viscose pile) velvet sold as silk velvet with the stuff wi a silk pile - you can tell the difference even in a photograph