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Thread: Birrus Britannicus

  1. #1
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    Default Birrus Britannicus

    Finally thinking about making one of these....just in case you don't know its a form of cloak which is very versatile.

    Based on Toddy's pattern here:
    http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16019


    I was have a look for some cheap wool blankets but noticed Endicotts have cut the blankets they have on the websit to just the dutch ones, which look too good to cut up.
    I found this on evilbay:
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/WOOL-Blank...10094093651126

    Looks cheap, but are these blanket types thick enough for a nice Birrus.
    Mary - if you read this, I didn't get round to getting items from Bernie when we were talking about it, the samples he sent seemed awfully thin for a cloak.

  2. #2
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    Default

    I'm going to second this question, as I was looking at the same blanket for the same reason!
    Stupidity got us into this mess. Why can't it get us out?


  3. #3
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    Default

    Won't wearing this run the risk of you being called Brittunculi?

  4. #4
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    I've been called worse
    Stupidity got us into this mess. Why can't it get us out?


  5. #5
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    Default

    It's not the 'thickness' that matters, it's the showerproof and windproof qualities that you're after. Very fine, very tightly woven wool is ideal, but expensive. Barathea is the best there is for outdoor kit, but it's hardly made now

    I don't know about these blankets; they're certainly cheap enough to try though.

    My own Birrus is very fine, very soft (it's worn next to my neck and face and I didn't want itchy) with a high merino content.
    I don't know what the samples from Bernie were like Andy, but I haven't bought a bad wool from him yet, and I've bought literally hundreds of metres.

    It's an outer layer, worn on top of other layers, it's showerproof, stops the draught, can be belted close like a tunic and it's very comfortable to sit around in, but the quality of the wool is critical to how effective it is.

    All I can suggest is that one of you give it a try and see if it works If it doesn't work as well as you'd like we'll see what we can do to improve the qualities that make it comfortable

    I cut out a Birrus for a friend to sew for herself today. The wool cost 28 a metre. Based on that kind of figure the blankets look pretty cheap to me

    cheers,
    M

    p.s. Mine
    I'm not sure if life is passing me by, or trying to run me over !

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  6. #6
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    Default

    Thanks Mary, I was under the impression that it was for warmth rather than a weatherproof outer, thats why I was thinking it had to be thick. Nothing wrong with what Bernie sent, just that I wasn't sure if they were the right material being so thin.
    But what is the objective of the cloak? Is it mainly to act as a weatherproof layer, or for warmth?

    Is Barathea the same as what kilt jackets are made out of? This sort of material? http://www.tweedtime.co.uk/html/other_fabrics.html

  7. #7
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    Default

    It does both really. Even wet, wool is warm.
    This overcloak and hood is another layer of warm air trapping material. It's not intended to be the only garment you wear

    Mine fits in soft gathers around my neck and face and that keeps me comfortably warm; the length of the cloak back and front make it an easy garment to walk through woods, moors, heather, etc., without snagging (or sweeping the undergrowth) as a full length cloak can do. It's also very comfortable to sit around in. The split front and sides mean that it can be put back over the shoulders easily to free hands and arms for work or just to cool down a little.
    If it's windy, just belt it all in tidy at the waist to make a tunic from it.

    Basically you're looking for good showerproofing qualities, but from a wool cloth that will still 'drape' to fit comfortably around you. A too heavy wool can be like wearing a carpet.
    Good wool cloth that has been fulled, a kind of semi felting, is ideal for this kind of thing.

    Barathea is what the really good kilt jackets and piper's capes are made from. Many nowadays are made from other materials.
    Barathea is heavy showerproof, windproof, sparkproof, snagproof and still breathable.
    It's expensive though and it usually comes in Black & Navy. It used to come in all the colours that blazers did.....bottle green, maroon, brown, black and navy. It makes a brilliant bushshirt, but the colours just look wrong.
    (nice find on the link site thanks )

    I think you could try the blankets and see how you get on with them. If it doesn't work well as a cloak the shape still lends itself to an extra throw over the sleeping bag in cold weather

    cheers,
    Mary
    I'm not sure if life is passing me by, or trying to run me over !

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  8. #8

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    I intend to make one of these too, was thinking of using this relatively thin blanket that I got from charity shop. But its far from tightly woven! May still use as a prototype as it cost a mere 20p...

    From the link posted above (http://www.tweedtime.co.uk/html/other_fabrics.html), what weight of Barathea would you recommend for a really good Birrus?
    A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. - William Blake

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