It was tough being a celebrity in the Middle Ages. You had the C-list: the bards, jongleurs, troubadors and players, always on the road, passing the hat, waiting for the big break that would win them a permanent gig at some court or other. Then there were the knights: big, sweaty meatheads, always in training, up at all hours with the endless crusading and questing and jousting, and never enough cash to keep the whole entourage going. What you wanted--the Big Kahuna--was sainthood: a life of piety, good works and self-denial, followed by a sticky end, a miracle or two, and then (with a really good promoter) centuries as the star attraction at a top cathedral.
What did all these hard-working wanna-be's have in common? A cape, of course! When you're making a name for yourself, there's lots of traveling, endless nights on the cold, hard ground, too many leaky hovels, and drafty castles where you're trapped for dreary weeks by rabble at the gates in an ugly mood. When you're seeking medieval glory, you've really got to know where your cape is.
Broadcloth: Cotton/polyester blend, shirtweight. Does not wrinkle, shrink or fade. Permanent press (warm wash, tumble dry low heat, remove promptly). Black, red, burgundy, navy, hunter, brown.
Brocade: Cotton plus various synthetic fibers, with same-color woven patterns, which will vary. Sturdy weight. Dry clean. Blue, hunter, burgundy.
Canvas: Also called Duck Cloth. Stout cotton fabric with a coarse weave. Black, white, red, brown, or hunter green. Will fade like jeans. Cold wash, tumble dry low heat or line dry.
Fleece: Synthetic with velour-like drape; popular for outerwear. Good, practical substitute for wool. Black, burgundy, hunter green. Check for color availability before ordering; can vary with season. Washable, but dry cleaning is recommended to preserve the shape of capes.
Muslin: Garment-quality, 100% cotton (not coarse utility muslin). Cold wash, line dry recommended. White or natural.
Poplin: A cotton/polyester blend that does not wrinkle, shrink or fade. Heavier than shirtweight. Permanent press (warm wash, tumble dry low heat, remove promptly). Black, red, burgundy, navy, hunter.
Suede Cloth: A heavy, woven suede-like cloth of 100% polyester. Dry cleaning recommended.
Wool: A natural fiber from sheep; wool blends include man-made fibers of various kinds. Holds colors well. Dry cleaning is recommended, but may be hand washed in cold water and dried flat. Do not wring. Never use hot water or a dryer. For seasonal storage, clean first and use the moth repellent of your choice.