I bet you, like me, took a gander at the cloaks of the Night's Watch on Game of Thrones and thought, "Damn, if they weren't so flea-infested and covered in the blood of the dead I'd wear that in a heartbeat. Where do I even get a cloak like that?" Well you can fashion a cloak of your own the same way the show's costume designer does: With SKOLD and LUDDE sheepskin rugs from friggin' IKEA.
Image credit: HBO
In short, there's nothing fancy about them. The ratty cloaks on the Night's Watch members aren't made of mammoth pelts but sheepskin rugs from IKEA that are dyed, roughed up and shorn to look like they have been to the Fist of the First Men and back.
These caps are actually IKEA rugs. It's a bit of a trick. We take anything we can. We cut and we shaved them, and we added strong leather straps and then break them down... I want the audience to almost smell the costumes.
The rugs are further distressed, and receive a thorough waxing and frosting to give them that lived-in-for-way-too-long look.
Since learning the news, people have apparently gone to IKEA to purchase the sheepskin rugs in droves, presumably to wrap themselves up in them and prepare for the coming of the Night King.
How to Make Your Own
IKEA SKOLD Sheepskin Rug, $US249 ($315).
Feeling creative? Clapton may be a professional costumer, but that doesn't mean you have to fawn over the cloaks in the show while you shiver in the cold. You can make your own with a few materials and some sartorial know-how. As for measurements, be sure to look at this handy guide to figure out how much fabric you'll need.
Gather Your Materials
- Rug and fabric: Of course, if you want to dress like the Night's Watch, you'll need the same fabric they use. That means a trip to IKEA is in order. Snag your SKOLD and LUDDE rugs (just call the store beforehand to make sure they're still in stock) and get out. Actually, you should probably grab some black DITTE fabric for the rest of the cloak before you leave as well. They sell it by the metre, which is nice.
- Dye: I think you can tell that the blindingly white IKEA rugs aren't exactly a good match for your Night's Watch cloak just yet. Here's where clothing dye comes into play. You've probably dyed your favourite jeans to bring them back into your outfit rotation, and you can use the same process to turn that white rug pitch black.
- Straps and buckles: A cursory search for leather straps and buckles yields hundreds of results online. Your best bet? Figuring out the strap length and picking a supplier you trust, perhaps one familiar with leather goods. As for the buckles, you could always just search eBay, where suppliers tend to place miscellaneous goods like buckles for cheap compared to other places.
- Sewing materials: The Night's Watch didn't have a sewing machine, but you can bet your arse Clapton did while she made these cloaks. Granted, your consumer-grade sewing machine might not be able to get through the leather, so you might have to sew that part yourself with a needle, thread, scissors and a hole punch.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
Of course, before you go off looking for rugs, sewing kits and fabric to stitch together a cloak of your own, be sure you know how much material you need. Longer cloaks require more fabric, of course, but if it's too long (or too short) you'll be left tripping over yourself or cursing your frigid calves.
Some fabrics might not be wide enough to be cut in a semicircle on their own. In that case you may have to stitch multiple pieces together, either in a wedge shape (think pizza slices), or by filling in the outer edge of the semicircle with smaller, curved pieces of the same fabric.
Distress the Crap Out of It
I haven't see a pristine cloak on any member of the Night's Watch. What makes you so special? It's time to put that newfound cloak through the wringer. Grab some scissors, throw it in a bucket full of rocks, let your dog roll around in it for a few
days minutes, and voila! Your very own cloak, ready to weather storms from Hardhome to Highgarden.