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Some thoughts on the Ancient Irish "overcoat", cloak or "wrap" or
BRAT
(pronounced more like "bratworst" than the U.S.-English word for a snottly kid...) 
What was it
How was it worn
Using a Pennumbular Brooch
Decoration/embroidery &
pattern/weave

 What was it
The Brat was a "four-cornered" or oval piece of cloth--folded five or more times if you were wealthy--piece of wool worn as an overcloak.  It was usually fastened at the chest or shoulder with a pennumbular or other brooch.

How was it worn
The more folds of the cloth, the warmer it was.  If the top was "folded down" at the shoulder (like a "Sherlock Holms" cape) there would be additonal protection from the rain, and the part folded down over the shoulder could be pulled up as a hood.
Wrap the Brat around the shoulders, and use a large pin or pennumbular boach to hold it in place.  If you put the brooch in at the center of the chest, the brat can then be "turned" so the brooch is at the front of one shoulder.  This is sometimes more comfortable to walk around with (and looks more dashing...).  If you put the pin carefully through the weave of the wool--it should come out again without leaving a hole. 
Using a Pennumbular Brooch
After pushing the straight, pointed pin part carefully through the fabric, slide the end of the pin  back through the opening in the circle of the brooch. Then turn the pin on the circle so the end of thepin is held against the circular part by the pressure of the fabric, "locking" the pin in place.

Decoration/embroidery &
pattern/weave
Brats came in all weaves, styles and levels of decoration.  Many brats would have a boarder pattern woven in or embroidered on. They were often made in tartan or tartan-like patterns (there are late stone-age finds of tartan-like color patterns woven into wool fabric; there are very old finds of twill weaves in fabrics at Celtic sites).
There was also probably variation depending on the occasion a preson was attending as well as the wealth of the person wearing the brat.
 

 
 
 
 

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© 1997 Robin A. NíDána

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