Toward a more period encampment:
Cooler Covers

by Ceara ni Neill

Of course, we do what we can to create a more period looking encampment. The cooler is as much a fact of life as the tent we live in, but it is often impractical to store it inside the tent. It needs to be easily accessible and available for extra seating. Lauralyn of Skye Keep from Dragonfly Marsh had an article published in the February 1995 issue of The Chronicles of Forth Castle which described a cooler cover based on the 15th century English coffin cover shown below. While it is richly embroidered and beautiful, not everyone wants to go to that extent to dress up a cooler. With some broadcloth or other cheap, natural-fiber material of a solid color paired with a printed or tapestry fabric, you can produce a similar result.

pall, or coffin cover of the Worshipful Company of Brewers, 1490-1538

Trim your cooler's new garb with tassels, fringe, woven trim, or anything else you can find. You can use velcro glued to the lid of the ice chest and sewn to the underside of the cover to keep it from slipping. If you care to get a little more elaborate, I recently made a wooden chest that my cooler fits into. Another suggestion would be to build a chest, seal it and line it with styrofoam, replacing the cooler entirely. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

right: This cover with solid undercloth has a box-top cloth on top stitched down to avoid slipping and adorned with tassels. Below it is the flat pattern of the box-top over-cloth.
left: this cover has a printed under-cloth with a runner across the top. The runner is a simple rectangle and can be stitched into place to avoid slipping.

Use your imagination, and good luck!

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