After a few weeks, a head cold, and a lot of hand stitching through two seasons of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, my cape is finally finished! I’ve made an awful lot of coats over the years but this is my first cape. I thought perhaps it was a cloak, having mistakenly thought the difference was that cloaks have hoods, but in fact it’s a hem length distinction, so this is indeed a cape!
I covered a lot of the details of the making of this cape last week, so you’ll already know that it’s entirely underlined in cotton flannel to cut the wind, and that it uses this Burda magazine pattern from 2011 (still available to buy as a pdf). Funnily enough, there’s actually a fairly similar hooded cape pattern in the current December 2016 issue, too, which I’ll cover in my review post soon…
This gorgeous teal wool coating was a gift from a friend which has been in my stash since January, awaiting health and a return of cooler weather. He’d bought for me in Tokyo at the massive Tomato store, and I thought it paired really beautifully with some black and pink abstract tartan fabric I chose from Sew Essential as my #sewphotohop prize draw. It’s a lightweight John Kaldor satin with a lovely hand that you really could believe was silk, but alas, it doesn’t appear to be on the site any longer!
The original pattern only called for a hood lining, but I’m glad I chose to line the entire cape as it definitely adds some luxury (and a place to insert some pockets), though it does mean the cape slides off my shoulders if I leave it unzipped. I’m also glad I used shoulder pads in it, as it really needs that extra bit of structure, in my opinion.
The hood uses three separate pattern pieces, but I’m not entirely certain I like the shape, to be honest. It’s plenty big enough, but looks a bit square at the crown of the head, and a bit droopy round the face. But I do like that it comes down a bit on the forehead, as it means it doesn’t blow off at the first gust of wind. I was out walking yesterday when it started to rain, and with the hood up, I was nice and dry and cosy inside my cape with no need to put up my umbrella! That wool is thick, and would take quite a downpour to soak through.
Forgive the wrinkling – it had been jammed in an overhead bin on the plane and then on various pub and cafe seats in Dublin!
I finished this just before we left for Dublin for a whirlwind few days visiting family, and it took a bit of getting used to the silhouette, to be honest. With a shoulder bag, you’ve got to wear it underneath the cape (as opposed to jackets or coats, where the bag is overtop), which made me feel huge, but friends insisted it wasn’t the case! I also learned that you really need a slim silhouette on your legs to balance the volume of the cape – leggings and skinny jeans paired well with it, but a midi skirt most definitely did not!
With the open arm slits, I thought it might get a bit cold, but honestly, I don’t feel the wind or cold through them much at all. I tended to wear it most with the hood down and zip partially open (as in these photos), and my arms inside unless I needed to open a door or check my phone or something. For the most part it’s a very warm cape!
The flannel underlining is the prime windblocker, but the pattern also has a long flap to cover the zipper down the front, too. This helps stop any breezes through the zipper teeth (since there’s no underlap, as you might have on a coat), and makes it look a bit tidier. It fastens with four large snaps, which I sewed by hand using the thicker Gutermann upholstery thread and a few neat buttonhole stitches on each snap hole.
I’d started this cape as I wanted a project that took a little bit longer and was a bit more involved, and I’m glad I chose this! It was a fun one to sew up, used up two different free-to-me stash fabrics, and was a bit of a departure from my normal style. After 14+ years of sewing, there aren’t many things I haven’t sewn, either, so it was nice to tick “cape” from my list!
And if you fancy a bit more cape inspiration, Piper was sewing her fur-lined cape around the same time as me and we swapped a lot of updates over Twitter!