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Cape Project at The Costumer's Manifesto Costume Design & Construction Cape Project 5D+20C

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This is a good project to choose if you have a little sewing experience and want a larger sewing project to develop these skills further. It can also be used by an advanced sewer to learn new skills of basic pattern drafting. Most people (especially theatre folks) secretly long for a cape, so this has the advantage of being a project you can use when you are done. Commercial cape patterns also include most of the needed instructional materials you need to learn as you sew. The disadvantage is that long full capes take up lots of fabric, so they aren't cheap to make.

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Step 1:

Choose a commercial cape pattern or, if you already have a good deal of sewing experience, you may draft one from the instructions at these sites:

To Make a Quick and Easy Cloak

Pictures and Patterns

Costumes

Cloak

Rectangular cloak

Fitted Cloak

If you are using a commercial cape pattern, be careful to read the pattern envelope for suggestions about choosing the correct cape fabric. It is not generally a good idea to use stretch knits to make capes. If you must choose a stretch fabric, do not line the cape with a non-stretch fabric like satin. Indeed if the fabric is very stretchy, do not line the cape at all. If possible, choose a fabric that is washable (ask fabric store employees-most fabrics are really washable, but will say "dry clean only" anyway on the label. Real dry-clean-only fabrics include wool suiting, flocked fabrics, and moiré aka "watermarked" fabrics), most others are actually washable, and you can figure this out by cutting out a 6"x6" swatch of your material and washing it to be sure before you wash the rest.

Step 2:

Choose and acquire fabric, (optional) lining, and notions such as thread, clasps, trim, etc. for your cape, if the fabric is washable, get a little extra to allow for shrinking. Pre wash your fabric, trims and lining. If the fabric is dry clean only, take it to the drycleaner and pre-dry clean it instead, (except for moiré/watermarked fabric which you should even avoid dry cleaning). Trim should get pre washed in the sink, not thrown in a washer or it may tear or tangle. For more info you can read

Step 3:

It is very important to RTFM (Read The Frigging Manual) when learning sewing. Read all the pattern instructions through once and then, cut the fabric out in the pattern as per the instructions.Tips on

Step 4:

Begin pinning together cape pieces and sewing them as per your instructions. If you have chosen nylon, rayon or silk velvet as your cape fabric baste all seams by hand before sewing on the machine, this will save your sanity and your fabric. After sewing ANY seam, press the seam open with a steam iron, before sewing the next step. (Don't press velvet or you will crush it). This will make the finished product look much better, and make the sewing easier.

Photos6Dress025.jpg a student sews his cape project in 2002

Step 5:

As you encounter problems, post questions to the

Message Board, or if it works better for you, post pictures to the

section to illustrate your points.

Step 6:

Continue to pin together cape pieces and sew them as per your instructions. Remember that after sewing ANY seam, you should press the seam open with a steam iron, before sewing the next step.

Step 7:

Add trim and closures to the cape as per the instructions.

Step 8:

When you have completed your cape to your satisfaction, photograph it as jpeg files and post them to your File folder at the class

[1]. Post a message to the group letting everyone know you have posted these pictures so you can get feedback.

Images254finals20021068.jpg the finished cape project, 2002.

Return to

Class Index

Return to

Projects List

Product Links

The Magic Garment : Principles of Costume Design The Magic Garment : Principles of Costume Design

Cutting and Draping Special Occasion Clothes: Designs for Eveningwear and Partywear Cutting and Draping Special Occasion Clothes: Designs for Eveningwear and Partywear

The Foam Book : An Easy Guide to Building Polyfoam Puppets The Foam Book : An Easy Guide to Building Polyfoam Puppets

Costume Construction Costume Construction

Costumes and Chemistry: A Comprehensive Guide to Materials and Applications Costumes and Chemistry: A Comprehensive Guide to Materials and Applications

The Business of Theatrical Design The Business of Theatrical Design

Period Costume for Stage & Screen : Patterns for Women's Dress, Medieval-1500 Period Costume for Stage & Screen : Patterns for Women's Dress, Medieval-1500

Period Costume : How to Make Classic Costumes from Cast-Off Clothing

Fabric for Use; G91-1028

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This Page is part of The Costumer's Manifesto, originally founded by Tara Maginnis, Ph.D. from 1996-2014, now flying free as a wiki for all to edit and contribute. Site maintained, hosted, and wikified by Andrew Kahn. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms of Use for details. You may print out any of these pages for non-profit educational use such as school papers, teacher handouts, or wall displays. You may link to any page in this site.