Cape Project at The Costumer's Manifesto Costume Design & Construction Cape Project 5D+20C
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.
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:
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Add trim and closures to the cape as per the instructions.
When you have completed your cape to your satisfaction, photograph it as jpeg files and post them to your File folder at the class
. Post a message to the group letting everyone know you have posted these pictures so you can get feedback.
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