Cape Making

I’m not exactly sure when I got the thought in my head that I wanted a cape. I do know that I decided I would make one after seeing a post on one of the blogs I follow. It looked really simple and very cute. I saw it right before Thanksgiving and for once, I was going to buy fabric for actual project on Black Friday.

capeHowever, I had a few issues. Part of it was my fault but I think part of it was the original instructions, I’m not going to go into all the oringial instructions and issues, but basically, I don’t know how this person was able to make a cape with their instructions. I even went through several sheets of paper trying to figure it out. As directed, I bought one yard of fabric for the shell and liner. The shell was a 60” bolt, the liner was a 45” bolt. Oops, no way I could those to line up right, I should have noticed they were two different things, but the directions didn’t mention what size you would need other than one yard. The main thing I couldn’t understand was how she got the cape to be long enough. I bought two yards of each fabric because I was going to make my sister one for Christmas. I ended up not making her one because I didn’t see how I could make my cape without her fabric. I decided I would see how mine turned out, take it home with the buttons, thread, and ribbon I bought to make hers and see if she wanted one. Then I would make hers while I was there if she wanted it. If you sit down and do it in one go, it really only takes a few hours, if that. The second mistake was that did my math wrong and didn’t buy enough ribbon to go around the edge because I did the circumference of a circle with a 18” radius not at 36” radius. Luckily, K was going to be back in Connecticut and was able to run back and pick me up more. This meant I had to be able to find more in South Dakota if Kristen wanted one.

Once I had all my issues solved, I decided I wouldn’t use a liner. The heavy sweatshirt like material that I bought for the shell was really soft on the back and it also made it kind of sticky so it didn’t move so much while it was on and it was less work anyway. The cape unlined looked really cute and the only thing I had to do was decide where the buttons would go. I had some from the first dress I made that I didn’t want to use that were perfect for the cape. The liner fabric I bought will be used as something else, I just have to decide what.

My sister did want a cape, but not so much for fashion reasons but for reasons of running through the dorms like a super hero. I love mine for all the times I am wearing a blazer or heavier bulky sweater that I wearing that is too heavy to wear with my normal winter coat but don’t really fit under my lighter jackets. Now that the weather is getting a tiny bit warmer, I can hopefully wear it more like a sweater or sweatshirt.  It turned out so well  I’ve actually had several complements on it. Yeah! I hope my instructions below are clear… but if you have any questions, please ask!


  • 2 yards of fabric from a 60″ bolt, I used a sweat shirt like material
  • minimum 3/4″ thick ribbon, I needed almost 24′, but do  your math to make sure you get enough to edge the entire bottom, neck and edges of the cape. (remember C=3.14xD)
  • 2 or 3 buttons ( I used 2)
  • 2 eye hooks, optional

1. When buying your materials, have them cut your fabric into two 1-yard pieces. Or cut it at home into two equal pieces, 36″ x 60

Cape- Step 1 2. Fold each piece in half. Measure the distance from your neck to your wrist, probably around 30 inches.

Cape Step 23. On each piece measure 4 inches from a folded corner, measure 4 inches and draw a quarter circle to the other edge. Add 4 and your arm length, (so 34″ if you measured 30 for your arm length) and from the same corner and draw another quarter circle.

Cape Step 34. Keep the fabric folded and cut along your lines. If you have a fabric that will unravel, make sure you sew along the edges to keep it from fraying.

Cape Step 4OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5. Place the two pieces of cut fabric right sides together and line up the edges. Pin one of the straight edges together and sew straight down with a 5/8 seam.

In reality, you would only see this as a half circle to pin the one edge together.

In reality, you would only see this as a half circle to pin the one edge together.

6. Measure and cut the ribbon. Add an extra inch or two to each piece, you will need it for the straight edges and can cut it on the rounded. You should have one piece for the bottom, one for the top, and two for the straight edges. Carefully fold in half and iron.

Cape Step 67. Pin the folded ribbon onto the cape, round edges first, with the fabric in between the ribbon halves. make sure you pin through all three layers. The sew the ribbon on with a 1/2 seam. This is perfect if you have 1-1/2 inch thick ribbon. Going around the round edges is a bit difficult so you may need more pins than normal and watch to make sure that the ribbon doesn’t bunch on the back side and not get sew to the cape leaving gaps. If you look closely at mine or Kristen’s, you can see where it was getting a bit messed up and the seam line jump. Practice I suppose would make perfect. Cut any excess ribbon.

8. Once the Round edges are finished, pin the ribbon to the straight sides. Fold the extra over twice on each end and pin to the inside. This will hide the unfinished edge in the folds and inside the cap.  Sew each side.

Cape Step 7OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA9. Try on the cape and decide where you would like your buttons to go. I used pins to mark the locations. I placed one right in the corner of the ribbon and one about 2/3 down the edge, the same distance from the straight edge as the top button. Carefully cut the holes into the top layer of the cape, slightly smaller than the buttons. If you have a button hole option on your machine, sew it up. If you like me and have it but have no idea how to use it and/or your mom has several button hole feet but can’t remember which one to use and how, just practice a bit and then sew around the edges.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA10. Try on the cape again and mark the button locations on the inner layer. Again I used pins going through the button hole locations. Hand sew your buttons on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA11. This step is optional, and I have yet to do it, but you can sew an eyelet on the bottom inside corner of the outer straight edge (use the ribbon area so it will not show up on the exterior. Then line up it’s location while the cape is on to the edge of the inside flap to keep the edge from flipping open at all. Do the same thing with the inner flap corner to keep the inside piece in place as well.  The material I used sticks to what I am wearing and itself well, so I haven’t gotten around to doing it yet, but with other materials it will definitely keeps things from bunching.

12. Wash, wear and enjoy!