Just in case you haven’t noticed, I love capes. However, I do not love Vegas. It’s hot, it’s commercial, it’s all about alcohol and gambling and stuff I don’t do. But this week’s theme on the Sew Weekly was “Viva Las Vegas”. And Vegas is pretty much the promised land of capes. Elvis, Liberace, Evil Knievel, magicians — in Vegas, it’s all about the cape. So I may not be a Vegas girl, but I can totally be a cape girl.
Really though, as awesome as an Elvis or Liberace-style embroidered and bedazzled to the gills cape would be, I don’t think my life and wardrobe can support that much awesome.
So I went for a toned down version in classic black and white — something to evoke the traditional magician’s cape, with just a little hint of Vegas bling in a shiny, plush velvet, and a patterned jacquard satin lining.
I’m super excited about the lining actually. The fabric was my Grandmother’s, so it’s wonderful to finally get to use it, 15+ years after I inherited it. And the pattern reminds me of fountains and stories of glass pools with showgirls swimming in them. Naughty!
Unfortunately the white fabric was damaged, and I had to cut very carefully to get the full lining out of it, which meant cutting along different grains to the outer fabric, which is a HUGE issue with this pattern. The disagreeing grain-lines means that in some places the lining tugs just a little, and in others it wants to bag and hang out from below the outer fabric. I did my best to mitigate the issue, but it isn’t perfect.
I bought the most gorgeous, elaborate, fabulous frog to fasten the front of my cape, and I couldn’t find it anywhere once the cape was finished. So instead I’m wearing it with a vintage pearl bow brooch from Nana. I’m almost glad the frog didn’t show up, as I think the bow perfectly references a magician bow tie (and besides, we all know bow ties are cool), and my brooches don’t get to make an appearance often enough.
To get into the spirit of the challenge I added a little Vegas sparkle with one of my Grandmother’s 1950s hats with a sequin band across the front. I paired the cape with my Little Black Dress Clip Dress (done for the accesorise challenge), some seriously awesome tights, and, for maximum drama, elbow length white gloves. Totally over the top, but that’s Vegas!
Unfortunately, unlike Vegas, Wellington is not the promised land of capes. Wellington is the land of “Oh blast, I’m trying to cross the street and the wind has blown the cape up into my face and completely blinded me” and “This cape looked so cute over my coat, but it really isn’t cute the way it has been slapping me in the ear for the last 5 minutes”. So now this is a still-days and indoors only cape. But it does a great job of keeping me warm.
I first wore the cape for Yum Cha with friends Saturday a week past, but the pictures from that day were terrible, so I re-did a photoshoot at the Roxy Cinema — a 1930s themed cinema with lots of decoration by Weta Workshop. And it’s in my neighborhood, and just down the street from my favourite restaurant, and a bit glitzy and over the top. Perfect!
Just the facts, Ma’am:
Fabric: 1.5m vintage jacquard satin from my Grandmother’s stash, 1m black velvet plush from…I honestly can’t remember.
Pattern: My own, based on a 1930s original (the same pattern as the Capelet of Yay, but without the long stole pieces)
Year: late 1930s meets 2012
Notions: thread, and someday a frog (if I ever find the blasted thing – but I’m liking it so much without I might leave it off)
Hours: 5, thanks to the unfortunate directional issues
First worn?: Saturday 26 May for yum char with friends (and then pretty much constantly since then).
Wear again?: Yes, but only indoors or on still days
Make again?: Not in the near future. Between this and the Capelet of Yay, I think I have enough capes for a little while.
Total cost: $0 (well, $3 for the yet-to-be-located frog).