In addition to all my historical sewing, and client sewing, and teaching, I’ve been sewing for me. I’ve just been so busy I haven’t managed to blog about it. Case in point: my latest project, which was finished over a month ago, but which I haven’t managed to photograph and write about until now.
I made this cape as a demonstration piece for a cape class I was teaching. It’s made from McCall’s ‘Generation Next’ M6446. In some ways it’s good that it took me so long to blog about it. I wasn’t sure about it as a garment when I finished it (and I still have significant reservations about the pattern), but now that I’ve had a chance to wear it a bit I’m in love.
It goes over everything so easily, and is the perfect transitional garment with the changeable late-winter weather. The felted wool also repels water quite effectively, so I’ve worn it in the rain with the hood up and stayed nice and cozy. You can actually see the rain spots on the cape in some of these photos.
My cape is made from a beautiful slightly felted twill-weave grey wool given to me by the fabulous Lynne (thank you Lynne!). It was clearly meant to be this cape, because I had exactly enough wool to make the cape. I don’t have a scrap of wool big enough to make even a pocket left, but I didn’t have to cut a single piece off grain (except where I did it intentionally), or patch a single piece.
I made a few alterations to the pattern to improve it/make it fit my tastes.
I cut the side pieces so that the grainline is parallel to the side-back seam, and thus on the bias over the shoulders and at the side-front seam where the welt arm slits are set. This makes it fall in much nicer, softer folds over the shoulders, rather than the stiff, tent-like shape seen in the pattern images. Also, cutting it this way uses less fabric. It’s a double win!
I also drafted and added a lining to my cape because an unlined wool cape just isn’t that nice to wear, the inside finishes suggested in the pattern (hong kong seams) were fussy and not suited to the construction of the cape, and cape lining are always a good thing, especially when they are made from bright scarlet rose-patterned viscose jacquard:
Or at least I think so!
Obviously, if I was lining the cape in scarlet, I also had to line the hood in scarlet, which makes the ‘Litttle Red Riding Hood’ connection a given. Which is why I picked this particular graffiti bedecked wall for my photoshoot:
Only this Little Red Riding Hood could totally take the wolf all by herself!
While the cape is a modern pattern, and is marketed as a young, trendy look, I think is actually has a rather ’50s aesthetic, particularly with the changes I made to the side pieces. I can see myself wearing it with a pencil skirt more than I’ll wear it with jeans.
This photo in particular reminds me of a ’50s magazine advertisement.
Just the facts, Ma’am:
Fabric: 2.5m of twill weave grey wool, 1.7m of scarlet viscose jacquard
Year: 2013 with a hint of late ’50s
Notions: Thread (lots of it – I used up three small spools of grey), 6 large buttons & 2 small, interfacing, red bias tape
And the insides? Fully lined, bias finished hem.
Hours: 11, most of it fussing over finicky details that don’t add a lot to the cape in the end.
First worn?: Sometime near the end of July
Wear again?: Yep, it’s perfect for transitional weather at the end of winter, and for drizzly days.
Make again?: Only with major alterations to the pattern.
Total cost: $5 for the lining (Fabric-a-brac score!), $10 for buttons, $3 for interfacing = $18. So reasonable thanks to Lynne’s generosity!