20th Century, What I wear

A modern Red Riding Hood

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.

Modern Red Riding Hood cape thedreamstress.com

Modern Red Riding Hood cape thedreamstress.com

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.

Modern Red Riding Hood cape thedreamstress.com

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.

Modern Red Riding Hood cape thedreamstress.com

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.

Modern Red Riding Hood cape thedreamstress.com

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!

Modern Red Riding Hood cape thedreamstress.com

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:

Modern Red Riding Hood cape thedreamstress.com

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:

Modern Red Riding Hood cape thedreamstress.com

Oh yeah…

Only this Little Red Riding Hood could totally take the wolf all by herself!

Modern Red Riding Hood cape thedreamstress.com

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.

Modern Red Riding Hood cape thedreamstress.com

Just the facts, Ma’am:

Fabric:  2.5m of twill weave grey wool, 1.7m of scarlet viscose jacquard

Pattern:  McCalls M6446

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!


  1. Beautiful!! Truly, stunning!! And I always LOVE photos taken with graffiti as the backdrop!! You did pick the perfect location!

  2. Ha! I’ve made this cape too, it looks amazing on. I didn’t line mine, but decided to bind all the seams in contrast bias binding…. about 20m of satin bias binding later……

    I’ll defs line the next one!

    • Oooh…have you blogged about it? I couldn’t find it on your blog. It’s been a very popular pattern, which was why I decided to use it as a demonstration piece. The pattern gave instructions for the bound seams (hong kong seams) that you used, but the lining is a much better solution in my opinion!

  3. Mel the Redcap says

    Oh, wow, that is awesome! I want one now! 😀

    *makes a note of the pattern number and your changes* 😉

    • Thanks Mel! I’ll be doing a post shortly with the construction details and a little more info on the changes I made, and changes I would recommend. And then I’ll put it all up on Sewing Pattern Review.

    • Thanks Hollie!

      That’s a cool jacket! I didn’t actually intend for the cape to be a ‘Red Riding Hood’ themed garments, and actually called it the Snow White & Rose Red cape as I sewed it (you’ll see why when I post details) but then I noticed the graffiti, and couldn’t resist posing with it.

    • It’s a fantastic pattern in some ways! Unfortunately you use a blog format that doesn’t play well with Safari, so I can’t see yours 🙁

  4. What a lovely cape, I especially like the “collar”! Your regency mittens go very well with it 🙂

    • Thanks Elise! It is a proper collar, just an extra one under the hood. I’m glad someone noticed the mitts! They are very multi-era!

  5. LOVE IT! Sounds silly, with all the fab stuff you make, but this is one of the fav pieces you made! Thanks for sharing. I need to make one now.

    • Thank you! Not silly at all! I can totally see why this would be a favourite. I sort of divide my favorites into everyday favourites (like this) and historical favourites.

  6. So pretty! So very, very pretty! And it repels rain, so yay, practical, too!
    I should keep your grainlines in mind, too…

    • Thank you, thank you! I’ll be doing another construction post on this cape and will post a photo of the pattern piece so you can see the grainlines.

  7. I love this!! I will have to pick this pattern up and give it a whirl, I have a pencil skirt it’ll look quite dashing with 😀 I’m not ready for fall, but I do love fall clothing.

  8. Lynne says

    I looked at the first photo, and thought, “That fabric looks familiar. I wonder…” And I was right! What an excellent choice of garment for the grey wool. So smart and so practical. And I always liked grey and red together.

    Great photo shoot – you look so staunch, you certainly could take that wolf!

    • Oh, I’m SO pleased that you of all people approve! The fabric really was meant to be this cape – it was exactly the right amount, and is just heavy enough to be snuggly and warm and drapes beautifully and is altogether perfect. Thank you so much!

  9. I think that’s really wearable and a practical, yet beautiful, garment. You can throw it on over pretty much anything if the weather is a little inclement.

    • Yep, that’s exactly how I feel! I just popped it on to go run and get something from the car on a chill night – so much easier than a coat somehow.

      Thank you!

  10. holly says

    I’d like one too! The pattern can be mine for just $1.99… with $15 postage from USA.

    • Hehe, isn’t that the way! You’ll pay exactly 51 cents more than I paid for it at Arthur Toyes, though of course, if those are US$, buying local is the better bet. 😉

  11. Looks fab. I have a plan to make something similar at some point…your red lining has inspired me.

  12. Oh, my…I think I just fell in love! Gorgeous!!!!! I have to make one now! Just have to!

  13. Sophie says

    Hi Leimomi, first time commenter here… Love your blog and this is adorable! I think I need one!

  14. I was away for a week and got totally behind with my blog feed, so I’m a little late to the party. But, Oh Boy that cape is awesome! I’ve been wanting to make one for fall for years, not to mention I have so. much. wool. fabric. They pop up now and again in the horde of Burda magazines I have, but I really like this idea with the hood!

    Would you be able to roughly explain what other major alterations you make to the pattern if you were to make it up again? I can’t see anything wrong or off with it in your photos, they’re stunning!

    • Thanks Carolyn!

      I’ll be doing a post with the details, and will describe some of the things I think should be changed with photos, but I’ve also written a pattern review which may be helpful. It’s mostly that you put in a ton of work with little practical payoff. I guess I’m really an Arts & Craftsian at heart, because when it comes to everyday garments I expect them to be beautiful and useful in every respect!


  15. I’m about ready to make this cape and just doing a little research. I have decided not to use the pockets but I do plan to line it. I was wondering if you add the lining before adding the side welts or after. After reading your blog I am wondering if I should lower the welt side openings or even eliminate them al together, especially since I won’t have any pockets.
    I appreciate your feedback and advice. Your cape looks awesome!

    • I’d eliminate the side welts altogether if you aren’t having pockets – the cape is short enough that it’s easy to reach under. And yes, I used facing as well as lining. And thanks!

  16. Sorry to bug but I thought of one more question. Did you use the facing as well as a lining?

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