The blogosphere is full of successful accounts of easy-to-make youth capes, with pictures of young children frolicking around in their super-easy professional-looking garments that their parents whipped up in approximately 10 minutes while drinking a caramel macchiato.
This post is not one of them.
I set out to make a satin cape for my son’s Halloween costume as Super Why (for those of you not enmeshed in toddler-land, it’s a PBS Kids cartoon that promotes literacy — the superheros have things like “dictionary power!” and find answers to their problems by reading books. I LOVE IT. And TV for the small fry is super limited in our house.). Simple, right?
Well, not for me. First, I found the material a beast to try and cut to size or work with in general — lots of moving and fraying and general curse-word-inducing moments. My first thought was that it should be a two-sided (lined) cape, or it would look unfinished. So I finally get it cut to size, sew it, and have the thought to iron out the wrinkles before hanging it up. Do as I say, not as I do, y’all:
*Sigh* I was ready to throw in the cape and drive to the nearest Walmart holiday section, pronto. My awesome husband had a cooler head and was at least able to save the felt applique that, while considerably easier, took quite a while to cut out and sew together. In a nutshell:
I used the template HERE, so that site gets all the credit. I downloaded the file to my computer and printed out three copies on quilter’s paper (same thing as freezer paper, there’s a shiny side and a matte side – print on the matte side). I got felt sheets from Hobby Lobby in white, blue and yellow, and ironed on the freezer paper pattern to each, then cut out the corresponding pieces (book pages, book cover and starburst). I then used Pellon Wonder Under to attach the book pages to the book, and then the starburst over the book (follow the directions on the package – you basically flip the Wonder Under over, trace out your shape, cut to size, then use a damp press cloth to adhere it. Wait for it to cool slightly, then peel it off, and again use a damp press cloth with your iron to attach your pieces). I then cut a random eyeballed shape of green felt that I attached the Super Why logo too — thinking, like some other bloggers have, that it’s easier to sew the one green felt blob to the back of the cape than the starburst-over-the-book logo. It was, indeed, easy to do. In retrospect, I would have made the logo a bit smaller, but that probably would have made it trickier, too, especially the starburst part, since that was already pretty thin.
So, cape, round two: I basically just dove in. I cut a square piece of satin several inches wide than I wanted my cape to be, folded it in half, than used a ruler to cut a vertical diagonal line, giving the piece a “cape” shape. I then hemmed the two sides and bottom, making it a very slim hem. I made a wider hem at the top, threaded through some 1″ grosgrain ribbon, and sewed a few stitches in the top center hem so the ribbon wouldn’t fall out. I then bunched up the satin on either side of that center stitch to give the neckline a gathered look, and put a few stitches in either end vertically from the top to the hem. And, done. You could leave the ribbon long and tie it around your child’s neck, but I’m paranoid, so I’ll be trimming it and sewing some basic velcro squares that would open under pressure.
I will say, in the end, what happened to me in my quest to make my son’s Halloween costume (with a cape) was a blessing in disguise, as I like the final result better than I would have liked the initial version. Live and learn. And when in doubt, stay away from the iron.