The Cape of No Hope – Monthly Stitch challenge

So this month’s challenge for the Monthly Stitch was Capes.

Though quite excited to make a cape – there are a few patterns out there I would like to turn my hand to – I was limited by a lack of funds to buy new fabric (and patterns) and therefore had to work with what was in my stash.

Now my stash is not insignificant, but it is largely cotton prints, jersey and a quite ridiculous amount of georgette and charmeuse, none of which seemed particularly cape appropriate.

My first pass unearthed this lovely match:

original cape plan

A vintage vogue reprint and a vintage wool tweed (inherited from my Grandma) in lovely berry shades. Sadly there was just not quite enough of the fabric, no matter how I tried placing those pattern pieces.

Anyway, what I really wanted was something a bit more French Lieutenant’s Woman (or Scottish Widows), so I searched my stash again, hoping to find yardage of some gorgeous wool or velvet that I had somehow overlooked. No luck there, but I did find a rather large piece of some khaki* / olive coloured fabric in some kind of stiff, plain-weave, suiting weight poly something-or-other. Yes, it was another of the mystery fabrics in which I seem to specialise – this one part of the great-99p-per-metre-fabric-haul-of-2012. A word formed in my mind, followed rapidly by another word… Military style.

So my vision of a lovely, flowing evening cape in which I would dramatically sweep into rooms, turning every head as the words “who is she?” whispered through the crowd was replaced with the vision of a rather stiff, drab number in which I would creak into rooms as the words “what is she wearing?” echoed embarrassingly in the suddenly silent space.

Burdastyle cape 16 Burdastyle cape 18 Burdastyle cape 20

Please excuse the dead plants in the background, and the facial expressions and strange hair – and pretty much everything about these photos. I am a bit knackered today, having spent the last couple of days doing some emergency decorating for some friends who were flooded on Monday night.

Anyway – the cape; I actually kind of like it. The collar is a hot mess (or I could just claim it is meant to be asymmetrical…) and the lining is sewn in with the most uneven stitching ever, and for something that I am pretty sure has never seen a natural fibre this fabric wrinkles like a bastard. I do like the lining fabric (though I might need to re-attach it one day)

Burdastyle cape 14 Burdastyle cape 5 Burdastyle cape 15

You can’t really see from these pics, but it is a cute tweedy looking green and red check in a poly viscose that feels like wool.

The pattern I used (kind of) is one from Burdastyle October 2012

Burdastyle cape Image BurdaStyle Pattern 140 10/2012

It’s one of their plus size patterns, so I made it in the smallest available size, figuring with a cape I didn’t really need to worry about the fit too much.

I have quite the collection of Burda Style magazines, but I’ve never before attempted to make anything from them. And am glad that I started with something relatively simple.

I could go on at length about the problems I encountered, but it would be pretty boring stuff so I will leave it at: the pattern was a PITA to trace, and had no visible markings; I found the instructions easy to follow until it came to attaching the collar at which point the whole thing became a big botcheramadrama and I made it up from then on; cutting the lining was 90% guesswork, which was why I ended up having to handstitch it in place while it was on my dressmaker’s dummy (and it is still more “basted” than “sewn”); just to complete my joy, on the home straight I cut through all of the thread on one side of one of the buttonholes…

Burdastyle cape 7 Burdastyle cape 17 Burdastyle cape 6

I added the button tabs to give it a bit more of a military feel, but have not yet attached them properly, while I decide whether to keep them:

Burdastyle cape 10 Burdastyle cape 11 Burdastyle cape 23

Yes, I really am as plum-tuckered as I look in that last pic.

I can’t really see this getting regular rotation in my wardrobe, but it might get some wear if I get around to fixing the collar and the lining properly. It’s not a dressy, evening wear kind of thing, but I am not sure how practical it is for everyday wear. Because it sort of forces me to hold my arms in the front I can’t really see myself carrying the shopping home in it.

What do you think? Do capes have a place in your daytime wardrobe?

*khaki – is it green or beige? I never know…

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6 Responses to The Cape of No Hope – Monthly Stitch challenge

  1. Pingback: The Cape of No Hope | The Monthly Stitch

  2. Gjeometry says:

    Hi there, saw and commented on your post over on The Monthly Stitch and am now following it! Yay! I will be posting my cape tomorrow. (Hopefully!!!!). It’s all done, but I’m having Hmmmm and Haaawing issues over what to do at the neck (bias tape, facing, collar, scarf tie……)

    • rachsews says:

      hi Gjeometry – thanks for stopping by! Just been looking at your cape on your blog and it is gorgeous – the colour is bold and beautiful and really suits you.

  3. Hello! I’ve been reading about all of your makes – not just this fab cape (which is awesome btw & looks amazing in the colour you’ve found! with the buttons & tabs) – I don’t have a cape, but then haven’t made much outerwear yet – ever present & near the top of my to sew list (not a cape, a coat/ jacket!!) Capes might come when I am flooded with many me made jackets & I want a change :-)
    You’ve made some gorgeous things recently – I really love your dresses …..& styling

    • rachsews says:

      Thanks Winnie! I’ve been following your blog for ages, so am delighted to have had you pop on over here! (It’s like one of the cool girls at school just told me she likes my coat…). I have the Robson trench on my list for this Autumn – your red version is so cute – but I’m a little scared, so think I’ll squeeze in a couple more dresses before I tackle that!

  4. Zoe says:

    I’m not a cape person but I do know what you mean about capes making you want to sweep into a room fabulously! I quite like your cape, I think you will get wear out of it but like you said, it isn’t an everyday item.

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