Sewing Project – Herringbone Cape of Magic

Cape 2
A little backstory:  I took my first sewing class in August of last year. In that class I learned, among other things, how to read a pattern and how to purchase fabric from a pattern.  During my next shopping trip at the fabric store, I came across two things I instantly fell in love with.  This cape pattern, and this lavender and cream herringbone wool-like fabric in the clearance aisle.  At the time I had no idea how to sew (aside from the cute fold-over supply pouch created in the first class), but I knew that someday I would, and this fabric would be glorious.  I painstakingly picked out the interfacing and matching lining, went to the cutting counter for the first time, and left the store excited with possibility.

Fast (well, more like medium) forward to October 2013 – I have a good handful of projects under my belt and felt ready to take on the cape.  I pulled the fabric and pattern from the drawer where they’d been carefully stashed, and got to work. Working with three yards of fabric is kind of intimidating – there’s just SO much of it.  I remember I overbought because I loved it so much, so I had more than was called for.  With the impending cold weather, current rain/wind combination howling outside, I decided to make the lining of the cape out of the same herringbone fabric, rather than a light satin lining. The inside of the cape is visible at the sleeves, and I thought having the same fabric throughout would make the garment more versatile. (And a little less prissy, really.)

Sewing the “bones” of the cape was really quite simple – I just had to do everything twice because of the lining.  The tough part came in the “finishing” – which really was finishing at all, but rather the start of a long, arduous process. Unfortunate learning opportunity:  read all the steps before starting, and keep reading a few steps ahead of where you are, because pattern companies couldn’t really care less about how difficult a step is once the entire garment is sewn together.  I learned what understitching is (thank you YouTube).  I also learned that it’s easier to do if your piece isn’t already 99% constructed. Ah well.

A few other things I learned for this project – sewing buttonholes using my machine, and sewing a buttonhole-type opening for the belt to slide through; there are side slits in the cape that attach the front and the back, but also allow the belt to come through to the front.

All in all I’m really proud of this one. It’s a pretty fabulous cape.

Cape Pattern
A little embarrassed that this is a Project Runway pattern – but why? I shamelessly had Tim Gunn’s voice in my head the whole time.

Cape 1
Pinning the lining and the outside together, interfacing at the collar and where the belt slits go.
Cape 3
Here’s where it would have been handy to read through the pattern! I ended up stitching through a hole that was about six inches. I tell Ryan all the time that sewing is violent, and this is what I mean! Garments only look pretty when they’re finished; in the middle, it takes a lot of man-handling and things look pretty haphazard.
Cape 6
But it’s so worth it when something turns out right.
Cape 4
I’m definitely pleased with how this project ended up.  A lot of long hours, that’s for sure. I finished sometime late at night, and couldn’t wait to take pictures.  My sewing room is a disaster. (Probably because it’s also the library / office / craft room / misc. gift wrapping area, and is only a 12′ x 13′ spare bedroom.  One of these days I’ll really organize and do a fabulous before / after post, but I digress…)  
Cape 5Cape 7

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