Friday, 7 October 2011

Cape Fear or Cape of Good Hope?

Throughout the last winter I harboured a hankering for a cape but I never got around to making one. This year I decided to jump right in and make one before those nagging suspicions that a cape would look silly and be totally impractical stopped me.

Maybe a bit silly and only a little impractical!

Right now there seem to be quite a few patterns for capes in the current collections but, as it happens, I used a vintage pattern


What especially attracted me to this pattern is that it's reversible - two capes for the effort of one!

If this wind blows me away, will this cape help me fly?

Although a cape doesn't really have to fit very closely anywhere I did go to the trouble of making a muslin to get some idea of how this was going to look on me. I'm glad that I did because it made me realise that a long version was going to swamp me and that to look more modern it needed to be quite a bit shorter than the shortest version of this pattern. I also discovered that if the arm slits were longer it would allow a bit more arm movement. I should, perhaps, also mention that at this point my husband looked pretty dubious about the whole cape prospect, muttering that he didn't want to put me off something that I was clearly hell bent on making but he didn't have high hopes for the finished garment.

I used 100% wool in a dark grey for one side and pale grey for the other. Because I felt it needed a little glamour and cosiness I decided to experiment and make the collar in a white faux fur.

Nothing like a bit of faux fur for glamour!

Also, I used a metallic silver thread for the topstitching around the front, the hem and the pocket slits. The whole thing was super-easy to make. It only needed two buttonholes at the top, one on either side. These are fastened together by sewing two buttons together with a thread link so it can be buttoned up whichever way round I am wearing it -


I went through the construction process with mixed feelings - Fear and Hope. So, what's my final verdict on the cape? Well, I do like the way it turned out. I can also tell you that when my husband saw it finished he looked quite startled and told me that it looked a million times better than he had feared: in fact he really likes it. Since making it I have worn it twice and it is perfect for just throwing on when going out for dinner or to visit friends. I wouldn't, however, choose to wear it for a day of shopping because you can't carry a bag over your shoulder: you have to clasp it in your hand, which is a little restricting. I doubt if I will make another cape but I'm really happy that I have this one and have, finally, got the cape craving out of my system!

What about you - is a cape a garment that you would ever consider wearing, do you like the look, hate it, or does the sheer impracticality of a cape rule it out for you? I’d love to know ……

37 comments:

  1. I personally wouldn't wear one, I used ot have a cape when I was little and it made me look like a ball, I went so round!
    But I think this looks great on you, you need some long gloves to finish the look. I think they're lovely and feel cosy and warm.

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  2. The cape turned out very nicely. Why are you not smiling? I made a cape from an Irish wool tweed many years ago. It still hangs in my hall closet. Maybe I should take it out and give it a wearing. It is also a short length.
    Gita

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  3. Don't you love it when a project turns out better than you had expected? Your cape is lovely and I love the touch of fur. I have been considering a cape myself and thanks to you I might start pulling fabrics this afternoon for consideration.

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  4. Love your cape! The little fur collar is just perfect.
    I used to have a cape - a long flowy thing in plaid mohair. I loved it, but for my life, it turned out to be rather impractical. Getting in and out of a car, driving - all severely hampered by said cape. That cape has since become a jacket, which is much easier to wear, and therefore sees daylight much more often.

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  5. Oh I love it! Especially the lighter colored side. Hmmm, I've been tempted to make a cape - they're having a moment, and I was chilly this morning and wishing I had one. BUT I sew so slowly that I think by the time I'd be done with one it would be passe. Oh well. But yours is FAB so definitely work it as much as you can this Autumn!

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  6. I've been hankering for a cape as well, although I'm not sure it would be very practical for my mommy lifestyle. :) I love yours! It is so glamorous with the fur collar!

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  7. I wanted to knit a cape a few years ago, but my aunt talked me out of it. She had one the last time they were in vogue, and she said just what you and Irene said: she couldn't drive, she couldn't carry her purse, etc. I never thought about those things, so I was glad to have her input. Still, capes look smashing, and yours is lovely! For a special event, I would wear one.
    I had a hard time getting this comment to post, so I hope you don't mind that I'm linking my blog address here, bc it refuses to link to my name. http://livinginred.wordpress.com

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  8. hmm, I don't think I woud wear one - but it looks great on you, love the double sided feature, and the fur collar, cozy!

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  9. Your cape looks beautiful... I picture a shopping trip for an elbow pair length gloves! Oh wait, with your talent you'll probably make those too! Beautiful work, especially love the collar.

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  10. It is a-dor-a-ble! Seriously cute - I'm glad your husband likes it too! It looks cute and comfy and love the fur touch! How difficult!

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  11. Really nice. I bought some fabric and a vintage cape pattern. I have not sewed anything clothing wise since the 70's, so I thought the cape might be easier than other things. One of these days I may drag out my sewing machine and try to make it.
    I like the faux fur on yours.

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  12. For two years, I have been thinking "no way do I need a cape." Slowly, my resistance is melting away. It's starting to seem like a very good idea indeed! Your faux fur collar makes this cape doubly fashionable. I've seen a lot of fur collars as well as capes recently.

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  13. Outstanding, Eugene. You look great. A cape is on my list too.

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  14. Looking absolutely stunning as always! Love it :-)

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  15. I`m glad this turned out and you are happy with your result - worth all the hard work. I don`t need to wear garments such as capes and long coats where I live.

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  16. Love it on you! The length is perfect. I've been thinking of making one to and I think I will add it to my list.

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  17. I'll be honest - it looks weird when you have your hands hanging out of the front holding onto a bag (and it's obvious that you know that from the photos). I'm going to guess that on the couple of times you have worn it, you have kept your arms inside the cape and just "swooshed" it back when you need to reach for a doorbell, or your husband's arm, rather than putting them through the slit.

    I totally understand the "need" for a cape, but I will admit that seeing yours makes me realise that as great as they look on the pattern envelopes, or in Burda, they don't really translate into real life.

    I have read your blog from beginning to end (discovered it a few months ago) and this is the first garment I've seen that I haven't liked.

    If I already owned a cape as fabulously made as yours (and reversable!) I would sew up the arm slits and cut it down to just below elbow length; buy a pair of elbow length gloves and then wear it as often as I could.

    Julie

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  18. Fabulous and reversible, great idea. I made a cape last winter and have yet to wear it. Maybe this year and you are so right about carrying a purse.

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  19. It's taken me a couple of years but I now love the look of capes, and I really like that yours is reversible. That said I doubt I will make one, although I whine about being cold, here in HK, winter (which means lows of 8C) only lasts a couple of months so I think I'll make do with the coat I have and concentrate on more versatile jackets instead.

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  20. Wow, how cool that this was reversible....those trendy rockin' sixties patternmakers! I like the cape idea since I live in mostly moderate climates where I just want an extra layer occasionally. I do think for genuinely cold weather they may not be so practical. Yours looks perfect for evenings out but I do understand about wanting a shoulder for "real life" days.

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  21. So sophisticated! You could throw it on over jeans and a sweater and look achingly chic. I have a RTW Pendleton cape from a few years' back and it elevates any outfit. You'll get a lot of wear out of your wonderful version (or, versions? Love how it's reversible!).

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  22. I love it, especially the fluffy collar.

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  23. I admire your adventurousness and I'm all for taking a risk. I think the colours are working and the two sides are really clever, and well executed. I'm wondering about how the fur changes the proportions of the collar and the effect that has on the sleekness of the cape.

    I'm not a cape girl myself but I laughed at Julz suggestion of shortening it into bed jacket territory! That's the kind of nana thing I'd do.

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  24. Capes are so in style! I have a fleece cape with a hood, trimmed in fur. I love it and wear it until the weather turns too cold for it.

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  25. I think it looks fabulous! I love capes, whether they are practical or not. I have a short cape I've made and I wear it all the time. I think your cape looks very cool-- very vintage looking. I especially like it on the lighter side.

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  26. Eugenia, your cape is beautifully made and while it looks very nice on you, it is not a style I'm attracted to. I've seen them many times, actually a few ladies are now starting to wear lighter weight versions here in Florida. You did a great job on this one, just absolutely stunning, but I agree with Gita...curious as to why you're not smiling? Is it too cold out or just one of those times you just didn't feel like smiling? Maybe you too are still on the fence with the cape idea??

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  27. I love capes and think it's really cool that yours is reversible, very stylish. I was just reading another blog and their inspiration magazine photo looked an awful lot like your cape. So using a vintage pattern has you bang on trend :)

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  28. Not only would I wear it, I bought M6446 and V8776. I think they are easy to wear and increase the chic of many outfits. Yours is fantastic.

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  29. Absolutely fabulous!! I love how you have made it reversible,very clever indeed, and you are really getting two garments in one! The faux fur collar is tres chic. I'm sure you will enjoy wearing it a lot, and you look just lovely here. I especially love the paler side.
    (And your title is very very clever :) )

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  30. Definitely not silly and very chic. I love the idea of a reversible cape and the faux fur collar is a nice touch.

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  31. Great job Eugenia! I love your choice to use the 2 color greys and fur. This is a cute little number. I've never been one for capes but your's is making me rethink that:)

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  32. I have made a cape, but only wore it once, on a business trip to Germany. The unavailability of shoulders for a purse or backpack makes it entirely impractical for me. But maybe I should make a goal of wearing it once this Fall.

    Love your fur collar!

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  33. Very nice, Eugenia. I made a cape last year after seeing one at Anthropologie. I love it because it has some elastic which pulls in the back and front to make it a bit more fitted, which was a more flattering fit for me. I love my cape, and I can't wait to get it out to wear it once again this fall! Love your vintage version.

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  34. You've made a beautiful cape! I love how you added a fur collar. In my location, I can't really wear a cape. I'm not sure if I would wear one in a cold environment, but one thing that appeals to me is how warm they must be, like being wrapped in a blanket.

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