Friday, 31 May 2013

the Cape of good Hope

Here in England we've been anxiously hoping for warmer weather...the newspapers keep reminding us that it's been the coldest spring in 50 odd years or so.  Today the sun is finally out, so it feels strange to be posting about my wool cape!  It's not often though that I get such amazing scenery as a backdrop -- the pictures were taken in cooler weather at the amazingly beautiful Holkham Beach in Norfolk, that one in the final scene of Shakespeare in Love -- and didn't want these to go to waste.   Here I am doing my best stranded on the beach pose...well, good effort anyway.
This is not a new project, and there have been so many beautifully made capes all over the internet for a while now, but I thought I'd blog about it because if your'e thinking about trying a self drafted pattern, it's a fun and easy one to experiment with.  
Patternmaking guides will give you a technical how-to for making a cape, but capes aren't meant to be taken seriously and I don't think the pattern has to be either! All you need is some patience and to be willing to make up a toile or two.
What you'll have to do is take a front and back bodice block, or a commercial bodice pattern that you know fits you, extend at the waist to the hemline and draw matching "wings" from where the shoulder seam would be, eliminating the arm holes and waist dart.

A couple of things to keep in mind:
- make sure there is overlap at the centre front, for your button stand or closures
- measure across your bust and arms as a guide, and take into account the space needed for arm and shoulder movement 
- your arms can either come out the bottom, as they do here, or through larger holes in the front
- it's best of the block or pattern you are using has shoulder darts, to give some shape
- don't forget seam allowances!
- make sure to test and re-test your pattern with a toile
This cape has side seams and a seam down the back as well.
 I picked up the mother of pearl buttons at a fleamarket in Paris  (I say that so casually, like I go there every week-end - I wish!) The button holes themseves are, shall we say, "organic", zigzagged around the edges.  As it's not meant to be a formal cape, bound buttonholes weren't the look I was going for here, and I'm happy with the end result.
  I've had this in my closet for a few years now I can't say it's been a go-to piece, but I'm happy I have it and loved wearing it on this week-end get-a-way.
I added a high collar, stabilising with heavy interfacing, but it certainly doesn't need one.  
Right now my hope is that I won't have to wear this cape again until November...! 
Here's to the sun - have a great week-end! 

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