any advice on making capes?
Ooh, I love capes!
Types of capes:
There are different types of capes. Let's take a look at a few options.
Rectangle cape: the type of cape American superheroes wear. They consist out of a simple rectangle that can be tied or clasped at the neck. Use gathered fabric for extra fullness. This type of cape won't give you a lot of warmth as it will only cover your back.
Quarter circle cape: slightly more flared than a rectangle cape, but will still only cover your back.
Half circle cape: will cover both your back and shoulders and some of your body, which will give you extra warmth. Great for drama!
Fitted half circle cape: similar to a half circle cape, but made out of three separate pieces to fit around your body better. It won't cover you completely, but it will cover your back, shoulders, and more of your body than a normal half circle cape would.
Full circle cape: this cloak will cover your full body and keep you nice and warm.
Savvy sewists will notice these cape types are similar to circle skirts. The idea's basically the same. Instead of making a skirt, you leave your circle open in the front, and cut a hole that fits your neck rather than your waist.
(Image source) [ID: drawing showing five types of coats: rectangle, quarter circle, half circle, half fitted circle, full circle. Text: "Capes and cloaks. www.facebook.com/aliceincosplayland".]
Aside of volume, you can also play around with length. A floor-length cape has a very different effect and function than a cape that reaches your hips, or even a capelet.
(Image source) [ID: a pattern diagram showing four different cape lengths: floor length, hip length, waist length, and a capelet. Text: "6535 Front and back views. Newlook."]
Details like a hood or armholes can make your cape extra comfortable, and you've got a wide range of options when it comes to fasteners, too.
(Image source) [ID: back view of a long gray half circle cape that's been pleated at the shoulders.]
(Image source) [ID: a purple capelet with a hood, frills, cat ears, and lace, tied with a bow at the front. Text: "Gray. Alice and the Pirates."]
(Image source) [ID: a person wearing a brown monogrammed hip-length cape with front pockets and arm slits at the sides.]
(Image source) [ID: a person wearing a long gray hooded cape, standing in a forest and holding a sword.]
Before deciding what fabrics to make your cloak or cape out of, ask yourself what you're trying to achieve first.
Warmth, drape, fabric price, comfort, aesthetic, wearing context,... are some examples of things that can influence your decision.
A cosplay cloak has to look good but doesn't necessarily have to be warm. Choose a fabric that's suitable for your character's outfit, but also keep the circumstances in which you plan to wear your outfit in mind. For example, a warm cloak might pose issues if you do a lot of indoor photo shoots, but convention halls can be pretty chilly.
A fashion cloak intended for winter really does need to be warm! Wool, tweed, and velvet are good options.
A cloak intended for historical re-enactment preferably uses period-accurate materials and therefore won't be lined with fabrics like polyester and such. Which fabric to use depends on the period and region you're working in.
Tutorials and patterns:
Here's a few tutorials/patterns to get you started:
Fitted cloak: winterberry cape (Mood)
How to draft your own hooded cape (The Spruce Crafts)
Pleated half circle cape (Gilian Conahan)
Half circle capelet (Buzzfeed)
Long hooded cloak (Fleece Fun)
Full circle capelet (Project Run and Play)
Four ways to make a cape (WikiHow)
Eight types of capes (Sew Guide)
Half circle fashion cape (Indoor Shannon)
21 free cape sewing patterns (Love Sewing)
Hooded cloak with lining (Online Fabric Store)
Capes and cloaks make for fun sewing projects. They're pretty easy to make: if you know how to draw circles, you know how to draft a cape pattern.
Capes are a versatile garment, and can range from a great last-minute Halloween costume to an every-day winter cloak. Play around with materials, lengths, shapes, design elements, decoration,... to achieve different effects.
And most of all: have fun with it!
Sometimes you're stuck with a sweater you just don't wear any more. Maybe it shrunk or became felted in the wash, or maybe you outgrew it. When this happens, there's a variety of ways you could upcycle your sweater into something new.
Do you like knitting? One way to recycle your sweater is to unravel it into a skein of yarn. This way, you can reknit your sweater into a garment you actually wear. This process takes a lot of patience, but if you particularly like the material your sweater's made from, it's well worth it.
If your sweater has become too small, you could try to upsize it by adding in extra pieces of fabric. You could knit your own, use scrap fabric, or sacrifice a second sweater to cut out panels or gores from.
(Image source) [ID: a gray knit cabled sweater with gores made of floral pink fabric sewn to the bottom, starting at the waist.]
Sweaters that are too big are pretty easy to downsize, too. If your sweater's made of a natural fibre, you could try shrinking it in the wash. Otherwise you'll have to tailor it. Add in darts with the ladder stitch, or resize the sides by using a fitted sweater as a template.
Your sweater doesn't have to stay a sweater! If the shoulders bother you, then remove the sleeves and turn it into a sweater vest. Chest too tight? Cut open the front and turn it into a cardigan. Top not fitting right? Cut off the bottom and make yourself a skirt or a pencil skirt.
(Image source) [ID: a before and after picture of a gray sweater being turned into a cardigan.]
There are many ways to upcycle a sweater. In the end, your sweater is just fabric/yarn in a sweater-shape. You can reuse it however you want. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Scarves, mittens, arm warmers, hats
Basket with handles
Cat ears hat
Hot water bottle cozy
(Image source) [ID: three sweater diagrams showing how to turn a sweater into an ear warmer, fingerless gloves, infinity scarf, arm warmer, slouch hat, cowl scarf, traditional scarf mittens, and a beanie hat. Text: "© Jenuinemom.com".]
There's no need to throw away a sweater if you don't wear it any more or if it doesn't fit you any longer. You can always resize, alter, or upcycle it into something new.
If you don't feel in a crafty mood, please consider giving your sweater to a friend or family member, freecycling your sweater, or donating your sweater to a charity rather than throwing it away.
(Image source) [ID: four black and white photo's of a person demonstrating how to wear a simple wrap top made out of a rectangle with a neckhole and straps at the sides.]
Easy vintage wrap top
This vintage wrap top design is an easy beginners project: you don't need a pattern, you can customise it to your own size, and despite lacking stretch it doesn't require any zippers or buttons.
The top is made out of woven fabric and consists of a rectangle in which a hole for the head is cut. Straps are added to the short sides of the rectangle to tie the top around your body.
There's a lot of variations on this top: to see examples, check out these written tutorials by Sew What Gilly, Freshly Given, Gina Michele, Sadie the Sewing Machine, The Thread, and Mood Fabrics.
AssunDIY on Youtube also has tutorials for two variations on this top: a rectangle shirt version and a butterfly shirt version.
Given the simplicity of this top, it's a neat way to use up old bed sheets and such.
(Image source 1) [ID: a person standing in a kitchen while wearing a gray wrap top with t-shirt-like sleeves and a round neckline.]
(Image source 2) [ID: a gray wrap top lying on a wooden floor. The top consists of a rectangle with a hole cut in the middle for the head. Two sets of straps, one thin and one thick, have been sewn to the sides of the rectangle.]
(Image source 1) [ID: a person modelling a royal blue wrap top with large sleeves and a slot neckline.]
(Image source 2) [ID: a royal blue wrap top lying on a tiled floor. The top consists of a rectangle with a hole and a slit for the head, and thin straps at one end of the rectangle and thick straps at the other end.]
(Image source) [ID: two photo's. Photo one shows a person wearing a wrap top made from a dark blue fabric with white flowers. The top has very wide sleeves. Text: "Free pattern + video". Photo two shows the same top lying on a white background. It has a drop-shaped neckhole, two sets of straps (one thin and one thick), and round bulging sleeves.]