|Pattern Description: |
Unlined cape has welt side front openings, welt pockets, facing and hem edges finished with binding, topstitch trim.
According to the envelope I should be a 16 in this pattern. I made the 12. It fits nicely. I could probably even have made the 10.
The Fabric & Notions
2.5m of twill weave grey wool, 1.7m of scarlet viscose jacquard. Thread (lots of it: I used up three small spools of grey), 6 large buttons & 2 small, interfacing, red bias tape.
Cute, versatile and practical, the cape goes over everything easily. I get lots of compliments in it, and made in slightly felted wool, it repels everything but total downpours. Perfect for transitional spring and autumn weather.
The cape has some design issues, and requires a LOT of work for what you get. All of the details that make the cape successful (welt side openings, welt pockets, collar & hood etc.) take a lot of time and fussing, and don't work that well in the end in some ways.
The welt side openings aren't actually that easy to put your hands through, and they looks slightly awkward if you are carrying a purse. Plus, the cape is so short its easy enough to reach your hand under the bottom. The welts are useful for accessing the pockets, but the pockets are rather small and hard to put your hands in to, and the flaps tended to hang outwards from the cape. I put buttons and buttonholes to hold the flaps tidily in place, but that just makes the pockets even harder to get into.
The pattern has you line the hood and then topstitch the lining & hood together along the centre seam line, but it gives no instructions on how to keep the topstiching tidy on both the upper and the lining (I X basted and then topstitched).
The cape is unlined, and the pattern has you bind all the in inside seams with hong kong finishes. Due to some of the thick seams where the back belt and welt side opening sit, this technique is unlikely to look tidy & elegant.
Changes I made for this project
I cut the side pieces so that the grainline is parallel to the side-back seam, and thus on the bias over the shoulders and at the side-front seam where the welt arm slits are set. This makes it fall in much nicer, softer folds over the shoulders, rather than in the stiff, tent-like shape seen in the pattern images. Also, cutting it this way uses less fabric. It's a double win!
I also drafted and added a lining to my cape because an unlined wool cape just isn't that nice to wear, the inside finishes suggested in the pattern (hong kong seams) were fussy and not suited to the construction of the cape, and cape lining are always a good thing, especially when they are made from bright scarlet rose-patterned viscose jacquard.
Finally I used one button to hold the centre back belt, rather than two, just because I preferred that look.
Changes I would recommend/do next time
I'd definitely recommend the change to the angle of the side piece, and using a lining rather than hong kong binding. If I made it again I'd also re-work the welt side flaps and pockets, but I'm not exactly sure what I'd do with either of them at this point.
When trying on the cape with the collar, but before I set the hood, I had trouble getting the wide neckline to sit nicely on my shoulders. The hood helps the cape to stay on my shoulders without twisting or sliding, but I suspect that you'd need to make the neckline a bit narrower in order for it to sit well.
A fun, useful and comfortable garment to wear, and it's very visually effective, however I feel the pattern rather put style over substance, and many of the design details don't actually work that well.
I've got a blog post with a blog post with more photos and construction info and another blog post with the nitty gritty of the construction details if that is helpful and interesting.