Friday, August 6, 2010

Make: Insanely Easy Cloak

Another tutorial re-boot from

This easy cloak has only 3 seams (unless you're doubling the width). It's a great last-minute project if you need something with a high neck. Depending on the material, it could also be a warm layer for trick-or-treaters in cool climates.

  • A couple yards of fabric. (I like to use "double backed flannel" - really thick flannel - or lightweight wool. If the fabric is too thin, it won't flow right.) See Fabric, below.
  • Yard or so of decorative cord or drapery cord. (Ribbon is too light!)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine 
  • Needle & thread (to make channel narrow, and if you want to do it by hand).
  • You're going to turn the fabric so the that the selvage (machine-finished edges) are the sides. This way, you won't have to sew the sides, too.
  • Once you figure out how long you want the cloak to be, add several inches for the collar and hem. (See the directions to figure out how much). 
  • For a floor-length cape, measure from your neck to the floor, going over the shoulders, and add 2-3 inches for hem and flow (more if you have big hips, etc.). Then decide how high you want your collar to be and double that amount. For a 3" high collar, add 6". I'm about 5' 3" with generous hips and a yard and a half is plenty long enough. 
  • If you want it wider, you can get 2 pieces and sew them down the center. The regular width works well for kids and average-size adults. If you're bigger or just want it voluminous, buy twice this amount. Cut it in half, sew the 2 pieces together down the center (two selvages together) and then treat it as one piece.
  • All measurements for this are guesstimates - just add a few inches to be on the safe side, and hem the bottom last.
  1. Fold the desired height of the collar down and either pin or iron into place (my preference).
  2. About 1/2" from the bottom of the fold, sew 2 seams, about 1" apart.
  3. Run cord through the channel you created and gather until the top fits comfortably around your neck.
  4. Tie knot in cord at one end near the gather, and then, using needle & thread, sew just a few stitches at the edge to make channel too narrow for knot to pass through. Repeat for other end.
  5. Try on cape and note where the hem should be. (A second pair of hands will come in handy if you're  making this for yourself.)
  6. Hem to desired length. I leave this for the very last in case I miscalculated the length in either direction (if I made it too short, I make the hem as small as possible; if too long, hem to desired length and cut off excess).

    For kids, make sure it doesn't drag the floor or they can trip while trick-or-treating. An inch or two above the floor is good for kid-length. Also, use caution with cords for young children, as they can be a choking hazard.

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