|Excuse the stupid claw-like hand - no idea what that's about!|
The project started with the fabric, some gorgeous wool blend coating fabric from Fabric HQ. They also have the same fabric in a navy check. You might know that I teach a few different sewing classes at Fabric HQ so I'm often there, admiring their new arrivals. This one arrived the other week and Rae asked me if I'd like to make something from it for them to display in the shop. Of course I said yes, and then set about hunting for a suitable pattern.
I wanted something quite simple so that I didn't have to do too much pattern matching. None of the coat or jacket patterns in my stash were quite right, and then I came across this vintage cape pattern.
I bought it a couple of summers ago at - would you believe - a funny little shop at the Bletchley Park code breakers museum. They had a small selection of vintage patterns in amongst other antique "junk" and I think it cost me £1.00.
I wasn't keen on the collar though, so I decided to mash it up with the collar from the Burdastyle Kim coat.
This meant extending the fronts a little, which I did by tracing the front sections for the cape then laying them over the front sections for the coat and tracing the neckline curve and additional section I needed. This kept the shoulder seam correct for the cape and gave me a neckline that matched the collar. I'm really glad I did this, because the collar feels very cosy and luxurious.
I think I spent a whole evening matching the checks and cutting this out, but once I'd done the cutting out things went together pretty quickly. The cape has princess seams on the front and back, and a long seam over each shoulder and down the side. The front princess seams are supposed to contain the arm slits, but I moved mine to the side seams. I tried them in the front seams on my muslin but could barely move my arms. I knew if the cape was going to be worn at all they'd have to be moved.
I did four bound buttonholes, centring them in the middle of one of the squares created by the checks. This was a great help in getting them level and the fabric behaved itself beautifully. I think I must have used a different tutorial to the last time I did bound buttonholes because I found them much easier than previously.
The time I spent matching the checks at the cutting out stage paid off, because look at the pattern matching on the back of the collar! I'm definitely proud of that. This was the first time I'd really done any major pattern matching and while it takes time, it's definitely worth putting the effort in at the preparation stage.
I lined the cape with some paisley jacquard lining from a local fabric shop, and flat piped the seam between the facings and the lining with some bias binding. This could have been slightly neater - it's not all exactly the same width - but I'm pleased with the effect nonetheless.
I bagged the lining, using the armhole slit on one side to turn the cape the right way out once the two pieces had been joined together. I then hand sewed the lining to the fashion fabric around the arm slits.
I think the only thing I'd change about this is that I wish I'd added pockets into the front princess seams, but I'm not going to start taking it apart and adding them.
Thank you very much to Rae and Jacqui at Fabric HQ for providing the fabric for this project. It's currently on display in their shop, but I can't wait for the opportunity to wear it. The fabric was wonderful to work with and is cosy but not heavy.