Hi! For the past couple of weeks or so, Charl has been running around the house like a crazy person, arms in the air, yelling "SUPERHERO!!!". He likes to jabber on about how he is flying and that there are bad guys. Ha ha ha! So, what does a good mom do? Why, she rummages in her scrap fabric and ties it around the little hero's shoulders for a cape! (duh!) Well, seeing how this was so cute, I decided that this sewing mama could do much better than that, and over the Christmas break I whipped up a custom cape during naptime. Its a hit!
I know there are probably a million cape tutorials out there, but I thought mine was pretty easy, so I thought I'd add to the pile. So here you go!
First things first... make sure your superheroes are in hypersleep before you being sewing. Mine tends to want to help... so this is the only way I get things done.
Ok, step one! Cut out two rectagularish squarish pieces of fabric. One will be the outside of your cape, and one will be the lining. I chose red (of course), and a cute polka dot fabric that I had in my stash. You may want to take a rough measurement of your little superhero, to make sure you don't get it too long. To be honest, I measured from his nape (back of the neck) to about the middle of the back of his knee just to get a good estimate, but I wasn't the least bit concerned with precision. If you need to, lean on the long side, because we can shorten it very easily in the last step of construction.
Step 2- Make a collar pattern and cut out a piece from each of your fabrics (NOT from your squarish pieces in the previous step please.) To do this, roughly measure how tight you want your neck-piece to be. This will involve taking a measurement of your superheros neck. Again, make this much larger than necessary (2-3 inches) because you need to allow for your seams (stitching) and also you don't want your superhero turning blue and passing out in the throws of defeating the lastest evil villian. I did mine like a little "c". Make sure you add however much seam allowance you think you will need on each side of the collar. I used 1/2". NOTE: A great thing to use for drafting patterns is leftover pieces of newspaper or paper bags from the grocery store. Not only is this usually free (I use that annoying free paper we get a few times a week on our porch) it is actually great to use.
As you can see, I cut this pattern out on the fold of my newspaper, creating a double layer. On the bottom of your collar, you will want to cut this. This way when you unfold it you have one "o" shaped piece. And that's your collar pattern! Now, cut out a piece in each color of your fabric (lining and outter).
There, all your fabric is cut out! (seriously!)
Ok, now to give your collar some stiffness, use some iron on interfacing on each piece. This just gives it some more stability. I'll be honest again here, I don't know what kind I used. I again just used some from my stash that I had leftover from previous projects. I would think a middle range stiffness would work just fine.
Ok, now that all your pieces of fabric are cut out and prepped, let's make our superhero emblem!! (Because, of course, we need to let the public know what to shine in the sky when their is danger.)
For Charl's, I just drafted a simple Superman-esque kinda symbol. (I know... I could have gotten more creative, but naptime's only last so long.)
I just used a standard ol' piece of computer paper and measured up what I wanted. If you would like to use this as a template for your emblem, feel free! I have a pdf template, so if you would like me to send you a copy just message me.
Using your template (mine or your own) cut out your felt pieces. I used yellow for the larger triangle, blue for the small triangle and red for the letter. (I will say that I attempted to do the shadow in black, but it just didn't look right, so I scrapped that idea.)
I just used yellow embroidery thread to hand sew the stitches on with a running stitch. I quite like the handmade look, but if you would like a more "professional" look you can always just machine sew the pieces together with matching thread.
Now, center the emblem on the outside piece of your cape (my red piece), about 7-8 inches from the top. You want to leave plenty of room for your seam allowance to attach your collar piece. Now, pin in place and machine sew around your outter triangle. (I didn't even change out my red thread in my machine, and I think it turned out cute.)
Now you have your emblem attached, and we are ready to assemble the cape!
What we need to do next is "gather" the top of the cape to attach to the collar piece. This makes the cape a bit more "flowy" and not so straight and flat. Set your machine to your longest stitch length. Sewing at about 1/2" sew a straight line along the top of your cape (the outter piece). Make sure to leave about 6 inch "tails" (long end threads) both beginning and ending your cape. Now, take one of your tails and pull. This will require a little muscle, depending on what kind of fabric you use. Keep pulling so the fabric bunches up around the thread. Like this:
You will probably need to use both the pieces of string on both sides of the cape to get it all gathered.Once you have most of it gathered, take your red collar piece, and pin to your outter cape. You are going to want to use a lot of pins, to keep the gathering in place. If you have never used a gathering stitch, be forewarned that you will need to do some adjusting as you pin to fit. then sew below your gather stitch (I used a 1/2" seam allowance) pretty straight across. I have shown where I started and stopped sewing with the blue stars. It really just needs to be started and stopped at about your superhero's shoulder width.
Alright, after you have done this step, repeat with your inner lining fabric. (In my case, the polka dot fabric and collar). We're almost done! After attaching the collar to both pieces, your lining and your cape together around the entire outter edge, with the outsides facing in. Then... just sew at a 1/2" seam allowance all the way around, but leaving the bottom edge of the cape open. Once this is done, turn the cape so that your emblem is on the outside.
For the bottom part of your cape, which should be open like a pillowcase, carefully fold in about a half inch or so and iron flat. Then just do a little running stitch right at the very edge.Sorry, my camera ran out of juice, and I had to take this picture with my phone. ugh.
Press well with your iron. Then, on either end of the collar, attach velcro. (You can either sew, or use the stick on kind.) I also added a button on the outside of the collar for decoration. I DO NOT recommend actually using a button as a closure on the collar. I like the velcro because it can undo easily if he gets caught on something. Using a button is more sturdy for sure, but it could also cause choking and injury to the neck if pulled.
Ok, you're done! Now you can present your superhero with his/ her mighty fine cape. Now for the trickiest part of the whole project... getting a good picture of your superhero, who runs faster than a speeding bullet, with said cape on. Near impossible, as you can see...
My son is apparantly a cowboy superhero, but who am I to judge?
Even superheros need to cool down with a nice cool sippy cup of juice. Especially when a supervillain has stolen their sock.
Hope you enjoyed it!