How to sew a child's cape



By Donna Fenske, Nancy’s Notions Guest Blogger

Little girls love to play dress-up, and having the clothes of a royal highness can give her endless hours of playtime fun. Sew a simple, yet elegant, satin cape for your little princess in an afternoon and let her pretend to rule over her kingdom like her favorite cartoon heroines to her heart’s content.

Following these pattern instructions, this cape fits sizes 3T to 12.

Start by gathering your supplies. You’ll need 2 yd. of 60-inch wide fabric for the outer layer of the cape, and 2 yd. of 60-inch wide fabric for the lining, and coordinating all-purpose thread. We made ours with darker and lighter shades of the same colors, with the darker color as the outer layer and the lighter color as the lining, but feel free to make yours however you like—even two completely different colors— because it’s totally reversible!

Use the same pattern size as the child’s usual clothing size. Measure the back length measurement of the child starting just below the neck, and continue to the knee/mid-calf. The maximum cut length of the cape is 30″. Select the appropriate size and trace all pattern pieces on fabric using a water-erasable marking pen. Transfer all pattern markings to fabric, including the pivot point of the neckline opening.


How to sew a child's cape with yardstick compass



Fold outer cape fabric, right sides together, aligning selvage edges. Attach the metal point end and lead point holder of the Yardstick Compass to a yardstick. Align and tighten the metal point holder at the 1″ marking of the yardstick. Adjust the lead point holder to 1″ longer than the desired finished length of the cape. Place the metal point on the fold of fabric at the proper pivot point, and use the lead point holder to mark a half circle.

You can also use a standard fabric or plastic tape measure to create the bottom hemline for the cape, if you don’t have a Yardstick Compass. Align the starting end of the tape measure with the pivot point on the fabric. Place a mark 1″ longer than the desired finished length of the cape. Continue marking in a half circle.


How to sew a child's cape



Cut out the marked circle with a scissors. If making the cape from a slippery fabric such as satin, crepe, or other lightweight fabrics, use a micro-serrated scissors to help prevent slipping, which can result in uneven cuts. Align the neck opening pattern piece at the same pivot point used to create the half circle, and pin in place. Cut out the neck opening, marking the center back of the cape.


How to sew a child's cape



Cut down the center front of the cape to create the center front opening, and cut out the hood following the correct pattern size to match the cape. Cut two 2″ x 18″ strips for the ties.

Repeat all of the above steps for cutting the lining fabric, EXCEPT for the ties. The ties are made only from the outer fabric. If you like, you can clean finish all of the raw edges with a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine, or with a serger.


How to sew a child's cape



For all sewing steps, use a 1/2″ seam allowance. To begin construction, first cut a 45-degree angle at one end of each of the 2″ x 18″ fabric strips for the ties. Thread the tapered end through a 1″ Bias Tape Maker, pressing with a warm iron as you pull the fabric strip through the opposite end. Trim the tapered end straight across. Open the pressed tie, matching right sides together, and sew the two short ends. Refold the tie, matching folds together. Pin, then edgestitch closed. Align raw edges of ties 1/2″ down from the top center front edges of cape on both sides. Baste ties in place, then pin the loose end of each tie to the cape front to prevent them being caught in a seam later in the construction process.


How to sew a child's cape



Next, sew the hoods. With right sides together, sew the top/center back notched edges of both the outer and lining hood sections. Press seam flat, then open. Turn one hood right side out, and insert into the other hood so that right sides are together. Align center front edges and sew together. Press seam flat, then open. Turn right side out and edgestitch front hood edge. Baste the neckline edges of both hoods together.


How to sew a child's cape



Now that the hood unit is complete, attach it to the cape. Match center back of hood neckline and center back of outer cape neckline, right sides together. Pin the front hood edges 1/2″ in from the center front edges. Ease and pin the hood to the cape. You can also baste the hood to the outer cape fabric for stability if you like. Sandwich the hood between the outer cape and lining fabric, aligning raw neckline edges. Sew through all neckline edges. Press seam flat, then open.

Next, complete the center front edge. Fold the neckline seam down toward the lining and pin in place. Continue pinning the center front edges of the outer cape fabric and lining fabric together. Sew center front edges of cape. Press seam flat, then open. Turn cape right side out.


How to sew a child's cape



Finally, finish the cape with edgestitching. Press hem under 1/4″ all the way around both the outer fabric and lining fabric, then edgestitch. Edgestitch along center front edges of both sides of cape opening.

Watch a step-by-step demonstration of this project, and download the free pattern instructions.


How to sew a child's cape



Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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