Monday, 8 February 2016

Caped Capers!

I'm on a mission to reduce the mountain of fabric I currently have, though with each piece of stash used I inevitably have to buy more to supplement whatever it is I'm making, be it lining, contrast trim, and so on. Baby steps, I suppose.

In a bid to start, I dug out some lovely tartan wool from Abakhans, which I've had for at least 5 years:

I considered a skirt at first, but I really wanted a cape or jacket or something along those lines. This was partly inspired by the cape I made for Mr Needles  which I drafted myself. It was so easy, I decided to give it a go.

I started by making a muslin which looked like this:

This was just the basic cape shape, with no provision for arms or anything. I didn't really want this sort of thing, so after playing around for a bit I settled on the shape below, which is somewhere in between a jacket and a cape:

I made a few adjustments to the shoulder shape, the length, added a hood pattern and drafted facings, then started cutting out. I quickly realized that the fabric wasn't going to be heavy enough on its own, so I decided to interline it with some black cotton sheeting. In order to keep it in place while I was working with it, I tacked the cotton pieces to the outer fabric along the lines of the tartan, as you'll see below. The tacking was then removed once the pieces were all sewn together:

Wrong side of hood piece with interlining and tacking

Right side of hood piece with tacking

I did this with all the main pieces, before applying the interfacing which I attached by hand - forgot to take photos of this step, unfortunately! 

I like my projects, especially coats and jackets, to have weight to them; once I machined it all together, it still didn't feel quite weighty enough. I decided to abandon my original lining, a shiny poly, and considered other heavier options, like quilting. I couldn't find any I liked; then after a stroll along Walthamstow market I happened on some black fleece - problem solved!

And here it is all finished up!:

I only had 2 metres of the tartan; if I'm honest, 2.5 or 3m would have been ideal to match all of the seams. But I just decided that some seams would match, some would 'half-match', and others wouldn't match at all. And you can always cut some bits on the bias and thus avoid matching altogether!

There's no back seam, so no matching needed there!

I made extra matchy efforts with the front:

And the hood, which was cut on the bias, got extra attention on the seam:

But the side seam got what I call 'half-matching' - I matched the horizontal lines, but not exactly to the right parts of the tartan - you'll see what I mean below:

Close up of the side seam - sort of matched...
But the shoulder seams - forget it! I've got better things to do:
Not really matched shoulders. Oh well...
Because I thought the front was looking a bit plain, I added a little tab at the last minute for some interest, and to pull the hood in around the neck:

Here's a picture of the linings and facings. The fleece was such a good choice - despite the big drafty sleeves, the jacket is really warm!:

One last thing - I love the simple silhouette of the jacket/cape, but it does have a rather limiting effect on the movement of your arms. Reaching up high for anything does mean the whole jacket lifts up with your arms; not a big problem, but for that reason I stopped the buttons at the waist:

And I think that's it. I leave you with a picture of me looking rather goofy with the hood up:

See you soon!

Outfit details:
Jacket - homemade, tartan wool from Abakhan, fleece lining from Walthamstow market
Shoes - Dries Van Noten
Gloves - knitted by me!
Brooches - Russian Dolls from Budapest, Spanish Galleon from charity shop


  1. such a lovely tartan - the cape is perfect for the largeness of the check. Very nicely done - the matching and 'half matching' and bias all worked out really well ;o)

  2. Oh this is lovely, I really like it. A beautiful pieces of fabric transformed into a fabulous cape.

  3. This is brilliant. What's not to love about purple tartan, and yey to the tartan matching. And lining with fleece is a great idea, I bet it's really cozy.

  4. Wow that looks amazing! You really suit tartan, gorgeous colourway too

  5. What a nice cape ! I like your tartan , looks fab

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