Capes, I generally think, are pretty useless outside of AmDram. They’ve gone the way of the Roman toga. The Burda style cape looks glamorous enough on the magazine covergirl, who, I notice, is using both hands to keep it from falling off, inexplicably sporting a thick wool outergarment when its warm enough to go without a cardi.
That sums it up for capes, will you need to use your hands for more than the odd brief gesture, will it stay on, will your arms get cold when you do need to poke them out of the holes left in the seams to carry something? The Burda version comes with a hood, the model is wearing it casually tossed back out of camera range. Hoods and me don’t work together either, except as a collar.
I like the hood idea, head and neck warm in one economical garment, no searching for hats in drawers, no need to find a match. Yet, weather inclement enough to need head cover which is functional rather than pretty, usually involves strong wind round here. And hoods just don’t stay put in wind. You can fix them with an unfetching drawstring round the face, but then the hood stays looking frontwards when you turn your head to check if its safe to cross the road, blindfolding you at the crucial moment. I would like hoods, but can’t make them work.
Still, I needed a black top garment of some sort, rather rapidly, the weather was spring-like changeable, neither warm nor very cold, and the occasion required nothing more of me than my presence. Hauling shopping, fumbling for keys or a mobile in handbags not necessary. My only existing black coat has seen too many dog walks to be presentable, and is so seriously démodé as to be practically ready to recycle as Steam Punk. Not an appropriate look in the circumstances. A length of black wool ottoman stashed for 3 years, bought as ex stock from a retiring bespoke tailor, and the speed of making something without sleeves, won me over to try the cape. I resurrected the October issue and rushed off a part tracing of the pattern.
The eagle eyed will notice that the ‘me’ bit in the pattern is a funnel neck rapidly traced off the red coat pattern substituting for the hood. I drew the facing/inner collar direct onto the fabric, without stopping to do a paper pattern . Four main pieces – couldn’t be quicker. I lined it.
Unlined, sorry , a cape can so easily look like a blanket, even when your fabric is a rather upmarket ottoman. I don’t have the front quite the same, zip just stitched in along the CF, faux facing panel effect omitted. No major construction points, except that I faced up the hem. I used a lighter weight wool for this.
The ottoman was way too thick for bulky seams . The instructions in Burda style tell you to press the hem up and hand stitch it. Rarely will a thick fabric play nice on a curvy hem. You can try to shape it in or out on its raw edge (you’d have to do both on this style), you can snip it, attempt to shrink the excess, try to dart out the excess – and still get a ridge after all that work. I didn’t even try that option. I put a button and loop inside about six inches down from the top in the centre front, to be able to wear it open without constantly grabbing at the shoulders. It was fine for the occasion, weather sunny and cloudy, cool, but not windy.