THE CAPE

What youll need: 4 yards of 60" width fabric, matching thread, about a foot square of yellow fabric and the same amount of fusible interfacing, black thread, low-loft cotton batting, one center-release buckle fastener, craft adhesive spray.

Fabric choice has a lot to do with how well this will turn out. For this one, I used polyester crepe, which is machine washable, affordable and has the appearance of a much more expensive wool fabric, which is what the Reeve capes were made of. I have also used polyester gabardine with good results. Fold your fabric in half along the width on a flat surface.

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On the fold, you will need to cut out a neck opening that should be long enough to allow for the folds in the cape.

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The whole cape is basically a big semi-circle, but slightly elongated in the middle section. The piece I cut out is about 4 to 5 inches deep, about 17 inches long folded, which equals 34 inches unfolded. That leaves the length for the cape, including seam allowance, at about 54 inches (60 fabric is rarely exactly 60 inches) which is more than long enough for most people. Im 5'10", so the cape will hang about 5 or 6 inches off the floor when it is finished.
FOLDS: To make this easier, I stretched some elastic belting across the end of a table and pinned the cape neckline to it.

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How wide you make the neck opening is up to you. Generally the ends should stop at your collar-bone, and you need to allow room for the cape to hang off the back of your neck some. This neck opening is 17 inches, but this suit is being made for a bigger guy, so for most guys, 15 inches should be fine. First, turn the edges under about an inch or so, so that the leading edge of the cape (the part that hangs on your shoulders) is a fold.

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The diagonal of the fold will widen as it reaches the bottom of the cape. That fold is your outside edge of the neckline. The photo shows about how far the folds should go.

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Make your first fold the shallowest, because that is where the bulk of the cape is going to fall. Make the second fold, the rearmost fold, the deepest. You are going to want to make the rear flat area of the cape wide enough for the S shield you are going to use. The shield I'm using for this cape is slightly smaller than the one on the chest (I made the chest shield oversized), but generally, the cape emblem should match the size of the chest emblem. When your folds are pinned in place, try the cape on (watch out for the pins!) to make sure the folds are where you want them and that the cape drapes the way you want.

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If they are, straight stitch them in place about a half-inch from the edge of the neckline. Since you haven't cut the hemline of the cape yet, the sides are going to be hanging much lower than the back. Which brings us to the next step:

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THE HEMLINE: Have someone wear the cape when you do this, if you dont have a good hanging bodyform like I do. Position the cape squarely on the models shoulders, as symmetrically close as possible to where it will be worn when complete. Using a ruler, measure from the bottom of the cape at the center to the floor.

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If the selvage is rough, mark the cape with a pin where it needs to be trimmed down. Using the ruler and going around the cape, use pins to mark the same level from back to front, on each side. To make it easier, mark the correct level on your ruler with tape. Lay the cape on a flat surface, and use chalk to draw a line to connect the pins. You should have a large, even semi-circle drawn onto the fabric, with a long flat space along the center bottom edge.

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Remove the pins, and carefully cut along the chalkline. When you put the cape back over your shoulders, the hemline should be perfectly even all the way around the cape. Dont throw away the excess, you will need it for the next step.

THE STRAP: You can use storebought belting for this, but I prefer to use the same fabric as the cape. Cut a strip about 3 inches wide, and the width of the fabric. 58" to 60" should be enough for most people, but if you need to, cut two strips and join them in the center. Fold the strip in half and stitch about a quarter inch from the edges, forming a tube. Then stitch the folded side the same way. Turn the tube inside out, and then stitch right along the edges. You can zig-zag the ends shut. No need to be fancy because these will never be seen. If you want to make the strap adjustable, use sew-in velcro, putting several inches of the hook side on the end, and then using double or more of the loop side about an inch or so away. Then set this aside to install later.

THE S SHIELD: Cut a piece of yellow fabric slightly larger than the size of the shield template, and cut a piece of fusible interfacing the same size. The fabric you use is up to you. I advise against stretch fabrics because then tend to bunch up, but I like using knits because the edges dont fray. Fuse the interfacing on, and it should negate any stretch the fabric once had. Using craft adhesive spray, mount your paper S-shield template onto poster board, and carefully cut out the inside pieces with an exacto knife, to form a stencil. Apply a light coat of adhesive spray to the back of the your stencil, and position it squarely onto the right side of your yellow fabric. Using a disappearing ink pen, trace the outline of the stencil directly to the fabric. Using a satin stitch presser foot and black thread, machine satin stitch along the lines you just drew on the top of your fabric. I suggest doing the interior lines first, then finish by doing the outer edge of the shield. (Do a test run on scrap fabric first to make sure your stitch is the thickness you want, and to make sure it is working properly.) Have an extra bobbin of black thread handy because you will likely run out right in the middle of doing this. Just do it slowly, dont force the fabric through, just carefully guide it around the curves. Stop at corners, lift the presser foot and reposition the fabric for the sharpest angles.

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Carefully trim away the excess fabric from the edge of the outer stitching.

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Find the middle line of the cape and mark it using the disappearing ink. Lay the cape on a flat surface as shown in the photo, and position the shield squarely, using the middle line as a guide. Its up to you high or low you position the shield mine is about 7 inches from the neckline. Be sure to measure from the top corners of the shield to the neckline to make sure your shield is square. Pin in place and stitch to the cape.

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THE STABILIZER: This is what keeps your cape looking perfect every time you put it on. Lay the cape flat as shown in the photo.

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Using the excess fabric cut from the cape, cut a shape as shown in the photo, with the top edge cut to match the cape's neckline.

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The sides of this piece should be folded under about a half inch and hemmed, after which the top edges should be just shy of the width of the neckline. The bottom of this piece can be serged if you have a serger, or just use a close zig-zag stitch along the edge. Stitch this piece to the neckline with right sides of the fabric together.

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Line up the center of the strap with the center of the neckline as shown in the photo, and stitch the strap onto the seam allowance of the neckline.

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Pull the stabilizer piece out from under the cape so that it is underneath the strap. Then pin the loose edge of the strap onto the stabilizer and stitch along that edge.
PADDING: The cotton batting is used to pad the folds a bit, making them look more substantial and smoothing out the appearance of the cape in the back. Cut a piece that is the width of the flat part of the upper back of the cape as shown in the photo.

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Pin it in place inside the folds of the cape, just under the neckline. Cut smaller pieces for the remaining cape folds, and pin into place.

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Hand-stitch the padding into place along the neckline, being careful to keep the stitching from showing on the surface of the cape. Hand-stitch lengthwise on the interior folds as much as you can without stitching through to the top surface of the cape.

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FINISHING: You will need to hand-stitch the bottom edge of the strap to the inner folds of the cape to keep the strap stable, so that the neckline seam stays in place with the weight of the cape. Once again, be careful to keep the stitching from showing on the cape surface. Only do this in the area of the folds, as shown in the photo.

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Pin down the sides of the stabilizer to the edge folds of the cape.

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Try the cape on again to make sure it drapes correctly, then machine stitch the stabilizer to the edge folds. You should be able to stitch all the way to the strap. If you cant, hand stitch the rest of the way. Place the cape onto your model's shoulders inside out, making sure it drapes properly, and then pin the bottom edge of the stabilizer to the inner cape folds.

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Hand-stitch the stabilizer to the folds. To finish the hemline, use a serger if you have one, or use a close zig-zag stitch. Test some scrap fabric first to make sure the stitches are even and the fabric doesnt ruffle. If the fabric ruffles, widen the stitch length. Use an iron to flatten any ruffling edges, and trim off any frayed threads.
Loop the ends of the strap onto the center-release buckle fastener.

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If you made the straps adjustable with velcro, just close the loop with the velcro. If not, stitch the ends of the strap a few inches above the buckle ends however it fits best.

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The great thing about having a center release fastener is that when you are ready to take the cape off, you can press the button through the shirt fabric, release the buckle, and pull the cape straps right out of the neckline of the shirt without having to unzip first. (By the way, it was totally my idea to add the center release buckle. The Reeve capes did not have it, so anytime you see someone using one of these, they got it from me )
Now put on your cape. Swish it around. Stand in front of a fan and let it flutter. Run out in the street and make the cape whip in the wind as best you can. Just remember, you still cant fly. <img src=" src="http://www.ezboard.com/images/emoticons/wink.gif">

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Last Edited By: Apr 17 08 1:17 PM. Edited 1 times.