capes, capes, capes!

When I’m designing a new style, I tend to get carried away. And over the last month, as I’ve been putting the finishing touches on two new patterns, I’ve maybe gone a bit overboard with capes. But is that so bad, really?

We’re releasing our new cape pattern in a child-sized version, which we are calling the Forest Path Cape, and in an adult version, which we’re calling the Woodland Stroll Cape.

Here’s the story behind these designs. Almost a year ago, I came across a vintage cape. It was beautiful. It had delicate curves and a slightly unusual shape to it that I hadn’t seen in another cape. Seeing this beautiful piece inspired me to try my hand at designing my own elegant cape.

As I got to work, creating a child-sized version of my perfect cape, I decided I wanted one for myself. And why not? It’s a very quick and easy piece to sew, it really highlights a beautiful piece of wool or velveteen, it’s an incredibly versatile wardrobe item, and because of the shape and silhouette there aren’t the intimidating fit issues that so many women fear when sewing apparel for themselves. And so I made a pattern in both child and adult sizes.

 

Forest Path Cape and Woodland Stroll Cape

 

You can make the capes in different fabrics, as we did above, or in matching fabric.

 

Capes

Both these styles are less big and “capey” than most other cape patterns. They are slightly more elegant and refined with their under-arm button and gentle, elegant curves.

Afraid of buttons and buttonholes? Not to worry. If you want, you can use snaps and sew buttons over the snaps to provide the same styling without having to cut buttonholes in that expensive piece of wool in your stash that you’ve been saving for just the right project.

The capes use the same construction method and follow, almost exactly, the same instructions. Both capes are fully lined. I prefer a silky, slippery fabric for the lining. Bemberg rayon is ideal because it’s easy to work with and it allows the cape to flow over the garment worn underneath. If you prefer, though, you can use a lawn for the lining as well.

 

Cape Lining

 

Because the cape is not a fitted piece on top, it’s good for all body shapes and sizes. The children’s cape comes in our usual 6M-4 and 5-12 Oliver + S size ranges. The women’s cape comes in XS-XL sizes which correspond to sizes 0-16 in today’s ready-to-wear sizing. When selecting the right size, focus on your hip measurement. Don’t worry too much about bust or waist measurements. It’s the hip that’s key to determining correct sizing for this style.

As I’ve talked with people about this style, I’ve received a lot of questions about how to style a cape for women. To help, I started putting together a Pinterest board with some great cape styling ideas. You can check it out for inspiration. I also thought I would share a couple ways that I’m wearing two of my capes.

Here’s a cape in a wool plaid dressed down for running errands in the neighborhood on the weekend.

 

Woodland Stroll Cape

 

The windowpane plaid wool that I used is rather dark, traditional, and somewhat formal (I’m a New Yorker and I dress the part!), so I’ve paired it with a pair of worn jeans, casual boots, and a bright yellow scarf to dress it down and add a pop of color. This is the same cape I’m wearing in the first photo in the post. You can see how the same item can go dressy or casual, depending on how you pair and accessorize it.

Here’s another New York-style dark and serious cape all dressed up for a business meeting in midtown Manhattan. (Yes, I still have those every so often….)

 

Woodland Stroll Cape

 

With a skirt, the cape can become more formal. It was cold the day I wore this, so I paired it with a fuzzy neck cowl and elbow-length fingerless gloves for warmth and a bit of texture.

Want some inspiration for sewing a cape in the child’s size? Kristin, from Skirt As Top, has already sewn one up in a cheery blue wool for the Britex Fabrics blog. (You can find her original post on her blog, as well.) And I should mention that if you have trouble finding beautiful, high quality wool locally, Britex Fabrics has a wonderful selection of wools that you can shop online. (And I think they’re even on sale right now!)

Whether for you or for a little one in your life, this cape is the perfect three-season cover up–providing enough warmth for chilly days and enough style for any event. I think you’ll be surprised at how useful and versatile it is.

You can see more photos of these capes on the product pages for the Forest Path Cape and the Woodland Stroll Cape where you can also purchase the patterns.

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36 Comments

  1. Sarah

    I love, love, love the capes! I will be making one for myself as soon as I can get some great wool!

  2. Heidi

    Liesl, this is amazing! I have been waiting for a amazing adults pattern with your instructions! Thank you and well done.
    I must make one as soon as possible.

  3. Liesl…….this is just what I was looking for, so I am totally excited about this pattern! Even though I mainly sew for little ones, I decided this year was going to involve some sewing for me. Just bought the women’s version and will definitely be reviewing over on my blog. I think the other readers are going LOVE this too!! Thank you πŸ™‚

  4. emily

    These look so fun! I can’t wait to make mine! Thank you!! πŸ™‚

  5. I love it! I want to start making one right now. My grandmother made Tyrolean-style capes for my two sisters and me that were inspired by The Sound of Music. We must have looked so cute wearing them. And I’ve been a sucker for capes ever since!

  6. How gorgeous!! I saw Kristin’s version and just loved it!!

  7. AD

    LOVE it! I’ve actually got some beautiful wool that I wasn’t sure what to do with – maybe I’ll finally sew something!

  8. A lovely pattern, Liesl! I enjoyed sewing it, and plan to make another soon. Thanks for the styling tips, as well–you know I really needed those! I’m off to dig through my scarves now……

  9. ooh! this is beautiful!
    just wondering…how much ease should one allow in the hip measurement? i’m very close to one size and am unsure if i need to size up to accommodate sweaters and the like. any help would be appreciated! thanks.

  10. wow. might I have to become a cape convert? I think so! I love it!

  11. AW! It’s so cute!!! Love the adult version on you, and that Tsia is such a little lady these days! Thanks so much for letting me sew it early and for the link love today. πŸ™‚

  12. It did cross my mind a new cape pattern was coming when I saw your pinterest board (and I secretly hoped for grown-up sizes, lol)
    So, now the most difficult things will be picking the right color/print and finding time to sew for myself, right?
    With your instructions and perfect sizing, it will be a pleasure to sew a cape into my wardrobe πŸ™‚
    Love it!

  13. Sharon K

    These are simply gorgeous!! I love that they are in kids sizing and adult too.

  14. Lisa

    Love them both! I always sew for my little ones and haven’t found the right pattern to sew for myself and this pattern looks perfect for ‘after baby’! I just need to find the perfect piece of wool to use. Luckily winter is months away! I made my 4 yr old the cape from LTTS and was slightly envious and wanted one for myself. So excited about these two cape patterns. Thanks Liesl for more amazing patterns.

  15. Where can I get the pattern for this?

    1. Both patterns are available in the Shop section of our website. There are links in the blog post that will take you to the pages where you can buy the patterns.

  16. Erin, I would suggest at least 3″ of ease at the hip. We’ve allowed about 4″, and that’s because it fits over clothing like bulky sweaters. I hope that helps!

  17. Sarah

    I love the shape of these capes! Do you have any suggestions for making them out of something a little lighter-weight? We live in FL, and the cropped length and loose fit would be great for our “winter” 50’s temperatures, but wool would be a bit of an overkill. Maybe a corduroy or a cotton twill quilted to a silky backing??

    What an elegant style for my daughter to wear over her school uniform!

    1. Sarah, we suggest corduroy and velveteen as possible fabrics on the back envelope, and I’m certain that it would work with lots of other fabrics as well. You might consider a lighter-weight wool, too. I love the drape of a nice mid-weight Italian wool! (Think men’s suiting like gabardine, tropical-weight wool, etc.) Cheers!

  18. Rae

    SO great Liesl!! I love the styling pics of it on you, it looks very versatile and stylish!

  19. Fabulous! These are the perfect patterns for a few Moda wools that we have in, and the brand new Field Study Velveteens by Anna Maria Horner. So chic. Hugs!

  20. They look so cute – without being too bulky which is fantastic

  21. Sara

    These are gorgeous – I love them!!!!!

  22. Claudia

    This is the pattern I have been waiting for to use a great length if fabulous battle green faux fur. Totally on trend and faux fur is such a beast to sew with, these simple pattern lines are perfect.

  23. Becky

    I would love to make this wonderful cape in cotton fabric. There are so many gorgeous designs available today – think Bari J and Amy Butler. I live in the southwest desert and heavy fabrics just aren’t needed. What do you think about cottons rather than velvet or wool?

  24. Melanie

    I knew something was up when I saw Liesl pinning all kinds of capes! I think I like the children’s version. It might be a good option to upcycle some old men’s suits I have. I saw some beautiful Irish capes at a booth in the Christmas market but did not have the budget for those Maybe I should just make my own!

  25. Suzi Mor

    Love this cape as well as your other childrens patterns. My sewing projects are split between clothes for my Granddaughters and their 18 inch AG dolls. Is there a possiblity in the future that you will include a doll size pattern with your people patterns? I did make your Popover dress pattern and the girls and their dolls loved the matching dresses.

  26. Carolyn

    Could this cape be made of fleece and be unlined? In Georgia, we have lots of mild weather all winter, so this pattern would be perfect. My concern is the neck and front facing.

  27. Linda

    I would love to purchase the cape pattern but how do you print out a download pattern .? I have never done that with a large pattern , only small patterns that fit on printing paper thanks Linda

    1. Linda,

      The downloadable pattern is formatted to print on standard size paper. There are very clear instructions for how to tile the pieces together to make the large pattern sheets. It’s really very easy and clear.

  28. Lynne

    awesome pattern…..and here in Oregon we have access to some beautiful Pendleton wools at their outlet stores….these would look wonderful and unique

  29. Jennifer

    I have been looking for plaid wool the is sort of juvenile. I like the wools at Dorr Mills- they are reasonably priced, but I have never touched them. It is really hard to buy wool without knowing the texture and drape. Where did you get the purple/pink plaid wool for the child’s sample?

  30. KerryQ

    Next, I need a “types of wool/shopping for wool” post to hold my hand in the fabric store. πŸ™‚

  31. Cindy

    Would love to see more pictures, but on different sized models. I’m thinking this would be really cute as an alternative to a sweater, something to wear indoors as part of an outfit, as opposed to an outerwear garment? What do you think?

    Really cute cape. Thanks.

  32. Donna

    I have woven wool fabric from my handspun yarn. I am wondering if I have enough fabric to make this in the XL size. Can you tell me the measurement across from one edge to the other at the widest point; in other words how wide would the fabric need to be at that point. I love the pattern but fear that I do not have enough fabric. Thank you.

    1. Donna, use the fabric requirements chart. It all depends on the width of your fabric. You can multiple width x length on the requirements chart to get a rough amount of square yards required for that size and then compare that to what you have.

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