Quite a few of you have asked fabric questions about the Woodland Stroll and Forest Path cape patterns, so I thought I’d give you a nice, proper answer in full here rather than little piecemeal blurbs in the comments section.
But even if you don’t have questions, guess what! Britex Fabrics has generously offered to give away enough wool of your choice to make a beautiful cape! Read on to the end of this post for details and your chance to win.
Before diving into specifics, let me take a minute to explain about fabric suggestions and sewing patterns. Since there are probably more than a million different types of fabric in the world, a fabric envelope is never intended to be the final authority on which fabric you can use for that pattern. Instead, the fabrics are supposed to help you make your selections by guiding you in the right direction.
For example, when you see denim and canvas listed on a pattern, you know that a heavier fabric without much drape will work best for that pattern. You can certainly use denim and canvas, but you might also fall in love with a twill that will be great for that pattern, even though it’s not listed on the envelope. On the other hand, when silk charmeuse or silk jersey are called for, that’s a hint that you’ll get the best results from a very lightweight drapey fabric. Denim might not be the best choice there. So don’t be afraid to experiment with different fabrics, but take your cue from the types of fabrics that are listed and you’ll probably be more happy with the results.
We’ve recommended several fabrics for the exterior of the cape: wool coating, wool melton, velveteen (i.e., cotton velvet), moleskin, and corduroy. Those are my top suggestions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to limit your choices to these fabrics. If you live in a tropical climate you could also try a lighter-weight wool. I think wool gabardine and flannel would be fine, as would a lightweight fleece. You might have fun with the newer raincoat/laminate fabrics, too. So you’re looking for fabrics that aren’t too stiff or thick. And you don’t want anything that’s too drapey, either. Fabrics like jersey or interlock wouldn’t be good, I think.
So the rule here is really, not too drapey, limp, or wimpy. And not too stiff or boardy. Got that?
As far as the lining goes, we suggest rayon, acetate, polyester, China silk, or cotton lawn. I like a slippery lining because it doesn’t catch on your clothing when you’re wearing the cape. Bemberg rayon is my favorite because it’s relatively easy to work with and has a lovely drape and hand. And it lasts longer than a lot of slippery linings. (Some rayons and polyesters really creep me out. Polar fleece is the worst offender for the creepy touch factor. But that’s just me.)
Here again, that doesn’t mean you can only use the fabrics we listed. But, as with most fabric suggestions on a pattern envelope, you can learn a lot about the pattern and the desired appearance by evaluating the suggestions. They can give you a hint about what fabrics work best. If you find a gorgeous silk satin that you want to use, go for it! (And I want to see it; I’ll bet it would be spectacular!) If you really want to use quilting cotton (which is understandable because there are so many great prints available), it would almost certainly work but might require a little more finishing along the edges.
So now that you know a little more about the fabrics, I also wanted to alert you to the great selection of wools at Britex Fabrics where, if you haven’t ever been for a visit in San Francisco, they have all sorts of gorgeous fabrics. It’s quite an inspiring place, next time you’re in the area. And fortunately for those of us who live nowhere near Britex, they also have a lot of selections on their website. Here are a few standouts I noticed the other day when I was browsing:
And the lovely people at Britex have generously agreed to sponsor a give-away! (This is the part you’ve been waiting for, right?)
To enter, leave a comment telling me about your most adventurous sewing project ever. Doesn’t matter if it was successful or not. We’ll select one lucky winner at noon ET next Monday, and we’ll notify that person by email. The winner can choose their own fabric (up to $75.00!) from Britex’s offerings to make a cape for yourself or someone you love. Or someone you want to love you. Whatever you want to do.