Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cape Tutorial

This weekend we will be celebrating my nephew's third birthday. He (and his two older brothers) LOVE dressing up as superheroes. Brian came up with the brilliant idea that I sew some capes for Mr. N this weekend. I found a GREAT tutorial that I slightly adapted. The cost and time requirements were relatively low. Additionally, I am making the capes reversible, which will save my sister-in-law a bit of space when storing the capes.

Project Breakdown:

Step 1: Go Shopping!
- Purchase cape fabric. I went to Hobby Lobby where they have 52" wide satin for $3/yd. I purchased 1 yd in four fabrics. This was enough to make TWO capes in each color.
- Purchase decorative fabric for the symbols. The sequins and lame were $6-7/yd. I purchased a 1/4 yd in each color, but could have gotten away with 1/8 yd. I've got plenty left over for other projects in the future.
- Purchase some iron-on adhesive. I got the Heat & Bond Lite, 1 yd for $3.50 --- this is the most expensive item, so I recommend using the 40% off coupon!
- Purchase 1/2" wide velcro. I would strongly suggest the SEW-ON, not adhesive if you plan to sew. I learned the hard way that adhesive velcro doesn't require pinning but it does gunk up your needle and messes up the tension on your machine.

Step 2: Prepare Your Capes!
- Fold your fabrics in half.
- Layer the two fabrics you plan on sewing together and pin. You will cut both fabrics at the same time - 4 layers!
- Cut bottom edge of fabric for a nice crisp line. (I used my rotary cutter!)
- From the bottom cut edge, measure up 28".
- Cut neck. (I created a pattern using some old tissue paper. I made the back of the neck 3.5" long and the hypotenuse 7" at a 30 degree angle --- again, I used the handy rotary mat with these lines premarked.)
- Cut out neck straps. I just eye-balled about 1" and started cutting. When I got close to the neck line, I started to curve my cut.
- Finish cutting the cape. Because you are cutting both fabrics at the same time, you don't have to be perfect. I simply cut as close to the selvage as I could. At the very bottom, I went back and rounded the edges of the capes for a bit of flare. (Of course, now I am thinking that a square edge would have been much easier to sew, but the round edge will just give me a bit more experience!)

Step 3: Prepare Your Symbols!
- Find your symbols/emblems online or make them yourself. I used Google images and looked for black and white images related to Star Wars and found the Rebellion symbol and X-Wing. For the shield with the letter and lightening bolt, I created the images in Publisher.
- Print images on 8.5"x11" paper and cut out.
- Trace REVERSE/WRONG SIDE UP of images onto adhesive. (They MUST BE REVERSE in order for them to appear correct on the final project!)
- Cut out traced images.

Step 4: Iron-Cut-Iron-Sew Time!
- Turn iron on to medium heat with NO STEAM. - Place bumpy side of traced adhesive FACE DOWN on the decorative fabric. (The paper side should be face up.)
- Iron over paper side of adhesive for 2-6 seconds. (There are directions printed on whatever type of adhesive you purchased.)
- Cut out your adhesive + decorative fabric.
- Peel off the paper side of adhesive and place FACE DOWN onto cape fabric.
- Iron over decorative fabric (adhesive facing down) on cape for 2-6 seconds.
- Sew around the appliques with a straight or zig zag stitch.
- Place two capes RIGHT SIDES IN on top of each other and pin.
- Straight or zig zag the two capes leaving a 2" gap somewhere.
- Turn your capes right side out. - Ladder stitch the gap closed.
- Sew on 1" pieces of velcro on the neck straps. (Of course, you could always do this step earlier to hide the stitching.)

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