Try not to laugh, but I was inspired to make this cape for two reasons. First, the cashmere cape I tried on in NYC was still haunting me with its huge price tag and second, because after seeing Lord Grantham in his military cape in Downton season 5. The way he just swung on his cape as he somewhat rudely addressed Mr. Bricker, it was just wonderful! He looked like such a badass and I needed a badass cape of my own.
One of my skills to tackle this year was welt pockets and when there was a class on the Milano cape pattern being taught at Gather Here it was like fate. Bad ass cape with welt pockets with help at hand!
As I suspected, the pattern pieces were very similar to those of a circle skirt, meaning they are fabric hogs! I ordered a wool that was treated to feel like cashmere and even at 60 inches wide I needed 4 yards. I do have enough scraps left to make the Oliver & S cape for Julia if I’m very careful but still, that amount of fabric at the price of cashmere would have been too big of a commitment so I went with the faux-mere.
The cape came together nicely in the end but as the giant pieces are cut on the bias I had some stretching and was very glad to have the expert hands and eye of Virginia with me to help. I had three problems.
1) The facing gave me the most grief, it kept stretching and I couldn’t get the seams of the cape pieces and facing pieces to line up.
2) I tried to flat-fell the seam at the center back but this fabric was really prone to fraying and by the time I had the top of the seam pinned and ready to go the bottom had frayed too much to fold over.
3) I cut that seam open and tried a French seam which looks pretty but is kind of bulky, no good for when I added the bulky facing to the bottom. For the side seams I just did a regular stitch and then went over it with a zig-zag. Since then I have become the proud owner of a serger and wish I had had it at the time of construction!
Virginia walked the class, myself and another woman, Marianna, through the construction of the pockets step by step and I’m really happy with mine. I was imagining my first go would come out poorly but they actually look nice!
The wrap around facing (my name for it) is a great way to finish all of edges while adding structure since its interfaced. It also adds a nice bit of swing to the bottom and makes me feel extra badass. Unfortunately its been really cold and snowy in New England and without something sustainable under it, I haven’t had much chance to wear my cape. So let me leave you with my “too much snow” look!