Introduction: How to Make a Superhero Cape

Because you need one, even if you don't know it yet.

I would just like to warn everyone that this instructable includes lots of bad photography. I started working on this cape at about... hmm... 12 AM. Therefore, no natural lighting, and no good lighting in the apartment.

I really must remedy this.

Fighting crime during the night is really hard right now.

But anyway - this cape was made because my friend Josh and I decided he needed one. Josh will henceforth be known as JOSHMAN. The only thing I asked was that he pose for stupid pictures in the cape if I made it.

I think we accomplished that quite well. Jeff and Seth even got in on the action.

Step 1: Supplies Needed to Fight Crime in Style.

You will need:
  • a sewing machine complete with thread
  • ribbon
  • 2 colors of heavyweight fabric (felt) - step three will explain how much you need.
  • nice, sharp scissors
  • a yard stick
  • something to mark the fabric with (a ballpoint pen will work)
  • an iron

And, if you'd like to personalize the cape by putting your name on the back, you will need:
  • contrasting fabric
  • some sort of double sided fusible webbing suitable for applique - Steam-A-Seam is a popular brand name.

Step 2: How to Measure for the Cape!

Grab yourself some handy dandy measuring tape.

First, decide how long the cape should be. Measure from the top of the shoulder to wherever you'd like the cape to fall. For JOSHMAN, this was around 50 inches. His cape will hit below the knees.

Next, decide how the cape will fall on the shoulders. Do you want it to go over the top of the shoulders, or simply hang down the back?

For going over the top off the shoulders, measure around the top of the back, and also the width from the chest to back around the shoulder area. Add the top of the back + to 2x the arm width. For JOSHMAN, this was roughly 40 inches.

If you want the cape to hang down the back, simply measure from shoulder to shoulder and round. :)

Step 3: Make a Pattern!

I sketched the initial pattern at work, and it was pretty awful. It did produce an amazing cape, however. I've included a picture of it because the scanner isn't working right now. :)

Once you have the shoulder measurements and length figured out, it's a cake walk of victory from that point on. As long as you get the basic shapes down, you'll be fine.

The middle piece (the primary color) will probably be the full width of the fabric at the bottom and taper when it gets closer to the top. You'll add the side panels to complete the full width of the shoulders.

The side panels should be cut a couple of inches longer than the length of the middle piece. They will be rectangular.

The measurements of my cape were as follows:

Middle piece = middle piece is 36 inches at bottom, 20 at the top. 50 inches long.
Side panels = 10 inches wide, 54ish inches long.

Step 4: Go Fabric Shopping!

The length of your cape will determine how many yards you'll need to get. You'll want to get a nice heavy fabric - I enjoy felt and it is what I had on hand. I had a ton of it actually.

So, for 50 inches, I used pieces of felt that were 2 yards long and 36 inches wide. (Well, with lots of little bits cut out from previous projects.) I still had quite a bit left over. I chose red and blue felt. Red for the large center panel, and blue for the two smaller panels.

JOSHMAN helped me defeat my fabric stash. :D

While you're at the fabric store should should also probably pick up some ribbon. 1/2 inch to 1 inch wide should be fine. Remember to match it to your fabrics! (Yet again, I used what I had on hand. I only have polka dot ribbon, of which I chose yellow. 'Tis a good thing JOSHMAN is comfortable with his sexuality.)




Step 5: Cut Out the Middle Piece.

You'll want to fold the fabric in half lengthwise.

Draw a line near the top of the fabric that's 10 inches wide. You'll want to do this from the fold out. (Or half the width of the top, since the fabric is foled.)

Then, draw a line that's half the width of the bottom. In my case, I drew a straight line to the edge of the fabric.

Now, use your yardstick to connect the edges of the top and bottom line. :)

Cut this out, making sure to get the top and bottom layers.

I had to draw a the lines I made in photoshop after I uploaded the picture. :P

Step 6: Cut Out the Side Pieces.

I did this by first drawing a large rectangle (54 inches long, 20 wide) and then drawing a line down the middle of it. Makes it easier to keep everything square. :)

Cut this out and you have your side panels!

Step 7: Sew the Panels Together.

Use any old seam allowance... 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch, 5/8 inch - whatever you like!

Make sure that the right sides (the ones without marks) are together when sewing. This way, when you open the cape out, the marked side will be against your back. :)

I didn't bother pinning mine because the felt stick together pretty well.

One helpful thing to note - this is where the longer side panels come into play. When you line up the side panel with the middle panel, you'll want the top side panel to come up a little higher than the middle panel. (See picture for help.) This will help keep things lined up.

And make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching!

When you're done sewing the panels together, fold the cape in half and cut a curve in the bottom if you wish, and trim up the top so all the panels are even! You might also want to use pinking shears to get a nice seam finish.

Step 8: Attach the Ribbon Tie!

You'll need to make a tube at the top of the cape.

Fold over a couple inches at the top (on the wrong side of the fabric.) and pin near the fold. You'll want to sew about 1/2 inch away from the end of the fold, if that makes sense.

Also keep in mind that it's easier to sew over the other seams if you open them. :)

Once you have the tube at the top, take your spool of ribbon and insert a safety pin into the end. Thread the safety pin (it must be closed!) through the tube by scrunching the fabric down over the safety pin and then pulling it through bit by bit.

When it's through the other end, keep pulling until you reach the appropriate length. Then you can cut the end with the spool to the right length.

Now you can frolic outside in your cape if you wish, or you can add a name of symbols to the back of it.

Step 9: Adding a Logo, Name, Symbols to the Cape.

I used another color of felt and double sided fusible webbing. The fusible webbing didn't work so well, though, so I ended up hand stitching the letters on anyway because they were only half sticking.

So here's some pictures of that, just FYI.

Step 10: Work That Cape!

You'll probably need to scrunch up the collar a bit to make it sit correctly around your neck! Otherwise it poofs out. :P

Capes are awesome. Capes make you strong and fashionable. They also make you legendary. (As evidenced by Seth's tribute to the JOSHMAN on his alter ego's dry erase board in the back room, also pictured.)

This cape will also keep you quite toasty on Halloween. :D

Comments

author
albumgeek made it! (author)2010-10-07

Great tutorial! One question though; Did that guy get dumpster juice on is head when he was picking up that trash can?

author
jessyratfink made it! (author)jessyratfink2010-10-07

Thankfully, no, as it was full of old irrelevant media and not nacho cheese :D

author
shawntherobot made it! (author)2009-10-15

i swear to protect the people of instructables (even though is sotempting to destroy)with my new super powers and i will do it in fashionwith my new cape da da da daaaaa

author
porcupinemamma made it! (author)2009-09-25

Ahhhh! Now that's what I call a cool super hero!!!

author
Madrias357 made it! (author)2009-04-10

Give me a few days and Joshman might be facing Max Falcon... *laughs evilly* (In other words, it's inspired me to create one myself)

author
Goodhart made it! (author)2008-10-03

She dawns her cape and immediately becomes Joshman ! ( probably not, but it was worth a shot )

author
DrWeird117 made it! (author)DrWeird1172008-10-25

Ahem. Don.

author
Goodhart made it! (author)Goodhart2008-10-25

J/K :-)

author
Lithium Rain made it! (author)2008-09-21

Nicely done.

Do you work at walmart?

author
jessyratfink made it! (author)jessyratfink2008-09-21

Nope. At a used bookstore. :)

author
Keith-Kid made it! (author)Keith-Kid2008-09-21

Do you mean the store sells used-books, or that its a used-bookstore.

author
jessyratfink made it! (author)jessyratfink2008-09-23

We sell used books and other media.

author
DrWeird117 made it! (author)DrWeird1172008-10-25

I LOVE Half-Price books.

author
Lithium Rain made it! (author)Lithium Rain2008-09-22

Huh, it sure looked like a walmart from the picture...

author
jessyratfink made it! (author)jessyratfink2008-09-22

Hahaha, what picture? Now I'm confused.

author
Lithium Rain made it! (author)Lithium Rain2008-09-22

The one where Josh is behind the building. Those bricks look precisely like a walmart...

author
=SMART= made it! (author)=SMART=2008-09-22

......o-0 you are VERY observant :P, do you work at walmart?

author
Lithium Rain made it! (author)Lithium Rain2008-09-22

Who, me? No, I don't work at walmart. I guess I just notice stuff. I shocked the librarian the other day by telling her how nice her new glasses were...

author
jessyratfink made it! (author)jessyratfink2008-09-22

Nope, if you look behind him it says "Half Price Books" on the door. We're built into a strip center very close to that big jerk, though.

author
ferrari484 made it! (author)2008-10-04

are you not a little bit to old for that <(*-*)> lol

author
jessyratfink made it! (author)jessyratfink2008-10-04

You're never too old to have fun! Or look really stupid. :D

author
thefunkychief made it! (author)2008-09-26

my god man you are ammazzinnnggg especialy the guy with the beard!!

author
niceday8888 made it! (author)2008-09-25

My son will say AWESOME.

author
Cheeno made it! (author)2008-09-24

thanks for the wonderful instructions, everyone needs to know how to build a cape. I can think of a few situations in my life where i wish i had a cape, LOL.

author
Kiteman made it! (author)2008-09-22

Does this mean we have to start doing Joshman superhero projects?

I could do a Josharang...

author
jessyratfink made it! (author)jessyratfink2008-09-23

Just make a boomerang with a beard!

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2008-09-23

Hmmm...

Ithink I have some plywood left...

author
GorillazMiko made it! (author)2008-09-22

Is that your boyfriend? :o

author
jessyratfink made it! (author)jessyratfink2008-09-23

None of the above are my boyfriend. You can see his feet in step 8, though.

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2008-09-23

I never had you down as a white-socks-guy kind of girl.

Or is he a lot older than you?

author
Duckhead made it! (author)2008-09-22

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's JOSHMAN!!!!!!!!!!!

author
zachninme made it! (author)2008-09-21

Awesome :D (If I say any more, JOSHMAN may come and defeat me)

author
jessyratfink made it! (author)jessyratfink2008-09-21

He'd probably just push you down and then giggle, actually. :D

author
Lithium Rain made it! (author)Lithium Rain2008-09-21

Push you down and giggle, LOL.

author
zachninme made it! (author)zachninme2008-09-21

What? Is it a sexual innuendo or something?

author
Lithium Rain made it! (author)Lithium Rain2008-09-22

NO. it just tickled my funny bone, is all.

author
caitlinsdad made it! (author)caitlinsdad2008-09-21

I dunno but the 14th pic looks like the Joshman is having too much fun putting out the campfire...

author
lickapop made it! (author)2008-09-22

MMMmm mmmmmmmmmm the superhero with the glasses is absolutely gorgeous.

author
Lftndbt made it! (author)2008-09-21
Awesome!! Truley AWESOME!!!

Where has this I'ble been all my life??!!

All my life I have lacked a certain something, never could work it out.
I would have fun jumping off things as much as the next bloke..
It gave me a thrill and sometimes even a buzz. I wanted more though, much more.

A lil' flair, something special, something unique.

Something red and something blue. Something "Oh..! I want to look, as fab as you!!".

  • LftnDbt runs into the other room with a leap and a bound.

Oh yeah!! I'm sooo making me a cape!!

Nice work Jessy!
author
animes25 made it! (author)2008-09-21

nacho libre!

author
Omega192 made it! (author)2008-09-21

no way! you work at half price books? that store is awesome :D also, neato 'ible. i already have the beard, now i need a cape. seems like i came to the right place :P

author
The Urban Spaceman made it! (author)2008-09-21

Please do an instructables on how to make a sweet beard like that.

author
bumpus made it! (author)bumpus2008-09-21

Word!

author
caitlinsdad made it! (author)2008-09-21

Haha, at first it looked like one of those drawstring-trashbags tied around his neck, maybe pick something other than yellow ribbon. It's nice to know that even superheroes wear a helmet when riding a bike. I have to make my kid a Wonderpets cape. You should design the offical Instructables cape for the incorrigibles, ahem, instructables members here.

author
Keith-Kid made it! (author)2008-09-21

Jooooosh. The Joshmaaaaaaaaaahaahan. He's the joshmaaaahaaaahaaaan. He's the joshmaaaaaahaaaaeaean. (smosh boxman reference)

author
bumpus made it! (author)2008-09-21

AWESOME!!! I so want a cape to wear when I ride my bike! Excellent instructable Jessy! :D

author
bumpus made it! (author)bumpus2008-09-21

I like your kittehs!

author
jessyratfink made it! (author)jessyratfink2008-09-21

Double thank yous! :D

author
bumpus made it! (author)bumpus2008-09-21

Double your welcomes! And Josh looks like a bear in a cape.. :P

author
snoyes made it! (author)2008-09-21

Stratogale! April 23rd, '57! Cape caught in a jet turbine! Metaman, express elevator! Dynaguy, snagged on takeoff! Splashdown, sucked into a vortex! No capes!

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Bio: part of the Instructables Design Studio by day, stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @makingjiggy to see what i'm working on! ^_^
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