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.
- a sewing machine complete with thread
- 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
- 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