Introduction: Snowflake Blanket Cape
This cape/blanket was inspired by a game called Sky: Children of the Light. There was a limited time in-game purchasable Snowflake Cape for Christmas, but I couldn't justify spending $15 for virtual pixels.
Instead, I put that $15 toward making my own real life versions (a single layer one that's grey and another that's blue with two layers) to keep me cozy while working from home. This was made using standard 50x70" blankets and adding sherpa to the ends for an extra floofy touch. I ended up designing a hood also so that my neck and head would have some love, and after a few hours, voilà!
Step 1: Materials
I made two different versions of this cape: the grey one was more of a prototype as I finalized how to use up all of the 50"x70" blankets and only has one layer with no hood, whereas the patchwork blue one has two layers and has the hood. The grey one is for a lefty and blue is for a righty. The tutorial will have pictures from both processes, based on which pictures were better.
- blanket fabric
- You can find mink fabrics in conventional fabric stores like Joann, but it's pretty pricey so I bought cheap blankets (was $10 for 50"x70"). I was able to make a single layer cape from one 50"x70" blanket, but you could also buy 2 yards of fleece or similarly warm fabric. If you want a two layered cape, double that. I'm 5'3" so this size was enough for me, but if you want to scale and make a longer/larger cape, keep that in mind.
- You'll need two sizes: one smaller button for the inner button that fixes the inner edge of the cape, and a larger button for the outside cape closure. The inner button isn't visible so design doesn't matter for that, but the outer one will be visible so choose with that in mind. I bought snowflake buttons to match the snowflake aesthetic. I actually took the inner button from the extras that collared shirts come with (check along the left side seam and on the label with washing instructions, you'll see extra buttons sewn on)
- 1/2 yard of sherpa fabric for the edges
- 10cm of 1/4" elastic for the inner closure. I harvested from an old mask
- 15cm of shoelace, ribbon, or rope; something that can loop around buttons for the closures. I harvested it from some old gift packaging
- paper to draw out the panels
- measuring tape
- The blankets I used were mink, which is a knit fabric so it stretches. You'll want to use a low-lint strong thread, so preferably industry or heavy duty weight thread (not serger or overlock). If you don't know what that means, I also got away with just using regular ol' polyester sewing machine thread so it's not a deal breaker.
- sewing machine
- If you want to sew this by hand, be my guest but be prepared with a TV series. Otherwise, you'll want to use a sewing machine with a zigzag stitch to accommodate the stretch of the mink fabric. I used an industrial Consew sewing machine though since it was all I had access to, and could only do the straight stitch. Even so, that worked out fine for me (albeit not ideal).
Note: I'm sorry for the mix of imperial and metric measurements: I'm in the US so purchased items are measured out in imperial, but I'm more accustomed to metric since I work in engineering.
Step 2: Cutting the Panels
I changed my pattern slightly from the grey cape to the blue cape: the blue one is narrower and longer. You can see the comparison of the two shapes in the first and second pictures above, and see which one you prefer based on the pictures in the intro step. Keep in mind that I'm a 5'3" (160cm) tall so you might want to extend or shorten the length of the shape based on your own size and shape. Honestly the cape is already pretty roomy and flexible so it should fit most people; make adjustments based on your preferences.
To get the full use of a 50"x70" blanket (I'll be talking in terms of blanket but same thing if you bought fabric by the yard), I've mapped out where you should cut the shapes in the fourth picture above (this is also so that the pattern of my fair isle blanket would look mirrored and continuous). For those asking if I took the nap/stretch of the fabric into account, the answer is no because a) I'm a noob and b) I wanted to use just one blanket without much waste. There are two main shapes: 1-4 are all the same and will create the back panel + nondominant hand side, 5 is the front flap on your dominant hand side. This is so that the overlap in the front is in the order that makes it easier for you to reach out with your dominant hand.
In terms of cutting mink fabric, FLUFF GETS EVERYWHERE. Keep a vacuum on hand or a lint roller, and be prepared to have bits and pieces stuck to everything. One tip I heard was to tape along the line you're cutting and peel when done; the tape will trap all the fluff as you cut. I... didn't feel like wasting tape (not to mention too lazy whoops) so I didn't do this.
Step 3: Sewing the Back Panels
Start by sewing the middle three back panels together, and then the fourth regular size panel should be sewn on the nondominant hand side (since I'm right handed, this was sewn onto the left side. Arrange the fabric so that exterior sides are facing each other before pinning and sewing. Back stitch at the top and end to prevent the seams from coming apart. Note that I don't mention serging or any other form of sealing the edge: this is because mink doesn't really fray, after the initial dump of fuzz. Once you wash everything, excess fuzz will be removed and the edges of the mink and sherpa shouldn't fray.
Mink fabric is a pain to sew together so pinning every ~1-1.5" is very important to prevent the fabric from stretching. If you can, also use a walking foot to further prevent stretch. Use a zigzag stitch since mink fabric is stretchy; this will prevent seams from popping if you were to use a straight stitch. If you're worried about this and can only do straight stitch, you can sew in some ribbon or similar non-stretch support material (seam reinforcement tape is a thing). I really recommend this especially later for the hood attachment; my seams were popping due to the thin sewing thread I used, unfortunately.
Step 4: (optional) Double Layer Version
If you wanted to make a double layer cape like my blue one, you'll need two layers of panels. Because one layer will be on the inside, it will be a mirror of the exterior layer. Knowing this, you'll need to cut and sew in a mirror of the other set. The key difference is that the dominant hand longer panel will also need to be mirrored! This means that you need to cut all the panels in a mirrored orientation on the second blanket, so that you can cut this mirrored longer panel.
Sew up both layers of the panels before matching them together, right sides facing out, and sewing along the edge so that the layers are connected. Match up the points of each panel! Leave the neckline unsewn if you want to add a hood.
Step 5: Cutting the Long, Front Dominant Hand Panel
For the panel that crosses over in the front (on the dominant hand side, crosses over to the nondominant hand side), you'll want to make it slightly longer than the regular panels so that it has more fabric to cross over with. Just cut an arbitrarily larger diamond shape for now as shown in the pictures above; you'll be trimming it to fit your body better next. Sew this to the dominant hand side of your cloak (make sure you have the correct edge sewn on, not the lengthened longer side!).
Step 6: Adjusting the Neckline
In the pictures above, you can see that I added some of the sherpa already. It's only on the bottom edges since that's already set; only the neckline and front edges will be changed. Don't worry about it for now.
You made the front closure panel generously long in the previous step, so here we're going to trim it down to the final shape. Drape your cloak around your shoulders and play around with how it falls on you. You want to avoid any bunching, skewing, and folding. Additionally, make sure the front points and bottom points roughly are the same height and not skewed weirdly (back shouldn't hang farther down compared to the front). Mark how you want the front to look like, and cut the front panel to match this.
On the inner, nondominant hand panel, I also cut down the top edge so that the inner closure wouldn't be so close to my neck. (see fourth picture above)
Step 7: Neckline Adjustments: Another View
Here's another view of how I adjusted the neckline in the blue cape. Follow and read the notes in the pictures above. for the step-by-step breakdown.
Step 8: Adding Sherpa Edges
For the sherpa edges, you'll be using 4" wide strips cut from your sherpa fabric. Click through and read the notes in the pictures attached to this step for step-by-step instructions of what to do, though they're also listed roughly below for reference.
- Measure the length of the side you want to attach sherpa to and add ~8cm as a safety margin
- Cut an arrow shape shown in the second picture from your 4" strips of sherpa. The length of the top edge should be the side length you measured + 8cm.
- Fold the strip in half and sandwich the side of your panel in between it. Pin this down before you sew along the top edge of the sherpa. Check both sides after you're done to make sure that you sewed through the other side of sherpa too. Leave about 5cm of the front and end of the strip unsewn.
- Take another 4" strip of sherpa and position it on the other side of the panel. Again, fold, pin, and sew along the top edge, leaving the front and end ~5cm unsewn.
- For the intersection place, the point of the panel, rotate the sherpa strips so that the sherpa sides are facing each other. Then sew a ^ shape along the pointed end as shown in the 7th picture above.
- When you flip this inside out, you'll see that your sherpa strip will match and cover the corner now as seen in the 8th picure! You can just sew along the top edge to tack it down now.
- For the valleys (opposite V shape), sew in the same way as you did for the points except that instead of a ^ shape, it is a v shape.
Do this for the edges of the cape, except for the neck portion.
Step 9: Sherpa Collar
If you don't want a hood and just want a clean edge for the neck, you can just line it with sherpa. I made this a longer lining than the rest of the edges earlier (so used 6.5" wide strips instead of 4" wide) and instead of sandwiching the mink fully between the folded sherpa, I only sandwiched the very edge of the mink so that the sherpa collar would be lighter and would fold easily when worn.
Use a measuring tape to roughly measure the length of the collar and cut out a 6.5" wide x <that length + 3" extra in case> rectangle of sherpa. Fold this in half and sandwich the edge of the neckline between the folded sherpa before pinning this down, except at the beginning and end of the neckline (doesn't matter if you want to consider dominant or nondominant hand side as beginning/end).
At the beginning of the neckline where you'll start sewing down the sherpa, cut the sherpa so that you have a gradual transition as shown in the third picture above. Then go ahead and sew on the sherpa.
When you reach the end of the neckline, do the same angled cut like you did at the beginning before finishing the sewing for that. At the corners, handle them like you did the sherpa corners earlier.
Step 10: Inner and Outer Closures
I'll be using non dominant hand and dominant hand terms here to accommodate both righties and lefties. Note that I did the grey one for a lefty and blue one for a righty.
For the inner closure, you'll use the ~10cm, 1/4" wide bit of elastic and the smaller button, plus a length of shoelace/strap that is long enough to make a loop that goes around the button.
The elastic should be put on the dominant hand side, where the last panel on that side is sewn to the adjacent panel. Sew the button in the middle of the elastic, and then sew the elastic about 2" from the edge of the sherpa (see first image above for reference). Before you sew it down, check the positioning on your body to make sure the cape hangs nicely on you.
For the shoelace/strap, make it into a loop that the button can fit through and sew it on the non dominant hand edge of the cape, opposite from the elastic. Again, before you sew it down, check the positioning on your body to make sure the cape hangs nicely on you. You want to check that the cape drapes nicely on your shoulders without folds or looking skewed.
For the outer closure, take your shoelace/strap and cut another length that's long enough to make a loop around your larger button. Sew it onto the dominant hand edge of the cape after checking out where it would look best by draping the cloak on your shoulders. Sew the larger button to where that loop falls on the non dominant hand panel.
Step 11: Pocket
I love pockets so I wanted to add at least one pocket so that I could carry things around while wearing this. I decided to put it on the non-dominant hand panel so that it's a little hidden behind the front fold. It was simple; I just cut a rectangle from the 6.5" strip of sherpa I had from the neck lining, folded and sewed down the edge that would be the top, and then finally sewed around the three edges to attach it as a pocket. Be sure to do back stitching at the beginning and end as reinforcement.
Step 12: Hood
This hood shape was taken roughly from a hoodie I had. It has three panels: two mirror side ones, and a ~11cm wide rectangle in the middle connecting the two. I just traced out the hoodie and made it ~15% bigger so that my hood would be large and comfy. The rectangle was cut overly long so that I could trim it to the exact length needed afterward. You can use the first picture as a rough pattern for what yours should look like.
I cut the front crescent protrusion overly long (longer than in the template you see) so that I would have more than enough and thus could cut it to fit exactly as I needed. I did a test hood on scrap fabric (excess grey blanket haha) and checked it out before deciding on the final size and shapes of the hood for the blue cape.
Once the hood is sewn up, pin and sew it to the neckline. Again, if you are doing a double layer cloak, you'll need to cut two sets of hood panels and sew two of them to the inner and outer necklines.
Step 13: Cleaning Up Seams and Washing
Go ahead and snip all the loose thread ends now. Go around the border one last time and check that the sherpa edge is sewn on all the way around, in addition to trimming the edge if it protrudes too much anywhere.
In terms of washing, the mink fabric needs to be treated different to keep it fluffy. Wash on delicatesetting and if you tumble dry, do it on the no heat setting (or just hang to dry).
That's all for the cape! Now you can work from home in warmth and style :D
Second Prize in the
Sew Warm Speed Challenge