I love folktales. Fairytales, fables, any of the like. They are magical, wonderful little adventures, with a unique timelessness to them.
Take little red riding hood. The story's origins trace all the way back to the 10th century, its versions changing and developing with the passing of time.
I'd been meaning to make a little red riding hood inspired cloak for quite some time now, but never seemed to actually get to making it. A few weeks ago, two things aligned. I wrote down the concept of making it an invertible cloak, having both a little red riding hood and a wolf side. I also got a large piece of dark grey fleece. All I needed to do was get a red fabric, plan out everything, and finally make this cloak!
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Step 1: Materials
- two types of fabric:
For the red side of the cloak, I bought this darker red fabric with some red details on it
The wolf side of the cloak was made with a dark grey fleece
Taking a fabric of approximately 1.5 meters width, I used a bit under 2 meters of length
- pattern paper
- measuring tape
- sewing machine
Step 2: Taking Some Measurements
You'll need two shapes: the hood and the cape. The third image of this step includes the different lengths, with their explanation following underneath. Both shapes are cut with the fabric folded, hence the dotted line to show the total shape used.
a - Using the measuring tape, measure the approximate length of the neck line for the cape. a equals this length divided by 4.
b - This is the length of the cape in the direction of your arms. I wanted the cape to approximately fall at my wrists, so I measured from wrist to wrist; leading to a length of 150 cm.
c - Since the fabric is it cut folded, you'll need the length of c instead of b. To get to c, take the length of b minus 2*a divided by pi. Which, coincidentally, also rhymes. In other words, you'll want to take the total length minus the radius of the circle.
d - The length of the back of your cape! Again, take the measuring tape and see how long you want to make it.
e - The curve between the two points impacts how your cloak falls. I sketched out a curve between the two (see next step), but you could also add corners or a straight line here.
f - This part is the most straightforward. It needs to be approximately the same length as a, but rounded down.
g - The total length of the hood around your face - time to measure again!
h - Working with the fabric folded, you'll only need 0.5 * g.
i - How far does the hood extend back? I used the same length of 45 cm for h and I.
j/k - These two together balance out into the shape of your hood. You could also opt for a curve instead of two straight lines.
Step 3: Sketching Out the Pattern
Starting with the cape part:
My pattern paper was 100 cm in width, which is coincidentally the length of one of the sides of my cape as well. This made sketching out the pattern a bit easier, since I could just begin with drawing a straight line between the two sides of the paper. Add a quarter of a circle in one of the corners, and mark the arm length of the cape on one of the sides (c). Sketch the cure between the corners and your cape is done! Well, the sketching at least.
Following the measurements from last step, start with the two long sides with a 90 degree corner in between. The neck line needs its accurate length, the other two can be a bit off in accuracy.
Step 4: Cutting It Out
Some steps truly are as simple as they sound! Take your scissors, and cut out the parts that you just sketched.
Step 5: Pins and Cutting
Before pinning the paper to the fabric, fold it double. Make sure the edges are aligned as neatly as possible. I ended up pinning the sides of the fabric together first. Fold down any big creases to prevent your pattern from getting distorted. Place the side of the paper between the regular and dotted line (see the pattern in step 2) as close to the fold as possible. Pin along the edge of the paper, making sure to take both layers of the fabric. Take into account that fleece is a rather thick material, so pinning these layers together can be a bit of a hassle.
Once the paper is on, cut along the edge, again making sure to take both layers. Also be careful not to damage the paper - we'll be using it again for the red fabric.
Step 6: Considering Ears
For the wolf side of the cloak, I considered adding ears to the hood. The reason I ended up not including ears was the simplicity of the cloak's appearance. It has its essential elements with the different fabrics used, and I did not want to overcomplicate this aesthetic.
If you do decide to add ears (which I totally get, adding ears is great):
You're left with a nice bit of fabric from where the neckline is cut out, which is the part I'd recommend using. Sew them on before joining the grey fabric to the red.
Step 7: More Fabric Cutting
For the hood, the same steps apply - fold the fabric, pin down the paper, check if it is aligned properly, and cut along the edges.
Step 8: A First Look
With that the grey fleece parts are cut! Using a bunch of safety pins, you can pin them together to already get a rough impression of the look of your cloak :)
At this point, it's time to move on to the red fabric. The cutting steps are exactly the same. Since the pattern is symmetrical, you also don't need to take the sides of the fabric into account yet.
Step 9: Joining the Pieces - Hood and Cape
Take the two different fabrics and put the right side of the fabric (the one you want on the outside) against each other. Pin them together on the straight line (pictured above) and on the top line - leaving just the two side edges open. The pinned edges are also the ones that will be sewn together. By keeping the two side edges open, you can still turn the right side out. The unpinned (and in a bit unsewn) edges are worked away further along in the process.
A general remark about pinning and sewing these fabrics together: there is a big difference in elasticity to the two fabrics. You'll likely already experience this during the pinning. Rather than aligning them in your first corner, try to keep them in the middle of each other.
To sew the pieces together, I used a regular running stitch. The bottom line offers a nice starting point, since it is just a straight line. Lock the thread by reversing over the first few stitches before continuing, repeating this for the last few stitches.
For the other edge, this involves a few corners. While these are obtuse angles, it is still nice to use the same method you'd use for acute angles: when you are in the corner, leave the needle in the fabric and lift up the presser foot. Turn the fabric to the angle you want to continue in, and put down the presser foot again.
Sewing the cape is a straightforward process, but it does require some things to be taken into account. It'll take quite a number of pins, and you will be handling the fabrics in multiple directions after pinning them (in other words, pins are sharp). On the top part of the cape (the edges going down from the neck line), leave some extra space. We'll be using this to attach the hood in a bit. The neckline itself is left open as wel.
The different fabrics are handled a bit differently in the cape. When pinning the fabrics together, align the neckline.
In sewing, you could consider doing it in one line, but taking into account the elasticity of the fleece you'll like push this forward and end up with an uneven neckline. Instead, approach it in three lines - first the two lines going down from the neckline, and next the bottom line of the cape.
Step 10: The Two Parts (and Making the Hood)
After sewing the parts together as described in last step, turn them inside out to have the right side showing.
For the hood, right now you still have a flat piece of fabric. With the grey side on the outside, fold it double, aligning the parts that make up the neck line. Pin the edges together.
One important thing to realize is that you'll be dealing with a pretty thick layer of stacked fabrics here. Carefully sew along the edge you just pinned, as close to the edge as possible. This part will be visible on the wolf side of the cloak, which is why I slightly folded the grey fabric to hide the red. The red side of the cloak will just have a clean line here.
Step 11: Pinning It Together, Part I
With both the hood and cape now complete, it is time to join them together. Since the cape's neckline is a bit longer than the matching part of the hood, I started by aligning the middle. With that pinned in place, fold open the cloak a bit. Pin the hood to one of the fabrics - in my case I started with the grey fleece. When pinning the cape, fold it inwards to create a clean edge. You can see this in the third picture.
Step 12: Pinning It Together, Part II
With the first layer you just pinned, the outer parts of the cape were not important yet - this is where they come in. Pin them together, folding in the edges. Keep pinning, going through both layers of the hood and the cape, replacing the pins put into place last step.
Pinning these layers is pretty time-consuming, but also an important step to do accurately. It makes the end result look the way you want it to, and it helps keeping the layers together when sewing.
Step 13: Sewing Everything Together
The line that still needs to be sewn now it pretty straightforward. I started just around the corner on the cape part, locking the thread over itself before turning the corner and sewing the layers together. Having the hood in between is a bit of a hassle, but the part that proved to be extremely challenging was all the way in the middle.
Considering layers, what we have here is the folded over cape fabric (so that is 4 layers), the hood itself (adding 2 more), and the back edge of the cape that consists of multiple more layers of both fabrics. To actually get past this, I got as close as I could, and then switched to turning the machine by hand stitch by stitch while slowly moving the fabric ahead.
Once you are past that, just continue regularly and end the thread in a comparable way as the beginning.
Step 14: Almost There
And then a few layers of fabric became a cloak! At this point, it is theoretically even wearable - though not having any kind of closure is rather inconvenient.
Step 15: Adding Strings
Using some of the leftover fleece fabric, I cut off two strings, together with two circles. These elements will make up the closure of the cloak. I first wanted to add a metal closure, but eventually opted out of this.
Step 16: Sewing Them On
Pin the elements together in the corner underneath your cloak's neckline. When sewing, try to create as neat of a curve as possible - these stitches will be visible on the outside of your cloak. I deliberately started and ended sewing over the string. This way locking the thread also secures the string in place.
Step 17: Enjoying the End Result
And with that, your hooded cloak is done! Go out, wear it, and try not to fall over when looking at the water in the forest ;)
Second Prize in the
Book Character Costume Challenge