Thursday, March 31, 2016

Wool coat to cape conversion experiment

For a long time, I have wanted a long wool cape; an older woman at church had one, and she always looked so dignified in it.

For fabric, I found a large and long wool coat at a rummage sale. I put it in my closet and kept my eye out for another coat in a compatible color, so I would have enough fabric.

But I didn't find one. After about two years, my mother-in-law gave us her old cheerleading cape to use for dress-up play. I looked at how it was put together, and thought that maybe there was enough fabric in the coat I had to make a similar cape. Maybe the reason I wasn't finding what I was looking for was because I didn't really need it.

Well, the coat did have enough fabric, just barely, for a "using every part of the pig but the squeal" sort of reconstruction. I took it almost completely apart, using a seam ripper, and laid out the pieces, and sewed here and pieced there, with many pauses to think about what step to take next. The center front and center back are nearly the same as in the original coat, but the rest took a lot of creative reworking. Capes are usually simple, structurally--only the shoulders need close fitting, and the rest of it drapes from there--but I had to work with the fabric that I had.

After several months, it is now all done but for some pressing:

The curves at the top edges of the hand holes were formerly the side front sleeve seams; I turned those pieces literally upside down.

The fabric left over:

Detail of the hook and loop, which are made of a scrap of thick copper wire, a penny that I experimented with annealing and hammering some time ago, and a piece of beaten wire that we picked up someplace for free:

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