Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sewing: Opera Collar Halloween Cape (Tutorial)

If you've been following, you'll know I don't get as excited about Halloween as many do. When people learn I love to sew they assume that includes Halloween costumes, but for some reason it hasn't. Maybe if Audrey had agreed to be Little Red Riding Hood... Anyway, I haven't been inspired about sewing costumes for it for a variety of reasons, but it changed this year. Scarlett wanted to be a peacock...

I immediately thought of a cape I'd sewn for Audrey one Halloween (my only other foray...) when she wanted to be Dracula and I wanted her to look like a sweet little girl! 

It was a full black cape lined in her favorite color of silky fabric--purple--with an over sized "opera" collar and black satin bow. The cape has been a staple in our play room. It works for all sorts of adventures. And it was really simple to sew.

If first got the idea for the Opera Collar Cape after seeing the Costume Cape made by Amy. She made hers in a fun Halloween print it looks to be the perfect accessory. I love things you can throw on over your street clothes and be the good sport on Halloween.

So I thought my little peacock could use a cape. Something to spark her imagination, which would allow her to fan her wings, provide a bit of warmth on a cool Halloween night, and most importantly, be played with again. It makes for a very theatrical look, don't you think? I love it! Maybe not such a literal interpretation...maybe she's a Peacock Soprano!

The base of Scarlett's costume is peacock dress. Because, again, I like the idea of putting effort into something she can wear again. This is the Little Girls' Skater Dress pattern (which I'd been looking forward to trying, and I loved it!) sewn with some beautiful lycra knit fabric found through this Etsy shop. It is so silky (which also made it a bit slippery but it was ok). I knew Scarlett would love it.

I made her some leggings to go under. These I drafted off a pair that fits her well and sewed with some performance knit I found at Joann. (Another first--leggings. So easy!)

The peacock Opera Cape was sewn with Northcott Peacock Feathers fabric (it has some fun metallic printing) purchased from this Etsy shop and lined with a silky teal fabric I found at Joann. I think it is intended to back baby blankets as I found it near the flannel. Scarlett chose gold for the ribbon at the neck and I think it's just right. And then of course the finale is really that mask! I found it as a mask/fan set here. It's meant for adults but it worked.

Been dying for an Opera Cape? Did I mention this would fit just about anyone?  It's about waist length on an adult. I need to make one for myself for next year. I've got a tutorial here for you in case this is just what you need for a last-minute costume, or maybe it's something to Pin for next year.

Happy Halloween!
(click through for the tutorial)


You'll need:
  • 1 yard 60" outer fabric (or 2 yards 45")
  • 1 yard 60" lining fabric (which is exposed on the collar) (or 2 yards 45")
  • 2 yards 1.75" satin ribbon
  • Coordinating thread

This cape is such a simple construction! You will just sew your two fabric layers together and stitch a casing for the ribbon. I'll provide some step-by-step, but before diving in here is a diagram with an overview.

The cape measures 60" wide and 36" tall, which is perfect for some 60" wide fabric. However, if you have 45" fabric, or fabric with the print running the other direction (as I did with my peacock feather fabric) you can sew two pieces of fabric together in the center to achieve these dimensions with the right pattern orientation. The seam will hardly show in all that fullness.

When you have your two pieces of 60"x36" fabric, stack them right sides together and pin all the way around.

Before stitching these together, measure down 8" from the top on both sides of the cape and mark a two inch section where you will form the ribbon casing. I put extra pins here so I notice them in my feverish sewing.

Now stitch all the way around the cape using a .5" seam allowance BUT baste across the 2" sections where the ribbon casing will be. ALSO leave a wider opening--about 3"--for turning the cape right side out.

Clip your corners and turn the cape right side out.

Press the cape well so the seams are flat and the raw edges at the 3" opening you left for turning are turned in neatly. Pin all the way around to hold the pressing in place.

Mark the 2" section 8" down from the top of the cape where you've basted for the ribbon casing.

Edge stitch all the way around the cape, stopping and starting where the ribbon casing will be.

Now using tailor's chalk, or a fabric marker, draw two parallel lines to mark the stitch for your ribbon casing. I did this by making marks 8" down from the top of the cape, drawing a straight line at the 8" marks and then drawing a parallel line 2" below. Pin this area to keep the fabric from shifting as you stitch.

Stitch down the lines you have drawn to form the ribbon casing.

Unpick your basting at the ends of the casing to open it.  Using a large safety pin, thread your satin ribbon through the casing.

Trim the ends of your ribbon at an angle to prevent fraying.

Center the ribbon in the casing by pulling it so you have equal lengths extending at either end of the casing. Now stitch down the center of the ribbon casing, catching the ribbon so it's held in place. This way you'll never lose the end, or have the ribbon pulled out altogether. Hooray!

That's it. Pretty simple, right? Enjoy your Opera Cape!


Anonymous said...

These costumes are really beautiful! Love all the colors and textures!

Julie said...

I love the peacock! Your Scarlett is just the cutest! Thanks for the tutorial.

Mereknits said...

Scarlett is going to be so happy on Halloween, she looks spectacular, and very peacockish.

Bari Jo said...

This is a fun idea! Thank you! I'm not much for Halloween either, but this looks like a fun dress up costume they could use again... tucking this away for ideas for my little nieces! :O)

Unknown said...

The simplicity of your designs always fascinate me. So minimalist and so charming. The Carnivale costume with the feather mask is so striking! I have several grandsons who love capes and your pattern is just what I need. thank you.

Anonymous said...

These are beautiful! What amazing costumes!

Jennifer said...

That peacock is just amazing -- all of it! And I love Audrey's cape. Such a great idea to have an adult version on hand to throw over street clothes when passing out candy...

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