Finished - a tweedy, silky Woodland Stroll Cape

Lovelies if you need a gateway pattern into coat making then this might well be it. It's the Liesl and Co Woodland Stroll Cape, my latest Stitch 56 project (check it out and get the pattern over here). I know capes might not be for everyone, and might venture dangerously close to the Territory of Tweeness, but with the right fabric choice and styling I think it's a great little wardrobe addition. I've wanted to make one ever since I found a vintage 60's child's cape pattern in an op shop and was utterly charmed by the pattern cover. Actually this pattern also comes in a child's version (the Oliver and S Forest Path Cape) and I can unequivocally state that if someone had made this for me as a little girl I would have been the most delighted and stinkingly cute poppet bopping around town.



Being well and truly Autumn now in Melbourne means I need an extra layer on top of the 3 that I tend to wear from late April through to early October (my Preferred Temperature Range is 28-32 degrees Celcius). I've got 3 good RTW coats in circulation, but could definitely see a cape-shaped gap in the wardrobe.




This is the first Liesl and Co pattern I've made. They only come in a digital format, but the PDF was civilised in size and came together very well. The grids made lining it all up very easy and also very helpful at assisting check-matching when I was cutting out my fabric. I made a small in the shoulders and used the medium for width and length and I'm happy with the fit.


 I agonised and deliberated for quite a while on the lining. The pattern is drafted with a full lining but the lining pieces are the same as the shell, except for a back neck facing. I presume it's to make life easier for a beginner, but I felt a bit uneasy at the notion of the lining not being a separate pattern and I don't like garments lined to the edge at the front openings without facings. I also didn't fancy doing buttons and buttonholes through just one layer of shell and a flimsy lining fabric. Eventually I decided to draft a front facing so at least the front closures would have more stability. I seriously considered a full circumferential hem facing around the sleeves and bottom hem, and if I make it again I think I'll make the effort to do this. 



The drafting was very straightforward and I just took care to make sure it was wide enough for the buttonholes (which I didn't end up doing but more on that later). The pattern uses 1/2 inch (4/8) seam allowances, but my facings were drafted with 3/8 inch to make sewing the convex and concave curves a little simpler, and it worked out beautifully. 

My lining! Don't hate me but I found 2 metres of a divine rusty red washed silk at Savers for $3 and I snatched it out of there so quickly I left burn marks on the floor. It had a few marks and tiny pulls on some bits, so was perfect for a lining, or so I thought. I'm not sure if it is a fabric that stretches (and I guess being a natural fibre it's entirely possible as most linings are synthetic) but when I sewed the whole shebang together I had a good 1cm of it bubbling up and visibly hanging below the hem of the cape (see below pic), and this was even after I trimmed 1/8 inch off the entire lining circumference to encourage it to roll inwards. 




So after unpicking this enormous seam I trimmed around 10mm (close to 3/8 inch) off the bottom edge of the lining and reattached it, and now it does roll in much more nicely. I still hand stitched-in-the-ditch at the shoulder and side seams to reduce the chance of future lining droop. Having a hem facing would obviously have helped to prevent this issue. Even with being a droopy PITA the silk is gorgeous, was very easy to sew with and makes it deliciously warm. 


The outer fabric is a lovely wool blend purchased from Darn Cheap last summer for something like $2m. Shocking I know. So this was really an extremely frugal garment. It doesn't use much fabric though, so splurging on some fun wool definitely would not break the bank. 

My sewing machine is a bit of a turd when it comes to buttonholes in thick fabrics, so after a couple of practice attempts I abandoned the idea of buttonholes and buttons, and instead sewed the underarm buttons (vintage from the stash) through both layers and went with these fun red snaps, also from Darn Cheap. Since taking the outside photos I decided, based on a snap poll of my family on Mother's Day, that it needed a third snap, and I also have shifted the top one a little.


I'm am absurdly pleased with how this has turned out. I was a bit ambivalent midway through, but the simple shape and lovely curves (and check matching - my word it's near perfect!) make me very happy indeed (I do think those curves are rather Chanelesque!). For an experienced beginner I think it's a great outerwear pattern to try or perfect if you wanted a bright, fun little winter piece in an outrageous colour for a very reasonable cost. I'd love to make one in a lovely plain camel wool with self covered buttons. My mum would like one in velvet. And a bright fun mexican oilcloth would be great too....

Thoughts on capes? Twee or chic? Does anyone know if washed silk stretches? Is there a little girl-child in your life who'd love one the mini-me versions these this winter? 

Many thanks to my darling friend Boos who braved a feral windy day without a cape or coat of her own to take these pics of me in Warrandyte. It's so much easier to have a genuine smile when someone is actually behind the camera!


Comments

  1. I love this so much, I want one too! It looks like the perfect transition piece into Fall. I'll keep it in mind... Can you still wear your purse over your shoulder? Great choice of fabric too!

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    1. Thanks Sara - that means so much coming from you! And yes! I can wear my bag on my shoulder - I meant to actually say that so thanks for asking.

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  2. Ooh I LOVE this! I know nothing about silk stretching or not but either way the red lining is gorgeous, and what a bargain! I've been eyeing this pattern on and off since it came out, and so far haven't given in, but you make it look and sound extremely appealing. Mexican oilcoth would be fantastic!

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    1. Thanks Jo - oilcloth would be such fun!

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  3. I absolutely love this! Yes definitely capes - tres chic. I've got a cape pattern which I have been meaning to make up but this one looks cuter.

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    1. Thanks Kate - it's a lot of fun! Would be such a wearable piece for you in chilly NZ.....

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  4. I love it! - it’s so simple and chic !!!! the red lining is fabulous wonderful job drafting it! and I do hate you for the deal on the silk ;)

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    1. Haha! I'd hate me too, I understand!

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  5. Every girl needs one of these in the closet. Love it!

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  6. Yes! Cape! This is so lovely. I had a green and white crocheted poncho when I was a child and I adored that thing to death!!! I am still very partial to a poncho/cape. I love your version. I've had the New York Cape from Tessuti lined up for some time, but the idea of that wool binding (10 metres!) has had me stalled for 3 years. Yep, 3 yrs. I was tempted by this pattern when it came out and you're tempting me more. But I feel committed now, especially since the wool binding set me back $70 or so :0

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    1. Ooh I hope it was made of granny squares! Oh gosh 3 years! You know, it's very Sound of Music of me, but I'd just grit my teeth and make myself do 2 metres of binding a day, come hell or high water, and get it done and off my conscience! DO IT! Cape yourself!

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    2. It was totes granny squares! There were even pom poms on the drawstrings. Sigh... do you think I could get someone to recreate it?? Haven't even cut the cape. Feel so bad as the fabric is to die for and so, truthfully, is the wool binding. It will be done this winter... I think...

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    3. It must be done! Wool binding - so lush!!

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  7. Oh, I love it! Utterly chic; not even on speaking terms with twee... It's a lovely pattern, and I think your modifications have really elevated it to something special. The lining, the buttons, the snaps - it's all just fabulous!

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  8. So cool, well done!! I just ordered the pattern too! It was on my list to sew for a long time now, as I have never sewn a coat, so it did seem to me the perfect gateway drug, ahem, pattern, to coat making! I have a lovely wool fabric bought from Oxfam online, that is just waiting for a lovely project. It's getting ready for summer in the UK, but I'm still wearing my autumn/spring coat, is mornings and evenings are really chilly. So why not a cape to cope with the transition weather? Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Oh I look forward to seeing it! it'd be great for spring too!

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  9. This is so cute!! I never thought of myself as a cape person - but I love the buttons under the arms that make it slightly more jacket like. I think it would be perfect for autumn here too when it rolls around in a few months :D

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    1. Yeah it's a good design, it's definitely more in the jacklet-capelet territory and doesn't fall off or slide around like a poncho-style Cape might.

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  10. Gah, I tried to comment on this yesterday but its disappeared into the black hole between blogger and wordpress... I love this cape, its so cute! The fabric is gorgeous, what a good score! I've always kind of wanted a cape, but I thought it would be a bit dangerous in windy Wellington...the underarm buttons would help with that though!

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    1. Thanks Kirsten, it's very sturdy - but that's why I did a third snap due to the wind factor. I think you'd get a heap of wear out of it in NZ

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  11. This is brilliant! Drafting the front facing was a great idea, and I can see what you mean about a hem facing being a good idea too. I love the fabrics that you've used, and what bargain finds! I'm so tempted to buy this pattern now, this would be such a great cape for a cooler day.

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    1. Go on Lynne! Do it! You'd look very cute in a cape!

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  12. Way cute! I'm cape-ambivalent but this one looks sweet and practical. Shame about the lack of facings, I would definitely add those too.

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    1. Thanks Katie - Cape ambivalence is way better than cape adverse!

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  13. Love it and I like how you did snaps for the front opening.

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    1. Thanks Rachel - it was initially out of necessity due to risk of buttonhole failure but I'm really pleased with the clean look it gives. Thanks for coming by!

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  14. I love your cape. It's so stylish and practical at the same time.
    The check woollen fabric is perfect for this garment and what a genius addition of the red lining and you made a good call on how to insert the lining.
    I want you to make more capes!! They look brilliant on you.
    Caroline x
    http://carolinejoynson.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Thanks Caroline! If only I had the lifestyle that could sustain a Multiple Cape Wardrobe....

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  15. This looks really good on you - I love the fabric that you chose too. I never really thought I would want to wear a cape, but now I do!

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    1. Haha the power of suggestion is strong when it comes to capes! Thanks Heather :)

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  16. That plaid is mesmerizing!!! How it fades from light to dark! This looks super fun to wear.

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    1. It's pretty cool fabric, surprisingly easy to match the checks! I do enjoy wearing it but need to be sure I'm not looking too twee!

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  17. Just saw it on Kollabora. Love the cape!

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  18. Ah!! This is the sweetest cape ever! I've got this pattern cut out to make in a check too! Thanks for the tip about making a front facing, good plan, I'm going to follow your lead if I have enough fabric xxx

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