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Former contestant from The Sewing Bee, Jenniffer Taylor shows you how easy it is to make a gorgeous cape that can be worn as an extra layer in winter, a style accessory in spring or a cover-up during chilly summer evenings!
Take your fabric and go to the sewing machine. Adjust the standard stitch setting to a zigzag stitch (1.5mm width x 1mm length). Tip: Using a zigzag stitch will ensure you catch all the fabric layers together, so that when you start fraying, it won’t spread any further.
Put your fabric under the foot of the machine, leaving a 1.5cm seam allowance and stitch all around the fabric.
Clear your space (a large table, or the floor), ready for the next step.
Fold the fabric along the length and bring the edges together to give a fold.
Working with the fold away from you, find the centre of the fabric (using a tape measure or fold your fabric in half.) Note: This cape is designed to go down the centre or the body, not off-centre, which is why you need to find the centre of the cape.
Take tailor’s chalk or pen and make several marks down the middle of the fabric.
Now you’re ready to cut. Note: Make sure you only cut through the top layer of fabric, not through both. You can draw a line, or alternatively, just follow the chalk marks. Go to the fold of the fabric.
Cutting the neck: Take what would be your collar size (measuring around the collarbone, not tightly around the neck) and half it. So, if your measurement is 16” for example, it will be 8”. Lay your tape measure across the top of the fold, ensuring the 4” mark is in the centre. Mark the 0” and the 8” mark. Now you’re ready to cut the neck.
Put the scissors into the fold and cut along the fold to each mark. This creates a T shape (where your neck will go)
Make a slight curve into the fabric, again, up to the 0 and 8” marks to create a soft, curved look. Do the same around the back (no more than 1cm away from the cut).
Creating sleeves: Place the edge of the tape measure at the top of the fold and measure down to 8”. Pop in a pin. Take the second measurement from the right hand edge of the fabric, going about 12” across. Mark this position also. Continue across the fabric, putting in several pins to make it easier when it comes to sewing on the sewing machine. TIP: It might be easier to use tailor’s chalk so you can follow the line easily when it comes to sewing. Repeat that on the other side.
Now you’re ready to go back to the sewing machine. Adjust your machine back to the original stitch (not zigzag).
Stitch from the open edge, along the pin mark (or line). Remember: if you do use pins, remove them as you go, so as not to break your machine. When you reach the point you need to stop, pop the needle into the fabric, rotate it, and then pop your foot back down for 2 or 3 stitches. Pop your needle back into the fabric and rotate again, so you are coming back down on yourself.
Stitch back along to the edge of the fabric where you started. There you have it – one sleeve sewn into your cape. Repeat on the other side.
Finishing off the front and neckline of your cape: Go back to the zigzag stitch (1.5mm width x 1mm length). Leave the same seam allowance (1.5cm) and follow along the front of the garment. When you get to the neck, pop the needle in the fabric and rotate to continue stitching around the neck. Continue to do this until the neckline is complete, and then continue back down the front.
The final thing is to fray your fabric. Take the edges that you have stitched and just pull the threads out to create a lovely frayed effect.
Now you’re ready to wear it!