Capes are back!
I’ve made all kinds of men’s outerwear over the last few years — anoraks, parkas, pea coats, varsity jackets, raincoats — but I’d never made myself a cape. Readers, it was time, and what better cape season than fall?
At Mood’s NYC store, I’d recently purchased four yards of beautiful plaid wool coating in red, creamy white, and blue. (Mood’s extensive online selection of wool plaids can be seen here.) This was a large-scale plaid and needed to be used in a garment with enough drape that the repeat of the pattern would be apparent. After much experimentation, I decided that this plaid really needed to be cut on the bias. Fortunately I had enough yardage to make this happen. (Plaid patterns usually require more fabric so the criss-crossing stripes can be matched.)
My pattern was a combo of an out-of-print Vogue cape pattern and a Daisy Kingdom unisex parka pattern (mainly for the hood).
Working with bias fabric is definitely more challenging than using the straight grain: bias tends to stretch, so I had to be careful to interface my front edges to stabilize them before carefully hand-basting the (two-way) front zipper in place. I decided to shape the sides of my cape so my hands would be visible, and as a result the cape has more of a poncho-like shape. To showcase the bias, I cut the back as one piece, rather than the two pieces the Vogue pattern called for. I worked hard to match the two front pieces at the center.
Naturally, a large-scale bias plaid is not for the shy. Still, it’s cheerful — just the thing to add some vibrant color on a gray day. I love it!
Anybody out there also feeling the plaid cape love this November?
See you next month!