How to Make a Cape
Learn how to make a cape for your little superhero, vampire, or Elvis impersonator! Fortunately, crafting a homemade cape is much easier than acquiring superhuman powers. Start with fabric from the thrift store, an old sheet, or a discarded skirt, and dye to achieve the right shade to match your child's caped crusader of choice. These instructions are written for crafters starting with a flat piece of fabric, but can easily be adapted for circular fabric. See how to make a cape with these simple instructions.
What You Need:
- Large piece of fabric in the color of your favorite superhero, long enough to reach from your superhero’s neck to just under his knees
- Fabric scissors
- Measuring tape
- Chalk to mark the fabric
- Ribbon to tie the cape, or a shirt you want to sew the cape onto
- Sewing machine if you want to hem the cape
What You Do:
- First, take your child’s measurements. You will need to know the size of the neck opening and the length for the cape. Measure from your child’s neckline to just under his knees for the length of the cape. Measure the circumference around the neck (loosely, since you don’t want to strangle him). From there, find the radius of the neckline circle—just divide the circumference number by π or 3.14, and you have your diameter. (C=3.14r). Halve that amount and you have your radius.
- You will want to draw out a half circle on your fabric for the neckline. The top flat section will be the neck and sides for the costume, while the circle shape at the bottom is the length. Lay out your fabric and smooth out any wrinkles. Find the center of the cape’s top on the straight side of the fabric. Measure and mark out from this center point the radius that you measured before, so that you create a half-circle that will fit your superhero’s neck.
- Next, measure and mark another half circle for the bottom of the cape using the cape length measurement you made earlier. Measure from the neck line markings you just made to make the next half circle shape.
- Cut your fabric on your chalk markings. If you want to hem the edges, add a half-inch seam allowance so that your cape won’t be too short.
- Consider how you want to attach and hem the cape:
Method 1- If you want to secure the cape to a superhero shirt, hem the neckline first by either turning it under and sewing, or using bias tape. Decide whether you would like to hem the edges that hang down as well. Then, have your child wear the shirt, and drape the cape over it, so that it hangs down in the back and slightly over the top of the shoulders. When you’re satisfied that it’s sitting and draping from his shoulders properly, pin it in place. Then, have your child take off the shirt and sew it on right on the top of the shoulders using thread that matches the shirt and cape color.
Method 2- If you want the cape to be independent of a particular shirt or outfit so it can be used when your superhero’s a bit more grown up next year, you can secure it by tying in the front. To create the ties, cut two strips of ribbon that are about 5 to 6 inches long. Tuck them under your hem as you sew it shut to secure them in place. Another way to secure the cape is to use bias tape, which you can find in any sewing shop. Cut a strip of bias tape about 10 inches longer than your neckline, and sew the tape around the hem letting the bias tape hang off either side of the neckline, and use it to tie the neckline shut.
- If you'd like, hem the bottom of the cape. It isn’t entirely necessary, but some fabrics will fray easily and hemming the bottom will help prevent unraveling.