The Last Gasp of Winter Cape!

I’ve plucked this title from Tanit-Isis’s post on her Last Gasp of Summer Dress, except of course we live in opposite hemispheres so I’ve made a Last Gasp of Winter Cape!  My sewing queue just gets more and more delayed during each season until sometimes it is almost too late, and I’m glad I’m not the only one, hehe!

I was prompted to “whip it up” about three weeks ago before the anticipated polar blast, but decided it was worthy of bound buttonholes, and therefore thought I should really wait until the buttons arrived so the buttonholes would be the right size.  Three weeks later…

The pattern is from a Burda magazine that I got out of the library – it is #101 from August 2008, and I chose to make the long version A:

I may shorten it (the B version is 15cm shorter), but it feels quite elegant this length.  Plus I wanted to avoid the ‘shorter than wide’ look, as well as the ‘fingertips sticking out the bottom’ look.  And then there is the ‘chop me in half’ look and the ‘hey look, my thighs are widest right here’ look to watch out for – as you can see many Gemini-like indications and contraindications were tortuously considered to come to this non-decision….. as usual second opinions are welcome 🙂

Here’s the back – there is an optional half belt in the pattern which I intended to add, but it meant sewing another two bound buttonholes, funny how it suddenly seemed unimportant!

And some all-important detail shots:

I do love the generous collar, but the collar stand doesn’t really need the extension.  If I was making it again, I’d leave the extension off, as it doesn’t look as great with the top buttons undone trenchcoat style. That would be handy in our warm temperate winters – I’d chop it off now if there wasn’t a buttonhole in the middle!

And on the inside I pickstitched the lining/facing seam, because I’m just loving this hand-touched look at the moment! The seam is actually machined and the stitching is purely decorative.

I’ve only made one other cape in my life, and the first thing that comes to mind when you slip one on is: “what do I do with my hands?!”.  It takes a little getting used to!

I did get into a bit of a kerfuffle with my handbag and gloves and arm openings when I boarded a bus and hurriedly tried to find some bus money – lucky it was just me and the bus driver!  But I do hope to eventually be able to make it through a Cape Day with elegance!

Do you own a cape, or plan to make one soon? How do you find the movement factor – can you manoeuvre your arms OK, or are they outmanoeuvred by the cape?!

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Designer, Patternmaker, Blogger Of All Things Sewing. Follow as I share projects, patterns, and my favourite tricks of the trade.

40 thoughts on “The Last Gasp of Winter Cape!

  1. I have not sewn a cape, but I certainly will when the inspiration hits. I know the arms can be awkward but the style makes it worth the extra effort.
    Your buttonholes and overall construction is very inspiring.


  2. Ooh, love this! The buttonholes are spectacular. I don't know how you do it. I've made a cape that I love (the Lindsey cape on Burdastyle) but it's short. I don't have to many issues with my arms, but I hate that I can't throw my purse over my shoulder.


  3. I have found the best capes are the ones with arm holes AND pockets. you can pop your arms out of the holes and into the pockets and it makes the whole thing a lot less awkward.

    I got a lovely red wool cape from Tara Starlet which is reversible (it has red plaid on the inside)! I was amazed when I found out it was 2 capes in 1!

    but yeah capes with pockets are my fav!



  4. The cape looks great on you. The size/proportions are just right I think. It is easy to add a security pocket on the inside to keep bus tokens, change, keys etc. Make a little square from left over fabrics, line it. Make a flap for the top the same way. attach a snap or velcro tab for a closure. then hand stitch it to a place on the inside that will be easily to reach. I am right handed so I place my pocket on the left. just a thought, is that as clear as mud???


  5. You look fantastic in your cape, it is very elegant in that length and colour – interesting that Burda were doing them in 2008 and they are everywhere now. I like the idea of a cape but in reality it would probably only be just the right temperature to wear it for about one day!


  6. Lovely! I like the length, but I think the shorter would have been fine, too.

    I love looking at capes but don't really find them practical for everyday… oh, and my hands would be inside, stuffed in my jeans pockets, because that's where they usually end up ;).


  7. Cape perfection! Well done. Yes, I've made a cape and I do love it. It doesn't have openings for your arms, so it wears more like a blanket tossed over your shoulders. Wearing a handbag was hard, until I strung it crossbody.


  8. Absolutely lovely!! I have several capes and really love them for a bit of drama, even the awkward physical drama (driving in them is hilarious!). I end up leaving them unclosed and end up wearing them more superman style. I've never sewn a cape, but last winter started to cut one quite similar to yours… it got hot too fast and I put it aside. It might be a first gasp of winter project for me!


  9. Wow, it's beautifully made and just so chic! I like the idea of a cape but alas am too vertically challenged to pull the look off! Love the fabric and lining, gorgeous colours. x


  10. I had to LOL at your comments about negotiating everyday life with your cape. I can't even do that without a cape, or gloves or anything. Your work is exquisite as usual.


  11. I love your cape and your level of detail (something I'm trying to learn) – your hand stitching is impeccable and those buttonholes – wow!
    I've just bought the wool binding for my New York Cape (Tessuti) so will be making it this weekend – still a bit chilly here in Melbourne.
    Love your work.


  12. Sherry, this is quite fabulous! And I really enjoyed your reasoning behind going for the longer length; if only more of us applied such critique to our ensembles… You are one classy lady! You chose the perfect length, imo

    And of course your workmanship is absolutely superb, the detail shots are like viewing a masterpiece!! Those bound buttonholes are completely magnificent!!
    You are the Queen of bound buttonholes!


  13. I think that the length of your cape is just great, please don't shorten it…
    The color is also wonderfull, that's one of my favorite!
    I admire your precise work and i enjoy all your advices and tutorials, i was very pleased when i tried the hand rolled seams after reading your article with the emerald green top.
    Thank you for all the work and time you put in your blog!

    xxx from france!


  14. It looks really great on you-I've been thinking about making this cape, but I'm just not sure about the placement of the openings- do you find them comfortable? I just think I'd prefer them further apart, directly in front of my elbows.also I'm glad you left off the huge pockets- I thought they looked kind of silly in the magazine!


  15. I think it's very elegant. I really admire your beautiful stitching.

    I made a Burda cape for my then 4yo daughter a few years ago (it was my first Burda pattern!) She tried to wear it with the arm slits up at her shoulders.


  16. Gorgeous cape and it is the perfect length. The workmanship on the buttonholes and topstitching is perfection. I think capes are very chic but can't picture myself going shopping in one. Of course it might be quite cozy and warm while cheering on DS at his ice hockey game. Hmm I think I have just given myself a reason to sew one.


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