After my last project I went straight on to another outwear garment as its getting so cold here all I can think about are coats and capes and basically anything to keep the cold off. I chose a cute cape pattern from Liesl + Co. I hadn't come across this pattern company before but when I saw it in Love Sewing magazine I thought the shape was so lovely and simple that it would be really easy to fit into my wardrobe. A lovely classic staple. Admittedly the one thing that makes it slightly unwearable in the current climate is that it doesn't cover you up completely and there are no pockets. Now after wearing my lovely raspberry wool coat for the last few weeks I can tell you categorically that no pockets is no fun!! Even with gloves on its cold on the outside! So even though the cape is lovely I wont wear it until it gets a little warmer or I have super thermals on to protect me from the chill!!
The construction of this cape is amazingly easy. Its three pieces of fabric for the outer shell and four pieces for the lining. The fabric I chose was a lucky find on Etsy - I LOVE ETSY!! I spend hours perusing the various fabric stores. It was labelled as a novelty wool coating and 2.8 yards only cost me £19. A bargain!! I chose a black polyester crepe backed satin for the lining and some black buttons to go with it. I quite fancied maybe getting some with some pink in there somewhere but I couldn't find something that worked (or weren't meant to be sewn on to kids clothing) so stuck with the black. I think a more sophisticated choice in the end.
Sewing together the garment was a pleasure and so, so simple. I applied some fusible interfacing on the front sections where the button and buttonholes are placed and on the neck panel at the back, then you attach the lining and coat fabric together and turn the lining out through a little hole left open when you machine stitch the lining together. I did some top stitching on the cape which helped the fabric stabilise, it would keep rolling out otherwise. I then added the buttonholes and buttons. I kind of hate doing buttonholes. It's great to have a machine that does them automatically but I find whenever I have gone through the practise stage, checking the machine is happy with the fabric and the button hole function works ok, that the machine always manages to sabotage me in the middle of sewing. It generally does it on practically every item I have made and its the only time I curse my machine under my breathe. I did consider trying out a bound buttonhole but the fabric is of a loose weave and I realised after reading a few how to's that the fabric would be unfit for it and that it would unravel so there was little point trying it. They are such a beautiful addition to a garment and I am desperate to give them a go. Next time!! Anyway I have to say that EVERY SINGLE BUTTONHOLE managed to go wrong. The first two somehow I managed to do wonky which was my fault and so I carefully unpicked them, slightly fluffing up the second one along the way. Not only is the fabric a pain to unpick but the lining wants to run and I cant see a thing with black thread against black lining - my eyes are definitely getting older. Twenty minutes later after carefully squinting at it I had unpicked them and realigned the markings ready to have another go.
The first one was perfect then the next one stopped half way towards finishing the buttonhole. After cursing at my machine I checked everything was in place, re-threaded, turned the machine on and off and then did another practise one. That one was fine....but when I did the next one it just did just the same thing. Rather than unpick the half done buttonhole I started sewing it from the unfinished side. This sewed up the end of the buttonhole well but for some reason he machine didn't like this either and left a small gap for me to sew by hand. If you imagine repeating this procedure with the rest of the buttonholes you will see my frustration with the machine. Deep breathe!!
I finally managed with bated breath to complete the buttonholes and tidy them up by hand. I decided to open them up another day to avoid further disaster. Sometimes when you start sewing nothing goes right so I thought it was best to leave it until I could count on some better luck!!
But now after carefully slicing through the buttonholes and sewing on the buttons it is finally done! What do you think? I have to say I really like it. There are some really cute versions on the web for inspiration and I would totally recommend getting your hands on the pattern and giving it a go. Maybe wait for the spring though!