Imagination is the Beginning…

Seasonal sewing?  Pah, that’s for organised people.  Or those that sew with a plan.  Not me, then!

As February comes to a close and snowdrops, crocus, iris and even daffodils are starting to make an appearance in the garden, spring may, just may (don’t want to jinx it!) be on its way.  Which is, of course, the perfect time to start making a thick, lined wool cape.  Yup.

This has been simmering away in the back of my mind for a while.  The seed was sown by a rather beautiful and sophisticated colleague at work who has been wearing a cream with brown plaid cape with sleeves and a funnel neck all winter.  I love the funnel neck that has a big buckle to thread a belt like closure through on the collar.  This inspiration has been percolating for a while and I’m now well into the planning stages of my own cape (hastened I might add by the zip on my ski jacket giving up the ghost – another thing for the repair pile!).

Milano Cape 1

I’ve always wanted to make a cape ever since Tasia posted her version of Simplicity 5669.  It’s a pattern I even have in my collection, bought with the full intention of making that cape one day.  The image I have in my mind’s eye though is much more swirly, has more movement.  I then remembered Papercut Pattern’s Milano Cape, part of her first collection “Imagination is the Beginning of Creation”.  The collar is more suited to being accessorised with scarves and snoods, it had the movement I was dreaming of and the welt pockets and double breasted style lends its self to creative embellishment!  You guessed it, I bought the pattern.

There aren’t many versions of this cape blogged; in fact I can find only two!  Amanda of Bimble and Pimble’s version and a sample made up for a class.  My only doubt, if you will, about the pattern is the size of the neck.  It’s pretty darn wide and Amanda fitted her lovely self and her dog in that neck hole!  I want something more closely fitted there so I suspect I will be altering the pattern to suit.  Whether that means using a smaller neck line or grafting on the collar from another pattern I’m not quite sure yet.  S5669 that inspired me all that time ago may be the solution!  I could also try my hand at pad stitching to shape the collar…

I know I want this cape to be fully lined, like Amanda’s and Tasia’s.  I’ve been stash diving and come up with a reasonably heavy crepe backed satin in a lustrous plum/magenta colour.  It’s a pinky-purple I guess!  Drafting the lining should be pretty straight forward and I intend to use Amanda’s method of tracing the outer, laying the facing over the top and tracing them then adding a seam allowance before cutting the facing area away.

I’m also going to do something different with the button holes.  I want to use bound button holes as it’s a technique I’ve never tried.  I have one of those Dritz bound button hole jigs that I won on Casey’s blog a long long time ago, as well as Karen’s eBook on how to make a bound button hole.  It’s those little tailored touches that I want to have a go at (like the possible pad stitching on the collar).  I’m going to get some bespoke buttons made too as I can’t find any I like and if I’m going to the effort of bound buttonholes, the buttons needs to be a bit special too!  I briefly considered covering them myself but that’s fiddly and I’m rubbish at it.  The prices buttoncovering.co.uk are extremely reasonable and they know what the heck they’re doing so will produce something I want to use.

I’ve been happily researching all sorts of techniques and construction methods and Poppy Kettle’s single welt pocket tutorial is the one that makes the most sense to me!  It also shows how to add a pocket bag which I’m keen to do as the pattern its self requires the pocket to be topstitched to the cape, which I don’t want to do.  I also intend to add some piping to the single welt pockets using some of the lining fabric, a little like Steph did on this pocket a while ago.

Milano Cape 2

So I’m pretty much there and nearly have all the materials I need to make a start.  I’m just waiting on the fabric I eventually chose to arrive after getting a number of swatches sent through the post.  I wanted a wool melton in either a dark grey, black or navy as these are all ‘neutral’ colours for me.  I wanted it to be soft to the touch, reasonably thick and drape well.  Most of the samples had the drape and texture but were too thin.  Another was too thick and didn’t drape the way I wanted.  I’ve found my fabric though, courtesy of eBay and if you believe the description the fabric is of Italian decent.  Whatever it is, it’s what I was dreaming of in a deep inky navy that’s almost black.  There will be a lot of steam in my future when it comes to pre-shrinking all 4m of it!

I hope you don’t mind but as this is the first thing I’ve made with a lot of these techniques and even vaguely tailored, I’m going to be documenting the process and my research and sources for the techniques I use!  Oh, and there’ll be the usual sort of thing interspersed through it all – I suspect this will be a slow burner, done a little at a time…

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26 thoughts on “Imagination is the Beginning…

  1. O I can’t wait to see this! I’ve been wanting to see some more of this pattern sewn up and will be interested to see what you think of the construction. I love a big project you can sink your teeth into!

    • The construction (from reading the instructions) is actually really straight forward and the welt pocket as designed instructions are also really good. Because I’m me and have to mess with patterns or use them as a base point to get what I want, I’m adding a lot of additional details that aren’t in the original pattern (lining, bound button holes, collar with a role…) I’m going to have to research and plan a lot of it myself. Made as drafted I would imagine this would be a very fast project!

    • It would be fabulous for showing off a large print! There is a CB seam but I think it would be relatively easy to loose it too… So many possibilities with this pattern. A cropped version instead of a little jacket or bolero would also work…

  2. Ooh, this is going to be so fun! I’m really excited for it! Let me know if you’d like one of those belt buckle closures- there’s a store in the Garment District that has lots of them and I’d be happy to send you one! :)

  3. I hardly sew for the right season either, just don’t rush yourself to get it done :) Bound button holes are not that hard to do – I’ve done them on several garments and they are quite easy. I used a tutorial on Gertie’s blog, just make sure to do a practice one or two with your fabric to make sure you get the technique down and that your buttons will fit through it.

    • Thanks Anne! It’s always the way with me – winter wants me to sew pretty cotton dresses and in the summer wool calls to me! Thanks for the tip about Gertie’s blog. I’d planned to do some practices anyway but having more than one tutorial to read through is always going to help!!

  4. This’ll be awesome! I absolutely love in-progress posts that talk about methods and contruction. It’s those sorts of posts that got me started sewing in the first place, so I’m really excited for this!

    • Hurrah! I’m not going to bore everyone! I’ve been redrafting (ooh, get me!!) the collar to be one with a roll rather than flat and I’ve actually remembered to take pictures as I went for once. It’s one of those ‘easy in theory’ things but there’s no way of telling if it’s worked until you cut some fabric and give it a go!!

    • This pattern and the Watson coat have always stuck in my mind. I will make Watson one day! The construction isn’t underway but the plans… Oh the plans and research!!

  5. This is going to be so cute! I have also been thinking about a cape for quite a while, and while I donlt have one in my current schedule, I will be reading your update posts with interest so that I may learn lots for when my time for sewing a cape comes up.

    • I can just imagine you in a cape! It would be a very chic addition to your wardrobe as you have such a classic style to my mind. I just hope I don’t the pants off everyone!

  6. You are way too smart, trying out tailored details on a cape… it’s going to be fabulous, and I love that you are making your dream come true :) Not only that but when you go to make a tailored coat, all the fiddly bits will already be learned so it’ll be stress free! :) I can already see you wearing this and I know it will suit you to a T! :)

    • I’m not sure I’d choose the word smart! Over ambitious, biting off more than I can chew, slightly insane may be more appropriate! It’s gonna be fun though and I’ll be learning which always makes things far more interesting! I hope the end result matches what is in my head!!

      • Oh but those are all qualities I, too, possess haha…. maybe that’s why I call your method smart, because I would probably do something dumb like trying them out on a full tailored coat without having a freaking CLUE what i was doing ^___^

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