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.

Milano Cape 3
Left to Right:
Poppy Kettle’s Single Welt Pocket
Karen’s eBook
Steph’s Piped Pocket

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…