Monday, August 24, 2015

Done... but what a struggle.

That above, is how much thread was on the bobbin - a few centimetres - when I finished this cape.  The only bit of ease with this project - just had some frustrations that wore me out (maybe because I was at the start of a run down feeling and it wouldn't have bothered me so much otherwise).  This is Butterick 5909, a See & Sew pattern that my friend from the U.S. sent me (top right in photo below) last Christmas.

It's a really simple pattern - "Very loose-fitting, single layer wrap has collar, flat-fell seams, shaped hemline and unfinished edges." It recommends boiled wool but I didn't have any and not being sure of the wearability of this for me I opted to make it out of a piece of wool mix that I had bought, many years ago,  as a very large remnant from the fabric sale I go to. It's a darker, more blue based red than appears in the photos where it looks a little raspberry red (which is quite nice though). 

I made size XS in view B which has the three buttons down the front . I thought this would be better with my larger bust as I figured with the single button the front would open and it would look like a mistake. The buttons are a little lighter in colour and harvested from a RTW cotton cardigan I bought years ago from Rivers. They aren't the exact colour and a bit pink but I like the contrast and the lace look of them. 

The collar is large and it's very open so if it is cold, you'd need a big scarf or a turtleneck to keep you warm, but for Brisbane winter/spring it's pretty good - no chance of overheating but nice to just keep the chill away.

The side looks nice the way it drapes. It's basically two different size rectangles, due to the buttons being off-sided, and two collar pieces. It's unfinished edges are one of (not many features in this cape) the features I like.

You are supposed to make flat felled seams for the collar and the cape body, but I forgot this when I made the collar and so when the collar sits on the back you see the two different seams. Only we sewers will notice this I think.

The collar is interfaced with some black interfacing I had on hand and it was just the right weigh to keep it soft and flexible but to hold the shape well. I cut it about .5cm smaller to sit inside the cut edge of the fabric so when it was stitched together (wrong sides facing so no seam allowances), you wouldn't see it. I stitched all the way around the cape as a 'seam' finish for the fact that it may fray a little due to it not being boiled wool.  Can't see this being washed much though as as today is forecast for 28 degrees, it probably won't get much use this winter either.

The buttons are about 2cm wide and wouldn't fit into my one step button hole maker so I pulled out my old Elna which I thought had a 4 step button hole but, as I was given this machine, I don't have the manual and couldn't work out how to do it. I spent a few hours testing the fabric with the interfacing and trying to make the button hole. I got so frustrated I just made the biggest size button hole with the one step maker and figured the wool would stretch enough to get the button through. (Of course my regular machine was not making the buttonholes properly either even though I make a couple of tests first. Then the first button hole was a dud and I had to unpick it. I took a break and then they worked fine.) As it happens, when I wore it on the weekend, I just throw it over me like a poncho). After a frustrating few hours and looking online for some instructions for the Elna, I worked out it is a one step buttonhole machine - that's great as I have a spare foot for it, but that was a frustrating few hours I'll never get back.

I backed the buttonholes with a patch of the interfaced wool for strength - obviously not long enough - and I also backed the button too. This is a very easy project, even though it too me ages to fight with the machine and work out the button hole and make the seams different. All in all, I think if you had 1 1/2 to 2 hours you could whip this up easily. To wear this, other than with jeans which I wore on the weekend past (and looked nice), I'd like to use the aqua silk velvet (I think it's silk anyway) covering the bottom of the dress form for a bias ankle length skirt, if there is enough fabric to wear next weekend with a white cowl neck t-shirt. Lets see if I get that done.

Meanwhile, this is what is next. A lovely Japanese voile that was a large remnant at Spotlight a few months ago. It had a large tear and hole in the middle of about 2 metres that was used for their display purposes. It is a lovely light blue with these nice flowers on it and I've got it cut out using a Burda pattern. More on that later.

So, ending, as this is an unusual style for me, would you make and wear a cape/poncho/ wrap? Do you have one and do you find it useful?

Happy sewing.


  1. I think that will be a great layer for the Brisbane winter,

    1. Oh Sue, I thought I'd be putting it away after a few days of 28 degrees and then it's cool again... yay!

  2. Just found your blog. Love the poncho. I wore one. Where I live it was cold enough to wear in the winter. It had fringes, great for hands free dancing. That's how I use to roll in my poncho in South America.
    Thanks for the memories
    Brisbane. Great city. Plan to return soon.

  3. I love it. Noted the pattern done for future purchase! I don't have a wrap or cape or poncho but have been wanting to make one for a long time.

    1. Oh thanks :) It's very versatile.. I was running around with it on yesterday. Perfect for mid weather. These See & Sew patterns are cheap and the same as the other patterns but with fewer designs. This is a beauty.


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