Thursday, May 29, 2014

The finished cape

I don't want to neglect the fact that I have had other work to do- its not all prom dresses here. I confess though to making my daughter two dresses! There I said it. Call me crazy, but the deal was the second dress had to use some of the original fabric and the same bodice fabric and shape..
Anyway....more on that later.

Earlier, I had posted about the very large red velveteen cape here but I haven't followed up yet with how it turned out.

So first, the finished item front and back.

The designer had the crowns embroidered onto the off cuts of the velveteen. Once they came back from the embroidery place, they had a fusible backing applied to them. In the best of all worlds with no budgetary constraints we would have liked to sew them on by hand, but in reality, we couldn't do that, so our decorating department did a test using a paper backed fusible- and it worked, so they were fused and then they were individually cut out and trimmed to shape.

We had a fitting with the full costume and the cape to determine the hem length (the front length is important to get right) - we don't want to trip up our actors! The actor did a bit of movement in it, at which point we decided that it needed to have a harness inside to stay put. We took it back to the table, removed the lining which had been basted in for the fitting, made a neckline correction, and then prepared to hem the beast. 
I knew the cape had to have a closed lining, which means hand sewing the lining hem to the velveteen, but hemming the velveteen by hand seemed like both a daunting task and perhaps not a strong enough technique. We have a semi industrial Bernina that does a blind hem stitch, so the velvet hem allowance was trimmed to one inch and hand basted in place to prep for the blind hemming. It worked like a dream and was pretty much invisible. That process alone trimmed hours off the time. 

Once the hem was done, off it went to the designer, who, with her assistant, laid it out first on the floor to place the crowns, then put it on a stand and tweaked the placement until she was happy with it. 

The next stage went to the decorating department, and they carefully fused each crown using a velvet press cloth to minimize any chance of crushing the surrounding velveteen.

Then it came back to us. 
It was laid out again on a big table for the lining to be basted back in. Each step needs to be checked, so back it went onto the stand to make sure the lining wasn't pulling anywhere, then back to the table to be hand sewn along the front edges, neckline and hem.

Not quite done yet! 
The last stages were to make a harness, and cover the harness in the same fabric as the doublet. The harness was then hand stitched to the cape  from the back neck to just in front of the shoulders. 
Last but not least, the front corners of the cape needed to attach to the doublet and look like it just sits there magically. A couple of hooks and snaps took care of that and then we were finished.

All done and happy with it. 
Now do I keep the pattern for it, or not? Maybe the half muslin would be easier to store.....hmmm.....


  1. Lovely! I've used magnets in the past to make large capes/overcoats "magically" hang where they've needed to and they work great - sometimes hooks will bend out of shape with great weight and wear.

  2. Yes, we use magnets too, they are really useful and can be hidden fairly easily because they are so strong. Now I wonder why I didn't try a magnet here.....