Sunday, 4 January 2015

The Cape of Woodland Strolling

I have always desired a cape. Always. There was a whole thing at university where my friend was going to buy me a cape as there was nothing else I desired more. Of course that never got past that stage of dreaming, but I have long held on to the belief that having a cape would make my life more me. 

And here, after years of desiring, here she is: 
I bought three metres of this wonderful wool when Mandors in Edinburgh was closing down to be refurbished. It was half price, and so £7 a metre, and I just loved it. It's so soft! I did not have a pattern in mind, but talking to the wonderful sales assistant (now, unfortunately, gone) she recommended that for a cape I would require at least three metres.

The wool sat for a wee while while I browsed the web to find a suitable pattern. I knew that the common cape patterns just weren't me. I can't see myself drowning in layers upon layers of fabric, and so I shelved the idea for a while. Until, dun dun dunnn, the Woodland Strolls cape by Leisl and co was featured in my Sew magazine. This was it, I knew, and I instantly ordered the pdf pattern. I must admit that this pattern was when other blogs really came into play. This was the one that I used other peoples efforts to confirm how much I loved the pattern. Nightingale and Dolittle's, Behind the Hedgerow's, Gloria and Me's... They were all hugely inspiring and it confirmed how much I love this pattern. 
It was the first time I had worked with a pdf and it was so surprisingly and wonderfully easy! The pattern pieces all matched and it was just great. I think on the whole I prefer paper patterns, though I realise that having the pattern stored on your computer comes with numerous benefits and I have actually ordered several more pdfs for the instant gratification that comes with them. 
The negatives with working in pdf for this pattern was that the paper with the fabric was too thick to put pins through, and that meant that I just had to weigh the pattern down and hope that it wasn't shifting too much. I think one of the sides did, slightly, but it's okay and I don't notice the unevenness now it's complete. The positives are too many to list. I highly rate Leisl & co. after this experience and love the modern patterns that Leisl is coming up with. Wish list includes the cullotes! Though I think Kirsty's pineapple version is the best advert Leisl could hope for. 

The fabric definitely called for stripes matching! And for a first attempt I don't think it was too shoddy at all. In fact, I think I am extremely pleased with my efforts all round. I lined it in this incredibly bright pink lining fabric from John Lewis. I knew I wanted something pretty astounding and this fits the bill nicely. It's very soft and adds a luxurious touch to the cape. 
It was bagged, I think the correct term is? So sewn outsides together then it all threaded through a small hole in the lining which was then hand stitched. Due to the thickness of the wool, I could not leave the edges unstitched as called for in the pattern. I actually like it stitched around the side, and rather than doing it in particular areas, I just stitched the whole way round to finish it off. This is probably the most obvious thing in the world, but pink thread on the inside and maroon thread on the outside created a lovely finish for me! I loved that detail and still do :)
I fastened the sides with heavy duty snaps that I've had for a while. I love these - especially the method of putting them on. So simple, and yet so effective! I love them joining the sides as they keep the look simple as opposed to more buttons on top of the stripes. There was a bit of a mistake here, in that the instructions asked for wrong sides to meet, but I accidentally created a flat join. I actually ended up preferring this look and how it sits.
I did make a real mistake where I put on my last snap backwards, which meant the right sides were pulled together by the snap. Obviously it did not work at all and after a momentary  (it may have been sliiightly longer than that...) panic I checked google, and phew, you can take off a snap. It required power tools and patience and the help of my dad but it worked! Without damaging the fabric at all, and no limbs were lost in the process either (always a good thing!). Thank you e-how! 
Overall I think this is my most successful make so far. It necessitated the creation of my woolly elbow length gloves, and I am immensely proud of it all. There is nothing about it that I would change - I even love the button choice and buttonholes. I love wearing it and have had compliments from several people (I am delighting in telling folks that I made it!) and it is just so me - exactly what I got into sewing to create, basically.
Of course, I never needed anywhere close to those three metres. I think I have approximately 1.5 metres left (maybe less as I had to carefully position the pieces to assist seam matching) but I am not rushing to create anything else with the fabric at the moment. The time will come one day, but for now I'm just enjoying my cape!

Have any of you tried this pattern? What do you think?


  1. It's beautiful! I love the fabric you chose, it is truly wonderful and looks so warm and stylish. Fabulous!!

    1. Thanks! It is warm, though maybe not really warm enough for the weather we're getting just now!