There is still time to sew for the holidays and colder weather. Today’s fabric blends give soft warmth to chase away any chills, and the many color choices make the season bright. Make a cape, trendy poncho, wrap or shawl for yourself or for gift giving!
A cape will typically end at hip length, when it flows to the ground it usually is recognized properly as a cloak – a favorite of cosplayers. A wrap or shawl is mostly a single piece of fabric, rectangular in shape. A great project for a beginner sewer to learn the essentials of fabric choice, pattern placement, determining grainline, accurate cutting and hemming edges - all useful first elements of sewing to consider.
The once-again trendy poncho is also a great beginning sewing project. A belted poncho brings the simple garment a stylish look.
A few words on choosing fleece fabrics for capes, ponchos or wraps – fleece, in all its manifestations and made by many textile manufacturers, is amazing in its properties. Fleece is super lightweight, warm, doesn’t fray when cut, easy to sew (sewing machine tensions at their lowest settings for best results), and retains its water-repellent qualities as it absorbs a tiny fraction of its weight in moisture. The range of weights, loft, density, stretch-ability, and vibrant colors make it a techno-dream fabric. Fleece textures can be brushed soft on one or both sides, embossed, and with anti-piling (or more accurate, low-piling) qualities. The perfect outerwear fabric, it works well to wick moisture away from an over-heated body. Fleece is mostly made from polyester but can be found blended with Lycra, cotton, wool and rayon. Better quality fleece’s are worth their extra cost.
For the sewer, determining which side of the fleece fabric to use as the right side out, as both sides may appear to be the right side, may provide a dilemma. Whichever is the most attractive side that pleases you can be used as the right side! As some fleeces are treated for water-repellent properties on one side, and one side might “wear” with less piling tendencies, then that side may be considered the right or best side to be seen on the outside.
To be safe, considering the many lighting conditions we encounter both inside and outside, consider all fleeces to be fabric with nap. If you use a pattern, follow your pattern instructions to be sure all the pattern pieces are cut in the same direction for the best finished results.
How-to video from Martha Stewart Make a fashionable poncho.
Images and general instructions on creating capes and ponchos can easily be found on online. Often a pattern is not needed, just accurate measuring and cutting.
Sew happy, sew inspired.