Easy To Sew Capes, Ponchos, Wraps

Easy To Sew Capes, Ponchos, Wraps
Hopefully with time to sew for the holidays and colder weather, today’s fabric blends give soft warmth to chase away any chills. The many color choices make this cooler season seem especially 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 this 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 facing 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.

It is important, considering the many lighting conditions we encounter both inside and outside, that all fleeces should be considered as fabric with nap when laying out pattern pieces. If not using a pattern be sure all fabric pieces are cut singly and in the same direction.

Some tips when using fleece fabric:

Although a cut raw edge on fleece fabric will not fray, there are times when a more finished edge is desired. Consider using decorative pearl cotton thread - hand wound onto the bobbin of the sewing machine, to produce a pleasing edge finish. Use regular thread in the needle. Select an overcast stitch if the machine has one or zig zag stitch. Sew from the wrong side of the fabric edge so the bobbin thread will appear on the right side. Test the stitch first to fine tune the results.

Cut away any selvages before measuring the width and length of the fabric. The selvages are slightly thicker than the body of the fleece and may tend to curl distorting accurate measurements.

Straight pins can easily become buried in the thick pile of the fleece or wool fabrics. Long flat flower pins usually used in quilting are easy to spot in the fabrics.

Be sure to use a ball point or universal point sewing machine needle, lengthened stitch and reduce presser foot pressure.

Use a 1/4-inch seam allowance to reduce bulk in seams.

Images and general instructions on creating capes, wraps and ponchos can easily be found on online. Often a pattern is not needed, just accurate measuring and cutting on a single piece of fabric.

How to Make a Poncho Easy directions with photos on how to make this versatile covering found on wikiHow.

Sew happy, sew inspired.

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This content was written by Cheryl Ellex. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.