Superhero Cape – 4th Birthday Boy!

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It’s coming up to my Nephews 4th Birthday and he LOVES superhero’s.  I did the diligent aunty thing and asked what he needed (pants) and made him a couple of pairs of those, proof below!  I have a post about those here.  A bonus of sewing them yourself is you can make them how they like them, in this case with straight wide legs!
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BUT I can’t just give a 4 year old pants for his birthday!  I hear from the other aunty that he just loves the capes at day care, so I thought I’d make him his very own.
The material
I’m a big fan of using what you have lying around, re-purposing, up-cycling etc.  A firm favourite is raiding my Mother-in-law’s craft room!  The striped tracksuit fabric from these pants was purchased for my sister in law as a small child, more than a decade ago (in fact probably closer to 2)!  But I’m not sure a 4 year old boy wants pink stripes!
I wanted a bright colour (red or orange) but unfortunately I didn’t have anything suitable.  A while back I made Harry a batman cape,  but with a lack of black fabric I was in the same predicament.  I found a fleece throw at The Warehouse (NZ discount chain store – wallmart ish) for $5, it worked great and can just be cut to size no need to even hem the edges.  With that thought in mind I found a bright red one this afternoon!
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What you’ll need,
  • Fabric for the cape I used a 70cm (27.5”) x 90cm (35.5”) piece of polar fleece.  Whatever you have is fine!  Cut a little extra for hemming if it will fray.
  • Bias Binding for the neck band, or you could use a piece of folded over fabric instead.  I used 100cm (39.5”) of 2.5cm (1”) bias, since it’s folded double the finished length will be a little less than half that.  If you are using fabric or wider binding you can cut a 50cm (20”) x 5cm (2”) piece and fold it in half length wise instead.  Again add a little more width (7.5cm or 3” instead) if you are folding under the edges.
  • Velcro to do it up.  A small amount of Velcro is a good safe option as it will come undone before strangling the wearer if the get caught on something.  Imagine that for a gift!!!
  • Contrasting fabric for designs (if you want), knit or felt is ideal so it won’t fray
  • Trim if wanted, I used a piece of orange Ric Rac.  You could use ribbon, bias binding or anything else you have handy.
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Cut your fabric to size, as this if fleece I won’t even hem the edges.  If you are using a fabric that will fray you will need to fold over the edge and sew around it, or overlock/zigzag the edge.
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Fold your cut piece in half length-wise (I am rounding the bottom corners), my fabric already had a rounded corner so I cut the other to match it.  It’s totally up to you, you can leave it square if you like.  As you can see mine is stitched on one edge but I’m leaving that as is, you could trim it off or hem it over all the way round if you prefer.
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Gathering the top of the cape.  Make sure leave plenty of thread at the beginning and end.  Set you machine to the longest stitch (in my case 4 – the dial on the right) and the tightest thread tension (in my case 9 the dial on the left).  This will cause your sewing to gather on its own!
Superhero Cape 008This is how it should turn out, remember to leave a good length of thread at the end.  You can now adjust the gather evenly and make it how long you want it to be.  By pulling on just one of the threads you can push the fabric in or out to suit.
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Once you are happy with the gather tie both ends off with the remaining thread.

Moving on to the neck band!

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Take your length of bias binding (or whatever you were using for the neck band), and iron it flat.  Now fold it right side facing so the cut ends line up.
*If you are using a wider/shorter piece for the neck band iron under the edges if needed and move onto sewing the top edge!
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Sew together carefully, you will need this to be straight so that it lines up when folded out.  I went over it twice for added strength.
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Fold out the seem and iron flat.  Now you will need to iron the bias binding with the right side facing out.  It will end up doubled up to make the neck band.
*Carry on from here
Once ironed sew down one long side of the doubled up binding.  This will be the top. You will need to sew fairly close to the edge, to allow the cape gathers to fit in.  It should look like the photo below!
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Now it is time to insert the cape!
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Insert the cape into the middle of the neck band and pin in place.
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Sew down the cape side of the neck band, I sew on the right side as that way I keep it looking straight(ish) and tidy.  Once you get to the end turn around and sew back again!  For a bit of extra strength, those little superhero’s will no doubt put it through it’s paces!
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The finished neck band shown from the inside.

Now to add the Velcro.  I have used Velcro dots that have adhesive on the back.  You can use regular Velcro too, the dots are nice and easy to sew as they stay put, and have finished soft edges.

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Place your Velcro on to the ends of the neck band.  I like to make sure that the scratchy half of the Velcro is facing away from the wearer (so it doesn’t scratch or get caught in clothing).  Then sew them on to secure them.  I just did two straight lines across the dots, each line is sewn twice for strength.
There you have it the basic cape is finished!!!

You can leave it as it is or add any decorations you like.

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I added a stripe of orange Ric Rac to the lower part of the cape.
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I wanted a lightening bolt for the centre, I used Microsoft Paint and used the lightening bolt shape to draw and print one.  Then I cut it out of the paper and traced it onto the fabric and cut it out.  I used knit for this so it wouldn’t fray.  A large perfect blue circle for it to go on, thanks to a big wooden bowl!
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Sew on the lightening bolt, quite close to the edge, if your fabric will fray you can zigzag the edge.  I overlocked the circle for the contrast, I have sewn this whole project in white thread for the contrast (you can use matching or other colour thread as you like).
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Pin the circle in place and sew it on.  I used zigzag for this but again you can do whatever you like!  And there you have it, all finished!

Hopefully a happy we lad in a few days time!

I would love to see your versions feel free to email, Tweet, Facebook or Google+ me your photos!
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