How To Make a Cape Easy (Free DIY Cape Pattern and Fabric)

Movies have fueled the trend. You can see capes in many different movies these days. most often in the superhero genre. The movies are helping to bring back this fashion style and it is a good thing this fashion accessory is easy to make./Almost as easy as a poncho

There are about 8 steps to making a cape and the hardest will be doing all the hemming that needs to be done. Also, making the ties will take a little work as you have to measure, fold, cut, and then fold again before stitching.

To learn how to make a cape easily, just continue to read our article. It has the instructions you need in order to make a great cape for yourself or your children. A cape works great for costume parties and Halloween.

Different Types of Capes


Some people have different ideas about what a cape is and the types of capes that can be made. But there are 5 basic types of capes and everything else is an interpretation of those cape types.

1. Rectangle- a basic cape that does not do much and is often unimpressive yet, it is the easiest type to make especially when you are in a rush to create a costume for your kids

2. A quarter of a circle- this is the type that most superhero capes are designed from as it is the just-right size. There is a little flair but it stays behind where most capes belong.

3. Half a circle- this is the most common type you will see and it can also be turned into a cloak. This cape will cover your shoulders even though it tends to slide to your back.

4. Half a circle fitted- similar to 3 in size and shape, this cape is built with 3 pieces and should fit your shoulders. The cape type will also cover your front when you need it to and you do not need a lot of fabric to create it

5. Full Circle- your body is fully covered but it is a heavy type of cape to wear because there is a lot of fabric needed to create this style

How to Make an Easy Cape

To start, you need to gather your tools and supplies and you start with 1 to 2 yards of material. The amount of yardage you will need depends on the length of the cape you want to make. Then you will need scissors, measuring tape, tailor’s chalk, and a sewing machine.

Step #1. lay the fabric out full length on the floor and measure a 30 by a 15-inch rectangle in one corner. Mark your measurement and cut it out. You can do a different size depending on how you want the hood to look

Step #2. Now lay on the remaining piece of fabric with your shoulders at the top of the fabric. Measure the length of the cape by marking it where you want the bottom to fall. This could be mid-calf, knee-length or wherever you feel comfortable

Step #3. Cut the length and hem the fabric all the way around. You could omit the hemming but you run into the issue of unraveling threads that do not look that good. Hem the hood at this stage as well

Step #4. After hemming baste and gather the fabric at the top of the material. 1.4 of an inch is all you need to be from the edge.

Step #5. After gathering the material at the top lay the hood and cape together matching raw edges and right sides together. Now sew the hood and cape together

Step #6. Using the leftover fabric, cut your ties about 10 by 3 inches in size. The size is flexible. Fold in half lengthwise twice and then sew those pieces of material together before sewing them to the cape.

DIY Cape Pattern


A good internet search will turn up a lot of good DIY cape patterns. The difficulty will be in searching each website to find the right pattern for the project you have to create.

One of the problems is that there are some people online who want to reinvent the cape and make it something it is not. A good cape goes no higher than the back of the knees. Some people call shoulder wrap capes but they are not true capes.

Here is one website that has a variety of patterns for you to follow. Then you can check this website out for your superhero projects. Then this website has a pattern right in the middle of its instructions so you can watch what you are doing and make sure you have the fabric cut right.

Best Fabric for Making a Cape

There are a lot of good fabrics you can use to make a cape. The one you settle on will be determined by the purpose, and who is wearing it. If the cape is for a formal setting, then you will not want to use cotton or similar fabrics.

For superhero capes, cotton is one of the best materials you can use. They are easy to clean, lightweight, and perfect for children who like to roughhouse as they play. Plus, cotton is fairly durable and able to handle that rough treatment kids tend to give their costumes.

For more upscale purposes you can use stretch velvet or crushed velvet with the former option looking more classy. It is a good material for a cape that adults are going to wear and makes for a great finishing touch for a costume party.

Some people have gone to silk or use silk as a lining for a cape. How you use it will be up to you but the look of the cape will be hard to beat once silk is transformed into that clothing accessory.

Then fleece is a good option if you want good looks, durability and a nice soft fabric without the high expense other materials may bring.

How to Cut Fabric for a Cape


If you go by the one set of instructions we have already given, cutting the fabric will not be that difficult. You just need to measure from your shoulders down to where you want the cape to end and mark that spot.

Mark on both sides of the material and draw a line across the fabric so you get a straight cut. use tailor’s chalk or some other temporary marking tool to draw the line and then use your sharp scissors or your rotary cutter and cut the fabric along the line.

Once you are done cutting it is a good idea to hem the edges so the fabric doesn't unravel on you. You do not have to but it is a good idea to take the time to make the cape look its best.

How Many Yards of Fabric for a Cape

There is some flexibility here as the number of yards you will need will depend on the height of the person wearing the cape. The amount will also be influenced by how long you want the cape to be.

Since traditional capes go from the back of the knee down you will want enough material to reach at least the knees. Then because you usually can’t buy fabric in fractions of a yard, one yard will be the minimum.

Small children, teens, and adults should not need more than that. Larger adults and the design of the cape will have you purchasing at least 2 yards of materials. The design of the cape will also influence the number of yards you will need.

The full circle design will need a lot more fabric than the rectangle. It will be up to your judgment and how much fabric you have to buy but measure the person first from their shoulders to at least their knees to get an idea of how much material you will need.

Half Cape Pattern


Finding a pattern for free or otherwise is not going to be that difficult. There are more than enough websites that have these patterns for free if you can do a good internet search. the drawback to using this type of search is that you will have a mixture of free and for sale patterns to work through.

If you are not worried about the cost then you have unlimited online opportunities to pay for one. The free ones will usually come with a tutorial so you have the instructions if you need them. Then if you search, just click on the images button next to the ‘all’ button at the top of the results page.

When you do that, you will find some free and very simple half-cape patterns with instructions. The instructions are not hard to follow and you can print or copy those patterns at your leisure.

Etsy, Amazon, and Pinterest lead the way in having patterns for sale and you can always go to Joann’s, and other fabric stores to get a half cape pattern. This may be a bit of a search if the pattern is not to your liking. Don’t stop until you find the perfect one to fit your purpose.

How to Add a Cape to a Dress

If you are going to make an all-in-one dress and cape outfit you have to do a couple of things differently. Normally you would place the right sides together when attaching two different fabric pieces together then turn those pieces right side out hiding the seam.

Not so when adding a cape to a dress. The right side of the cape needs to be facing the wrong side of the bodice before you sew the seam. Then when you turn the dress-cape outfit inside out, the seam is hidden by the neckline and not visible to the public.

You will also have to trim and clip the seam allowance at the neckline. This will allow the outfit to turn smoothly. Next, you will need to stitch the seam allowance against the bodice.

This is the sewing way to attach a cape to a dress. But normally, capes are an outside accessory and are meant to be taken off once you go inside. If you do not want to permanently sew the cape to the dress, you can look at using different clasps, buttons, and other attachments.

This option allows you to take the cape off easily without ruining the look of your dress. Clasps work well also and are a lot easier to manipulate.

Other Free Printable Cape Patterns


Pinterest has about 120 different free and printable cape patterns for you to look through. Then you can go to this link to find a free pattern for an adult and kids red riding hood cape design.

Then there is this website and it calls for crocheting not sewing your cape together. Of course, it has designs called capes which are not really capes but more like shawls, etc.

But you should do your own search as we cannot pick the best designs for you that fit your preferences or purposes. There are a lot of good websites out there that will provide some good patterns for free.

Some Final Words

Making a cape is almost as easy as making a poncho. The hardest part will be measuring, making the hood, and the ties. That is if you do not cut a hole in the fabric for the head to go through.

Take your time as you should hem the fabric to make the result look more professional while avoiding common sewing ills like unraveling. Good capes come with or without hoods and your inclusion or exclusion of the hood is up to how you want to look.

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