There are different types of capes. Let's take a look at a few options.
Rectangle cape: the type of cape American superheroes wear. They consist out of a simple rectangle that can be tied or clasped at the neck. Use gathered fabric for extra fullness. This type of cape won't give you a lot of warmth as it will only cover your back.
Quarter circle cape: slightly more flared than a rectangle cape, but will still only cover your back.
Half circle cape: will cover both your back and shoulders and some of your body, which will give you extra warmth. Great for drama!
Fitted half circle cape: similar to a half circle cape, but made out of three separate pieces to fit around your body better. It won't cover you completely, but it will cover your back, shoulders, and more of your body than a normal half circle cape would.
Full circle cape: this cloak will cover your full body and keep you nice and warm.
Savvy sewists will notice these cape types are similar to circle skirts. The idea's basically the same. Instead of making a skirt, you leave your circle open in the front, and cut a hole that fits your neck rather than your waist.
(Image source) [ID: drawing showing five types of coats: rectangle, quarter circle, half circle, half fitted circle, full circle. Text: "Capes and cloaks. www.facebook.com/aliceincosplayland".]
Aside of volume, you can also play around with length. A floor-length cape has a very different effect and function than a cape that reaches your hips, or even a capelet.
(Image source) [ID: a pattern diagram showing four different cape lengths: floor length, hip length, waist length, and a capelet. Text: "6535 Front and back views. Newlook."]
Details like a hood or armholes can make your cape extra comfortable, and you've got a wide range of options when it comes to fasteners, too.
(Image source) [ID: back view of a long gray half circle cape that's been pleated at the shoulders.]
(Image source) [ID: a purple capelet with a hood, frills, cat ears, and lace, tied with a bow at the front. Text: "Gray. Alice and the Pirates."]
(Image source) [ID: a person wearing a brown monogrammed hip-length cape with front pockets and arm slits at the sides.]
(Image source) [ID: a person wearing a long gray hooded cape, standing in a forest and holding a sword.]
Before deciding what fabrics to make your cloak or cape out of, ask yourself what you're trying to achieve first.
Warmth, drape, fabric price, comfort, aesthetic, wearing context,... are some examples of things that can influence your decision.
A cosplay cloak has to look good but doesn't necessarily have to be warm. Choose a fabric that's suitable for your character's outfit, but also keep the circumstances in which you plan to wear your outfit in mind. For example, a warm cloak might pose issues if you do a lot of indoor photo shoots, but convention halls can be pretty chilly.
A fashion cloak intended for winter really does need to be warm! Wool, tweed, and velvet are good options.
A cloak intended for historical re-enactment preferably uses period-accurate materials and therefore won't be lined with fabrics like polyester and such. Which fabric to use depends on the period and region you're working in.
Tutorials and patterns:
Here's a few tutorials/patterns to get you started:
Fitted cloak: winterberry cape (Mood)
How to draft your own hooded cape (The Spruce Crafts)
Pleated half circle cape (Gilian Conahan)
Half circle capelet (Buzzfeed)
Long hooded cloak (Fleece Fun)
Full circle capelet (Project Run and Play)
Four ways to make a cape (WikiHow)
Eight types of capes (Sew Guide)
Half circle fashion cape (Indoor Shannon)
21 free cape sewing patterns (Love Sewing)
Hooded cloak with lining (Online Fabric Store)
Capes and cloaks make for fun sewing projects. They're pretty easy to make: if you know how to draw circles, you know how to draft a cape pattern.
Capes are a versatile garment, and can range from a great last-minute Halloween costume to an every-day winter cloak. Play around with materials, lengths, shapes, design elements, decoration,... to achieve different effects.
Still in the early stages, but this is a huge breakthrough!
“In 2017, scientists at a Swedish university created an energy system that makes it possible to capture and store solar energy for up to 18 years, releasing it as heat when needed.
Now the researchers have succeeded in getting the system to produce electricity by connecting it to a thermoelectric generator. Though still in its early stages, the concept developed at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenberg could pave the way for self-charging electronics that use stored solar energy on demand.
“This is a radically new way of generating electricity from solar energy. It means that we can use solar energy to produce electricity regardless of weather, time of day, season, or geographical location,” explains research leader Kasper Moth-Poulsen, Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers.”
So whenever y'all are done crying and are ready to get back up and keep going:
Nobody is going to save us except for us.
Companies won't stop making plastic as long as someone is buying
Ag farming will continue to be destructive as long as it's supported, start growing local and buying from local farmers instead if you can (some will even deliver to your door)
Corporations won't stop laying oil pipelines unless we start Immediately demanding ALL infrastructure to switch to resuable/sustainable energy. (cars, businesses, government buildings, private homes, etc)
Profits will always come before people as long we keep accepting "it's too expensive" & "it's too complicated to fix" as excuses for pausing progress
The best way to make a difference is by starting in your own community. Ex: Clean up your local parks & rivers, garden with plants native to your area to help (& bring back) your local pollinators & ecosystems
Look at your local native community and back their movements. For example the local tribe here is the Umatilla and they're trying to get the dam removed as it's affected the salmon runs which has negatively impacted the salmon, the Umatilla people, and the local fauna that have relied on a free running river for millenia.
Settling for less is unacceptable. Our futures are not to bargained with.
Caring about your survival is not an extremist belief, do not be gaslit into believing it is. Do not be gaslit into believing better isn't possible.
Caring about your future is not radical. Caring about the planet is not radical. Caring about natural disasters is not radical.
This is us trying to meet our most basic needs for survival: a healthy planet that isn't trying to kill us.
All of these needs have to be normalized even in social circles, not just in political circles. Talk about it in friend groups. Bring it up on posts about climate change, bring it up with influencers/celebs/orgs/politicians who pride themselves on #GoingGreen & #ZeroWaste. Argue for these points when someone starts to settle for less. We can not continue settling.
Things will get better and can be better if we just put in the work for it, I promise
sick of environmental and climate-friendly movements/fads throwing disabled and chronically ill people under the bus and even outright blaming us for the state of our world. “using albuterol inhalants is poisoning the atmosphere” “people who use non-reusable dishes and plasticware are responsible for landfills” “don’t use plastic straws or straws in general” “walk places or ride a bike or use the bus instead of driving everywhere” “don’t use same-day delivery from amazon” how about “don’t dump tons of oil in the ocean or burn a hole in the ozone or pollute the air with fossil fuels to make a quick buck”? how about “celebrities stop using private jets to fly to your vacation home every weekend so you don’t have to see the poors in commercial”?
like yeah, okay if you can walk or ride a bike or elect to not use straws, by all means, do that. but stop acting like people who DO need to use straws, or drive everywhere, or use inhalers, or eat with disposable dishes etc are the leading cause of global warming because we’re not. corporations and people with way too much money are. stop judging us for existing our disabled, ill lives because we don’t have the same options you do. it’s exhausting.
Upsizing clothes! There are a million upcycling tutorials for clothes that are too big, but so few on how to make too small clothes you still love bigger!
Thank you for your suggestion! We all go through weight fluctuations in life, so it stands to reason our clothes should be able to fluctuate with us.
Resizing your clothes used to be a very common practice before the advent of fast fashion. Fast fashion sizing is extremely flawed, especially when it comes to plus size fashion, and we're stuck with a lot of vanity sizing, so it's a good skill to have regardless of whether you're looking to mend something old or buy something new.
How to upsize clothes:
There are many different ways to make a garment larger. The following list is not exhaustive, just a few ideas to get you started.
If you're making your own clothes, it's always useful to know how to modify a sewing pattern. The easiest way to adjust a pre-existing pattern to your size is slash and spread grading. First, you need to define which spots on the pattern need extra space. You then cut your pattern in that spot, and slide the resulting pattern pieces away from each other until you've got the size you need. Use paper to fill in the gaps. To ensure the resulting pattern makes for well-fitting clothes, make a mock-up and add, move, or remove darts where necessary to adapt it to your body type.
The image below shows potential slashing lines on a set of standard pattern blocks. Each line is a spot that allows you to add extra space. To read more about this process, check out the corresponding article by Threads Magazine.
(Image source) [ID: a diagram of slashing lines on a pattern block for a dress, bodice, skirt, sleeve, and a pair of pants.]
To make your clothes easier to let out in the future, make sure to provide ample seam allowance when cutting out your pattern pieces. This surplus fabric has several different uses, including giving you some wiggle room for when you need to size up your garment.
Now, let's take a look at pre-made garments.
A garment that's too short on you is easy to modify. Just add more material!
If it's a skirt or a dress, add ruffles to the bottom. Ruffles are easy to make by hand or with a sewing machine. You could also add lace, or wear the item with an underskirt.
For pants, let down your hem or sew on a new cuff. If this isn't enough, maybe consider turning your trousers into capri pants or shorts.
As for shirts, sewing an extra layer to the bottom edge is the easiest way to go, too. You could even combine two shirts into one to get an extra long shirt.
Another option is to cut your item in two and insert extra fabric between your separated garment parts.
(Image source) [ID: a pair of blue pants with cuffs sewn onto the bottom of the legs to lengthen them. The cuffs are made out of a fabric with a blue and brown geometric print.]
(Image source) [ID: a before and after picture of a red t-shirt that was lenghtened by adding in a patch of colourful fabric at the waist.]
Letting out seams/darts:
Remember how we made sure to have ample seam allowance earlier? When a garment has surplus fabric in the seams and you only need a little extra space, you can undo the seams of your garment and sew them back together again, this time with a smaller seam allowance than before. The Spruce Crafts has a pretty good tutorial on how to let out seams. You won't be able to make major size changes using this technique, but if you only need a few centimetres, this is a good way to go.
A lot of garments also have darts. Darts are fabric folds that are sewn down in strategic places to help the fabric follow the body's curves. If a dart doesn't fit you the way you want it to, then unpick the dart and try on the garment. Either leave the dart open, or pin the dart in place however you want it, then take off the garment again and sew the dart back together.
Be careful not to rip the fabric when using a seam ripper. Also note that removing entire darts may change the garment's fit.
You can also add custom darts to achieve a better fit, but that's a topic for another time.
(Image source) [ID: twelve different types of darts on a feminine bodice block.]
Adding extra fabric to your garment:
If we need to add more room than seam allowance or darts can provide us with, we need to add extra material. Remember those slashing lines we looked at earlier? If you're working with a pre-existing garment rather than a pattern, those are the perfect places to chop up your clothes and add in extra fabric.
Check your sewing stash for fabric that's similar in weight and material to your original garment, or go thrift shopping for an item you could use to upsize your garment. Long skirts and maxi dresses are a great source of fabric for alterations like these!
Lace inserts are also a fun choice to add some room, and if you're working with a knit item, you could even knit or crochet your own custom insert.
Define the area where you want to add extra fabric on your item, and measure how much you need. Draw a straight line on your garment with chalk/soap. Make sure the line doesn't cross any important structural or functional parts of your garment like darts or button holes: refer to the slashing diagram we saw earlier if you're not sure what spot to pick. Cut the line open (or unpick the seam if it's situated on a seam), and add in your extra fabric. Finish off your new seams so they don't unravel later on, and you're done!
You can add straight strips of fabric for extra width or length, or you could use flared panels or even godets to make your item flair out.
Want to see this technique in action? Check out this video by Break n Remake:
This Pinterest user cut a straight line down the front of a t-shirt and inserted a lace panel to add extra width in the front of the garment.
(Image source) [ID: a blue t-shirt with a panel of dark blue lace added in at the centre front.]
Busy Geemaw cut open the side seams of a shirt and used flared panels to add some extra width in the bust and hip area.
(Image source) [ID: a green and white long-sleeved shirt with a striped flared panel in matching colours inserted at the side seam.]
This person added a panel to the sides of a pair of jeans to give them more space in the hip area. You could easily use a long straight panel or a panel that flares at the bottom to resize the entire garment instead of just the hips, or use a wide piece of elastic for extra stretch.
(Image source) [ID: a side view of a pair of light blue jeans with a dark blue wedge-shaped denim insert running down from the waist and ending above the knee.]
This person added a godet in the back of their shirt in order to get more space in the back.
(Image source) [ID: a blue and white plaid shirt with a white lace godet inserted in the back.]
Blue Corduroy enlarged a pair of shorts by opening up the side seams and adding in strips of fabric.
(Image source) [ID: blue denim shorts with a floral fabric insert at the side seams.]
You don't need to resize the entire garment if you don't want to. For example, One Brown Mom turned this ankle-length skirt with a too small waistband into a well-fitting knee-length skirt by taking advantage of the skirt's flared shape.
(Image source) [ID: a woman wearing a black shirt and a brown tartan knee-length skirt.]
Throughout our lives, our weight will fluctuate and our bodies will change. There's no shame in this: it's just a fact of life. Therefore, knowing how to upsize an item that is too small for you is a useful skill to learn.
If you want more inspiration, check out these projects by Confessions of a Refashionista, One Brown Mom, and Thriftanista in the City.