I have a really fun project to share with you today. This would be a perfect project for a novice sewist, as it is very simple and quick, but it will also reinforce several important techniques, including joining panels, topstitching seams and making an elastic casing.
A couple weeks ago, my kids were running around the house pretending to be superheros. They had gone up to the linen closet and gotten out their baby hooded towels to use as capes. I thought to myself, I can do better with that, and I whipped up a cape (pictured below) for each of them. The only costume fabric I had in my stash was more "wizard"-ish than superhero-ish, but they were thrilled with the capes anyway.
I took pictures as I made the capes, so I could share the project with you. I hope it inspires you to make something fun for your own kids. Enjoy!
1. First, cut your fabric. You will need a large square of one costume fabric, and a small rectangle of a contrasting fabric (of the same width as the square). It is best to hold the fabric up to your child to determine the size you need. For reference, my square for the above was 28" square and my rectangle was 10" long and 28" wide.
2. Next, line up the square and rectangle, right sides together, at the edge where you want them to join. Pin at intervals of a few inches (or whatever you are comfortable with).
3. Now stitch the two panels together using a regular straight stitch and a 1/2" seam allowance. Be sure to remove pins as you sew! When you get to the end of the seam, go back to the beginning and sew a zig-zag stitch right along the edge to prevent fraying. (I also zig-zagged all the way around the edges of the whole cape at this time.)
4. Now open up your seam and fold the seam allowance up. Turn the cape over and topstitch the seam, which means you just sew a straight stitch along the length of the seam, slightly above the seamline. Make sure the seam allowance is folded under where you are stitching.
5. Now we are going to make a casing for the elastic for the neckline. Fold over the top edge of the cape about 1/2 inch. Sew a straight stitch all the way down your folded edge. DO NOT sew the ends closed!
6. Now cut a length of 1/4" wide elastic about 2/3-3/4 the width of the cape (it depends on how much you want the neckline to gather). Put a small safety pin in one end of the elastic.
7. Carefully thread the elastic through the casing by pushing the safety pin through little by little (see pic). Be sure to keep the trailing end out of the casing (you can put a safety pin at that end also, to keep it from slipping into the casing out of reach).
8. Allow a small amount of elastic to poke out of the end and remove the safety pin. Secure the elastic by zig-zagging back and forth over the end of the casing and through the elastic. Trim the end. Repeat for the other end of the casing and elastic.
9. This picture shows a secured end of the elastic (see the black zigzag stitches under my index finger).
10. Now you need a closure for the cape neckline. I like to use Velcro because it is easy for kids to do themselves and it is safe (will tug free easily if the cape is caught around the neck).
11. For a boy, overlap the left over the right. For a girl, overlap the right over the left. Attach your Velcro in the desired position.
And faster than a speeding bullet, you are done!