How to Sew a Cape

    by Kate Lee

    About the Author

    Kate Lee's how-to articles have been published in "Sew Simple," "Craft Stylish" and "Soft Dolls & Animals" magazines. She has been sewing for more than 20 years and has a master's degree in technical writing.


    Capes are simple coverings of fabric that work great as a warm winter coat substitute, or as part of a costume for superheroes, kings, queens, wizards, magicians and more. You can buy or download a pattern to make a fancy cape, or make a simple cape without a pattern. The cape can be any size, for adults, children or even toys. Capes work best when made from thick, durable fabric. If the cape is made from fabric that doesn’t ravel, such as polar fleece, even the hem can be skipped. A matching piece of ribbon or trim is all that is needed to tie the cape closed.

    Things You'll Need

    • Fabric
    • Matching thread
    • Matching ribbon
    • Measuring tape
    • Piece of string
    • Chalk or pen
    • Scissors
    • Straight pins
    • Iron (optional)
    • Sewing machine

    show more

    Measure the distance from the bottom of the neck to where the lower edge of the cape is needed. Add 1 inch to this for hems, if needed. Double this measurement so there is enough fabric to cover the front and back.

    Buy enough fabric to cut a square of fabric to size. If the fabric isn’t wide enough to make a square, sew several pieces of fabric together. Place the pieces right sides together, then stitch them together and press the seam allowance open, or use French seams.

    Fold the square of fabric in half, then in half again.

    Tie a piece of chalk or a pen to the end of the string. Hold the other end of the string at the upper left corner of the fabric so that the chalk or pen just reaches the opposite corner.

    Keep the string taut and draw a quarter circle on the fabric. Cut along the chalk or pen line. This will be the bottom edge of the cape.

    Draw a small quarter circle the same way about 2 inches from the upper left corner. Cut along the chalk or pen line. This will be the neck opening.

    Unfold the fabric. Cut a straight slit from one edge to the center circle to make the front opening in the cape. Try on the cape and make the neck opening larger, if needed.

    Hem the raw edges of the cape, if needed, by folding them 1/2 inch toward the inside of the cape. Press the folded edges, then turn them another 1/2 inch and press them again. Stitch along the folded edges.

    Cut two pieces of ribbon, each about 10 inches long, for ties. Sew one end of each ribbon to the top of the cape, near the neck of the front opening.

    • When working with fabric that ravels and there is a need to sew several pieces together, try to use French seams so that the raw edges won’t show. Place the pieces wrong sides together and stitch them together using 1/4 inch seam allowance. Then fold the pieces so they are right sides together and stitch them again, just slightly farther in than the first row of stitching. This will enclose the raw edges.
    • Once the basic cape is made, decorate it with trim, buttons, jewels, beads, appliques or fabric paint.
    • Use caution when working with scissors, pins, irons and sewing machines.

    Photo Credits

    • tailor thread various colors isolated image by dinostock from