March 13, 2012

Cover up

Can I ask you something?

What do you think of capes?

I'm having some trouble deciding what to make this week. Dutch spring weather is unreliable at the best of times. We've had some nice days but today, it was gray and cold-ish once more... And there's no telling what next week or even next month will be like. Of course, I don't have to be able to wear anything I make straight away, but still, I like to.
It made me think I could use another light jacket for the slightly warmer in-between weather. So far, I have a tweed blazer and the leather and wool jacket I made last year. Those are both fitted, so I'd like a different kind of shape. Which brings me to the question posed above...

Mind you, I have owned a cape before. It was black, almost floor length and made of crushed velvet. In my goth days, I loved it but now, I'm thinking about something different altogether.
A cute little one, in colour. More like something Joan or Peggy would wear.

And, luckily, I recently bought this:

This is booklet number 5 (I found 1 through 6) of an 'easy drafting' series from the 1960's. The fact that they're numbered suggests that no. 1 really was the first issue and 'everything so far' is listed in no. 6 which sort of suggests that this was a short-lived experiment. The subscribtion used to come with a set of sized slopers which, obviously, wasn't sold alongside these booklets (I saw a set of sized slopers for sale recently but those were from a later date and produced by a different company. So, I didn't think they'd be a match and didn't bid). That is a shame but I think I can work around that and just use my own slopers.

In booklet no.5 there's this darling little cape:

I'm thinking about making a hybrid of the versions shown: I rather like the wide neckline but would prefer my buttons at the front. I could use that warmly coloured plaid wool I bought recently...

Or, I could look one page further, at this very cute cape/jacket cross-over:

I'm not sure about those pockets but having sleeves, no matter how short and wide, could make this a little more practical.

I guess there are two real questions here:
1. No matter how cute or period-accurate these two capes are, aren't they just a bit too costume-y for 2012?
And 2. Are capes ever any use in real life? I know they won't exactly keep me warm while cycling, but in order to be any good to me, they'd at least have to do a half-way decent job when I'm walking around outside.
Oh, and a non-official question no. 3: which one do you like best?


  1. I don't know if they're any more costume-y than full skirts or any other retro look you can name. I think a short one would be a lot easier to pull off than the floor-length crushed velvet ;) (depending on the situation of course ;) )

    I've never been impressed with the practicality of capes (much like skirts), but then the climate I'm usually dressing for tends to be a bit extreme---YMMV. They sure are cute looking. (also, 3/4 length sleeves on a jacket aren't practical either, but I still have gotten plenty of use out of my Lady Grey jacket once I got the right gloves... Maybe you'll come up with a workaround for the cape, too.)

    They sure are cute, though. My fave is the wide-necked poncho, although wide necks don't help with the practicality, either. The semi-jacket might be the most sensible...

    Gee, I'm helpful! Good luck---those booklets look really nifty!

  2. Love the books, heel mooi! I like the top cape but I'm not sure it would be an everyday garment especially in cooler Dutch weather. Plus I always wonder if they are practical to move around in. That said I am covering the recent Paco peralta cape pattern, would be great for a wedding

  3. Capes were big in Philadelphia this past winter, and I didn't think any of the women wearing them looked particularly costumey. When worn with regular clothes and made without flashy buttons they just looked like the latest fashion (and a little cold.) I love capes and have a similar pattern kicking around myself, but haven't yet decided on what weight fabric to use. Luck with yours!

  4. I love capes! here's my favorite:

  5. Capes are not really all that practical in today's era with handbags and whatnot requiring a woman to run errands and not just look nice! But I agree that they do look wonderful!
    I really love the last one in this post, the jacket/cape one. Such a nice silhouette.
    (and ps. please don't become another Joan/Peggy dress-alike...)

  6. I think capes look very elegant and not costumey, but I'm not sure how practical they are. I'm leaning towards the second pattern because it looks a bit more wearable.

  7. I've seen girls in Rotterdam biking with their capes and I'm terribly envious of them (actually, the cape has been in my to-sew list for 2 years already!). I'd made the cape/jacket with sleeves, it's just easy to wear if you carry a handbag. Yay for capes!

  8. I have a beautiful wool cape and I love it for biking! It keeps the wind off without blocking off the, ahem, armpits.

    Word to the wise though--if you'll be biking you need longer slits in the front for your arms, to accommodate the position on your bike.

    I'm not qualified to comment on the fashion-potential though. :)

  9. I love capes so much. I get cold and love the thought of walking around with what feels like a big blanket draped around me. Plus they have a drama--I love all that movement. All three of those are fun but I like the last one with its sort-of-sleeves. (Why is it that the illustration makes it look like she has no shoulders?)

  10. I don't think it would be costumey at all. But then, I was wearing Issey Miyake in Junior High (in Virginia of all places), so I'm a bit different than the average woman. I like the wide neckline of the first one but with the tiny sleeves of the last one.

  11. I think capes are cute! There was a darling one in Knip Mode some time back. I have several crocheted ponchos that I love! (Their nice, not tacky and homemade looking) I also have a big wool cape with faux fur trim, but to be honest it gets in the way and I haven't worn it for years. It's more of a going to the opera kind of cape. So, I think the smaller styles are more practical and they can work in 2012! (You can make anything work you want to!)

  12. I LOVE the bottom three! And agree with the merits of short & wide sleeves versus none at all.

  13. I like capes. I think if it fits well and doesn't look like Mary Poppins should really be wearing it then capes are nice.

  14. I wear capes! I have a very old navy nurse's cape and a longer seventies, more bohemian, one. They are not exactly the typical outfit, but with much wear I have never had anyone look at me oddly. The longer one will, obviously, be noticeably warmer (you have to take into account more cold air entering from the bottom than with a coat or jacket). I push a buggy (stroller) in mine, or carry a handbag and even shopping with no trouble, I find them to be perfectly comfortable and practical. They are merely not very useful on days when the lack of full arm coverage will be too chilly, but so long as a cape is not your only option, you're smiling.