Up, up and away…


My most recent project was to design and sew 26 superhero capes for a 6th birthday party my son attended. While it sounds like an impossibly huge undertaking, I had help and it was just too much fun to feel like work.

The finished product.

An added bonus was that the birthday girl’s mom, Sarah, told me while sitting at a sewing machine for the very first time that she felt inspired and empowered. No teacher can ask for more than that.


1. Start with a 30″ x 30″ square of fabric. We used a fairly heavy but inexpensive ($7.99/yd) satin/polyester blend and were able to get 4 capes per yard of fabric. You’ll also need a contrasting fabric if you want to put a design on the back.

Measuring the 30″ by 30″ pieces. Don’t you just love the colours?

My friend and partner in crime, Sarah, getting in there and ripping the squares. (Who has time to cut carefully when there are 26 capes to be made?)

2. Using a plate or other round object and a piece of chalk, draw and cut a half-circle for the neck.

3. Finish the neck edge using either a rolled hem, or a serger.

4. Pleat the edges on either side of the neck edge and stitch in place.

The serged neck edge and pleats. If I were only making a couple of capes, I would have used a rolled hem to finish the neck edge, but when you’re down to the wire, it’s okay to take shortcuts.

Here’s another view of the neck edge and pleats. The pleats give the cape a heroic drape.

5. Finish the remaining side and bottom edges with a narrow hem.

The hemmed edges viewed from the “wrong” side of the fabric.

6. Fold the pleated edges an inch towards the inside and stitch in place.

7. Sew or hot glue squares of velcro to the corners of the pleated edges. Make sure that one piece of velcro is on the right side of the fabric and the other is on the wrong side of the fabric.

We used velcro tabs in the interests of keeping it simple. You could also use a button or ties.

8. Decide on what design you want on the back of the cape. We used a lightning bolt for most of the capes and the birthday girl’s initial to set her apart. Draw your lightning bolt onto heatbond (available in most sewing sections).

Heatbond is one of my very favourite products ever. It makes any applique super easy.

9. Iron the heatbond onto the wrong side of your contrasting fabric and cut it out. Peel off the paper backing, then iron the lightning bolt onto the back of the cape.

That’s a lot of lightning bolts. Can you imagine sewing all of these into place rather than ironing them on?

For a really professional-looking finish, you can then stitch around the outside of the lightning bolt with a tight zigzag in a matching thread. (We did not do this because we had 26 capes to complete in time for the party and we’re not masochists.)

The birthday girl’s cape with her initial on the back.

Sarah decorated cups for the kids with comic book flair – Bam! Kapow!

The table setup. Soooo cool. The kids loved it.


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