Sunday, September 25, 2011

Colette Fall Palette Challenge = Burda Cape Pattern Challenge!

Remember this cape?

Yes, that's Burda 08/2010 #112. I love this cape, and so I did trace the pattern, as you may remember, and made a muslin. I was not sure it was necessary to make the muslin, but now, I am really glad I did it, because, if you look at the image, you will notice the odd drape at side seams below the shoulder.

I was happy I found someone who made another cape from the same issue - #113 - which is based on the same pattern as #112. Here is the link. And here is the original:

See? Again? And that girl on the left leans on the cape. I wonder why?!

May I suggest that this pattern is not drafted very well, readers? You see, when I tried the muslin, I looked like an American football player.

I swear, this guy could fill this cape easily!!! And I have cut size 36, which is one size smaller than my regular 38. The patternmaker was drafting it under the influence, I am sure - there is no other explanation.

Anything else was perfect, though - the length, arm openings, the flare. I just had to fix those side seams. And since it was kind of awkward to make alterations on myself, I decided to re-draft the pattern, or side seams on the pattern.


I have a few pattern making books at home, but only one, Patternmaking for Fashion Design, by Helen Joseph-Armstrong had good instructions on cape pattern. Actually it had instructions for two cape styles, an A-line cape (similar to Burda style) and a circular cape.

The thing is, however, that instructions just tell you how to draft that particular style in the book, with that particular amount of flare... Read yourself:
  • "...Extend center back to the length desired. Label D. D-E = A-C plus 3 inches, squared from D.
  • Draw a line from E. Extend the line through C.
  • Blend hem 1/2 inch up at side seam.
  • Mark 1/4 inch above shoulder tip. Label F
  • .... "
and so on...

I did find Armstrong's instructions useful, but the Burda cape had more flare, so I could not use the 1/2 to blend the hem up at side seam. Burda used some 1.5 inches there. Or, drawing the shoulder curve...

What I expect from a good patternmaking book, like this one, is an explanation how these numbers are calculated. Because, readers, following basic geometry rules, these figures would not work in my case. 


... was out of question. For a cape you need to have a sleeve attached to your dress form, and I haven't tackled this task yet. Oh, well...  However, if you do have a dress form with a sleeve, check out my favourite draping book, Draping: Art and Craftsmanship in Fashion Design.  Unfortunately, it is sold out, but is you ever come across it for a reasonable price, grab it immediately - you won't be disappointed. 


I need to get lining for the cape. The thing is I am going to use the same techniques as for my Chanel-inspired jacket, and quilting the lining is a step I want to accomplish on Tuesday. The fabric is an 1" even plaid with white lines on black background and so I wanted to go beyond predictable solid color, such as black. 

Now, if I pick bright colors, such as red, or blue, or anything else, I am afraid I am going to look like a superhero, or a vampire. 

This iconic Dracula cape worn by Sir Christopher Lee, aka the legendary Count Dracula, was auctioned for $43K, apparently. I don't think my cape will score that high with red lining, even with all the couture construction techniques.

I would rather use these 'time-tested combinations' suggested by Claire Shaeffer in her Fabric Sewing Guide:
  • foulard and plaid
  • plaid and paisley
  • plaids and stripes in the same colors with similar scales
  • two plaids in similar scales
  • plaids and checks
  • a positive and a negative print 

My muslin is now fitted, and I have even managed to cut the fabric. 
  • I took pictures, but cannot find the cable to upload them... well, pictures will have to wait 'til tomorrow. 
  • I will try to do all the thread tracing for the cape and 
  • tackle the muslin for my mohair jacket. 
  • I would also love to get some nice charmeuse print for the cape lining... if I have time.
Now, readers, please help! Would you go safe and use solid black charmeuse as cape lining, or be daring and go for print?


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