In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade. . .
With the awakening of Lady Spring, a floral covered bonnet will surely not be amiss in your seasonal wardrobe. A natural coloured straw lampshade hat, completely covered in multi-coloured blooms of all varieties is the perfect statement piece for the early days of this season leading up to Eastertide. The white outfit and pale pink earrings recede, allowing the playful blossoms to take centre stage. A flourish of bright and bold lipstick is the perfect final touch for an ensemble that so clearly heralds “Spring”.
Inspiration for this fashion look from the magazine cover of Vogue April 1, 1956.
Capes are amazing, don’t you agree? Superheroes wear them. Medieval warriors wear them. Little Red Riding Hood wears one. Movie starlets wear them. In short- you should wear one too. (Except if you are talking to Edna Mode in which case she will advise you “No capes!”) I had a black cape once, a few years ago, but unfortunately it hit me right at the widest part of my hip and I discovered that was a rather unflattering length. So after many years of admiring capes, I decided that it was high time I finally made a cape for myself. After all, how hard could it be to make a cape?
Well, considering that it is now March 17, and this is the first project I have completed this year… apparently it was a little more work than I first thought it would be. . .
The first step to making my cape was choosing the fabric. My first thought was a length of plaid wool I picked up a few years ago. However, the mistake I made when I bought it was that I only purchased 1.5 metres, which is not enough to do much of anything with. I thought that I might be able to squeeze a cape out of it, but, alas, a cape takes a surprisingly large amount of yardage, and it was not to be. I was on the lookout for a nice wool, but the fabric stores didn’t have anything I wanted. Then, in January, when I was at the local thrift store, my sister noticed a length of green wool for sale for $10.00, for 2.8 metres. Thrift score!
I decided to line the cape in a gold/tan, because there was no green lining available. The other choices they had at the fabric store were brown or black, but I like how the gold picks up the warm tones of the wool. If you look closely at the wool, you will see that it is woven with gold, green, brown, cinnamon and russet coloured threads. If you can’t match your lining, it’s fun to contrast it so it becomes a feature.
Now that I had the fabric picked out, the next step was the pattern. For a pattern I chose Butterick 3642. This was for no special reason, other than that I was at my local fabric store and this was the only cape pattern they had. I could have bought an indie pattern, but I never really thought about it, and this one seemed fine. I think that this pattern is actually out of print, and there was just one lone pattern left at my local shop! I was planning for a WWII nurses cape style, and the drawing on the back of this pattern looked quite similar in style to that. I decided that I wanted to make the cape knee length, which would put it at the hem length of most of my dresses and skirts. The pattern had two choices- mid calf and mid thigh- but it was simple enough to adjust the pattern to the length that I wanted it to be at.
At this point, I was a bad blogger and dove right into the project without taking any pictures! All, I got was a picture of the stack of fabric before I started cutting it. Oops. The cape went together fairly well, although it took forever to cut out the pieces as there was just enough fabric to fit all the pieces on, and it was like a puzzle to lay them all out exactly! It took me about two days to sew together the pieces, the lining, the collar and the buttonholes. . . and at this point you might wonder why I am writing this in March, not January.
Well, once I got the cape pretty much together, I realized that whoever designed this pattern must have planned to dress football players. The shoulders in the cape were much too wide and the shoulder point hung way off the edge of my shoulder. This resulted both in throwing the direction of the fabric off, as well as looking way too big. I was swimming in fabric. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a cape being too large- but this one was. At this point I was in the depths of despair at the thought of all the work I had done so far, and now had to undo, so I threw it away in disgust and didn’t pick the project up again for a month. (In defence, I was also busy during February preparing for my art show, so I didn’t have a lot of free time to devote to working on a fussy project that was turning out to be more complicated than I originally thought.) So, the abandoned project sat there until last week. I knew that if I didn’t do it now- it would never be done- and I really wanted to wear it! When contemplating what to wear for St. Patrick’s Day, I remembered that I own very little green, and knew that this cape would be the perfect thing. There’s nothing like a deadline to force you to hurry up and sew 🙂 (ps. I do have a small bit of Irish heritage, but have never done anything more to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than dressing in green!)
In regards to fixing this pattern, I ended up pinching out about three inches of fabric from the shoulder and tapering it to the hem. Taking out that fabric made all the difference to the shape and fit of the cape. Instead of looking like I was wearing a blanket, it now falls somewhere between the fit and flare of a nurses cape, and a 40’s swing coat style.
The two things I do not like about how the cape turned out are, one, that the collar likes to roll out. I did everything, including cutting the under collar smaller, and steaming it in shape, but it does still like to flip out. However, if I decide that it bothers me too much, I can always wear it with a fur collar over top. The other thing, is that the hem puckers a bit. I’m planning on taking it in to my local dry cleaners for a pressing. I have gotten garments pressed before (without getting them dry cleaned), as it is actually quite cheap and gives a much more professional finish to a project that you just can’t achieve with an iron. I think getting home sewn garments professionally pressed is totally worth it- especially where wool is concerned.
So there you have it. After all the trials that the fitting gave me, I wasn’t sure I was going to like the finished cape. I do have a history of getting my projects finished and then not liking them, but I actually love how this one turned out this time! I think I will be able to get a lot of wear out of this piece. This colour of green goes very well with so many colours, and capes are great for those chilly days where you need some form of outerwear, but not a buffalo robe. In other words, because I live in Canada, I am going to get a lot of wear out of this before Spring and Summer come around 😉
Would I sew Butterick 3642 again? I don’t think I would. The pattern doesn’t actually call for a lining, and adding a lining to a pattern is always tedious. The aforementioned fit problems were kind of bothersome too, so even though I have fixed them now, I don’t know if I would want to sew it again. I would also like to try a different style of cape, with a different kind of un-seamed shoulder. Maybe I’ll try an indie pattern next time!
Do you have a cape, or wish you had one? Do you have any recommendations for a different cape pattern than Butterick 3642? And, do you observe St. Patrick’s Day, and are you wearing green today?
I have been wearing a lot of florals lately- oh right, that’s because that is the majority of what I own! If you were to take a look in my wardrobe you would see an abundance of patterns and many of those patterns are florals. Large scale garden flowers, tiny patterned flowers, geometrically shaped flowers, painterly flowers and even fabric and lace woven with flowers in it. Florals are such a great print to have though, because they just seem to go with everything. You can pair them with solids and stripes. You can pair them with polka dots and checks. You can even pair some florals with other sized florals, if the colours work well together. If you couldn’t tell already: I like florals 🙂 As I mentioned last week, florals are great all year round, and they add a nice spot of sunshine to the winter season.
The dress I am sharing, for this last day of February, is extremely similar to my black floral cotton skirt. It is not the same design, but at first glance it does appear to be the same pattern. It is made of rayon, and it was a 90’s dress which I shortened and darted to refashion into a more 1940’s style dress. Those two simple alterations turned the dress from looking like something that should have been at a thrift store, into one of my prettiest and favourite pieces for cooler weather. It’s funny how taking a few inches off of a hem, can make such a huge difference isn’t it?
I wore this outfit a few weeks ago, when the weather had warmed up enough to forgo a heavy coat, and I could wear this lighter cashmere blazer. I picked up this blazer many years ago at the thrift store, and to be honest it is actually too boxy for me. However, I do love the cashmere blend and it is such a pretty jacket. I really should take it apart and put some darts in the back, but I am feeling very intimidated by that thought for some reason- even though I don’t think it would actually be very difficult to do. It’s kind of silly that I altered this 90’s dress to suit my style and it quickly became one of my best pieces, and yet, I haven’t taken the time to alter this blazer and as a result I hardly ever wear it. There always seems to be some other project calling my name. . . Maybe someday I’ll get to it- and all the other projects waiting for me to finish!
Do you alter your garments, or get them altered for you when they don’t fit the way you like them to? Do you like to wear florals, and do you wear them in the winter?
I know that as soon as I type these words a huge winter storm is going to blow in, and we are going to be covered in snow for the next two months, and everyone will blame me for bringing it upon us with my false hopes, but I just can’t help it: it’s starting to feel like Spring! My head knows that this is ridiculous, because we have a long ways to go here in Canada, before we can even start to think about Spring, but nevertheless- my heart wants to believe that Winter is drawing to an end at long last. This past Valentine’s Day, it was so warm, that we were able to go out and get pictures of my Valentine’s Day outfit, without even wearing coats. OK, I was chilled by the time I went back inside, but nevertheless, it was wonderful! The sun was shining, the snow was melting quickly, the birds were out singing, and we even found some lovely green moss that had been hiding under the snow waiting to peek out at us.
In light of this beautiful warm weather, florals were not out of place for a Valentine’s Day outfit either. Not that I dress strictly for “the season”, but it can be hard to wear summer clothes in winter, when you have to add 100 layers in order to make it warm enough. It was a very nice change to be able to wear pink, and flowers and bare legs and arms, and not look completely out of place (or freeze to death!) I chose to wear this outfit for Valentine’s Day, because as it is one of my favourite holidays, I couldn’t miss the chance for a themed outfit. However, I don’t have much in the way of pink and red clothing; I have a few separate pieces, but not ones that coordinate very nicely. This was the best I could come up with for a Valentine’s Day outfit: a black floral skirt, and a pink flower in my hair. Apparently this skirt is becoming a bit of a tradition too- because I wore it last February 14th as well! I wear this skirt all the time, so I was hoping to wear something different, but oh well. I guess now you know what you can find me in 90% of the time on weekdays!
For accessories with this outfit, I chose to wear my locket since my post on Tuesday was all about their sentimental history and I thought it would be appropriate. Also, this is the first time I have curled my hair since I started growing it into a bob! I am so excited that it is getting long enough to style, so I added the pink hair flower, to make the outfit a bit more put together. I did this hairstyle with a curling iron, but I am hoping to try pin curls again soon. It’s been over two years since I’ve done pin curls, so maybe I’ll wait for a day where I’m not going anywhere to attempt them 😉
Anyways, I had a lovely Valentine’s day spent with my family. My sister gave me a sweet Valentine card, my mom surprised me with a bouquet of tulips, I baked heart shaped scones for breakfast and my mom baked a chocolate cake for dessert. It can’t get much better than that!
How was your Valentine’s day? Did you dress up in a special Valentine’s Day outfit, or celebrate in any other way? Do you wear themed outfits for holidays, or just wear whatever you want regardless of which “holiday” it is?