Recently, a friend approached me about sewing a cape and veil for her 6-year-old daughter (who is E’s best friend) to wear at her upcoming baptism. She also requested that I sew it out of her wedding dress, which she swore that she had no attachment to. After checking and re-checking that she was really OK with it, I agreed. I then proceeded to chicken out for a couple of weeks, because it turns out that massacring someone’s wedding dress is rather nerve wracking.
Trying out the pattern, Big Little’s Children’s Unisex Cape Bundle, seemed like a good place to start. I cut the capelet length out of some boiled wool and quilting cotton scraps to save fabric, since I mostly wanted to check the fit around the shoulders and collar. I’m glad I did try it out first, since I could not get the collar piece to fit properly – even with all the easing and gentle stretching I could do, it just didn’t seem long enough to match up with the notches on the front piece of the cape. I ended up adding about 1 1/2″ to the centre back of the collar to make it fit properly. Other than that slight snafu, it came together nicely.
I haven’t managed to get any pictures of it on a child, but E likes the capelet and has been happily wearing it. Probably helps that she thinks I made it for her friend, and she managed to snag it for herself:) E also likes the bunny lining, which is a Creative Thursday print from a few years ago.
So, pattern tested out and collar piece fixed, I took a deep breath, measured five times, and cut up the wedding dress. It was a very simple pattern to sew, but I was still worried about screwing up and cutting out two left front pieces or something. It’s not like I could just run to the store and get more of the fabric!
The fabric is an embroidered silk, lined with cotton lawn, which was the only fabric I could find that would be the right colour – it’s remarkably difficult to match up whites. It has a simple loop and mother-of-pearl button for the closure.
The only change I made to the pattern was to round off the front corners of the cape, which in the pattern are squared off for the cloak length:
E is insanely jealous that her friend gets to wear a “queen cape”, and wants to know why she has to go to the school where they learn to speak French. She said she would prefer to go to her friend’s school, where they learn to speak Catholic and wear fancy capes:)