My boys have been loving super heroes lately, which is ironic since they have not seen a single super hero movie or tv show. The interest started when Mr. R was a toddler. We had a box of Mini-Wheats advertising the latest Spider-Man movie and Mr. R became obsessed with “Spider-Man cereal”. Not only do we now have a trendy house name for Mini-Wheats, but Marvel successfully introduced super heroes into our house at a very young age. This has expanded to light-up Spider-Man shoes, super hero underwear, and a shirt that says “Today I’m a Super Hero”. Now we can officially add capes to the mix!
Capes are very simple to create, and DIY-ing them is a great way to please not only your child but yourself as well with your handiwork. There are several tutorials out there for making capes, but here you will also find a unique way to make an appliqué easily using any image you can find online. I’m gonna call it unique appliqué! You with me? Follow on below to get started!
- 2 cuts of fabric for the cape to cover about 3/4 of your child, head to toe, double sided. Any type will work, though I prefer silky fabrics myself
- Complimentary fabric used for the super hero symbols. Make sure you have more than enough!
- Heat’n Bond or other similar iron-on adhesive
- Sew-on snaps or other favorite fastener such as velcro
- Child’s tee shirt for reference
- Existing cape (optional!)
- Iron, sewing machine, coordinating thread, scissors, rotary cutter, rotary mat
* A note on different types of Heat’n Bond: there’s a Lite and a Ultra Hold. If you do the Lite version, technically you are supposed to stitch around the outside to help hold it in place, while Ultra Hold should be fine on its own. It wasn’t until I had already cut my shapes out of the Lite version that I realized this. So I put Fray-check around the symbols when done instead and so far it’s holding up! But we know how my shortcuts go…
Measure your child and figure out how long and wide you want the cape to be. It will start smaller at the top then taper out at the bottom to a curved triangle. The capes on my boys almost reach the floor, giving enough space for them to grow taller and still be able to play with them. A good width at the bottom is 3/4 of the hip measurement, with the width at the top just covering their shoulders.
Example final dimensions:
- Child height: 45 in
- Child shoulder width: 10 in
- Child hip: 24 in
- Cape height (excluding neckband): 20 in
- Cape width at shoulders: 10 in
- Cape width at bottom: 18 in
Fold one of your fabrics to have enough overlap for the cape and lay it flat. If you have an existing cape you like the fit of you can use it as a template, but it’s not necessary. The cape in the picture below belongs to Mr. A and the cape I’m making is for Mr. R, who is twice as tall. Hence the size difference! Use the neckband of the shirt to mark a curved cut at the top for the neck hole. The strip at the top of the neck hole will be cut away from the fold.
Mark where you’re going to cut and go for it: flat line (or scalloped edge) at the bottom, curved at the corner, tapering off at the top around the neckband. Use your measurements plus 1/2″ seam allowance.
- Use your pattern you just cut to make another copy in the fabric for the other side.
- It’s unique appliqué time! Here’s my totally-awesome-bet-you-never-thought-of-this skill I’m going to show you. Are you ready?? We’re going totally lazy here. First, measure about how big you want the logo to be on the back of the cape. Cut out enough Heat’n Bond to fit your dimensions.
Find an image you like on your computer. If your image is not symmetrical, you will need a mirror copy so when the logo is ironed on the cape it shows up the right direction. In order to do this you need the Flip this extension for Chrome. Don’t have the Chrome browser? Install it now, you’ll thank me later! Right click on your image, click “Flip this page…”, then “Flip horizontally.” Cool eh? Now you can use it to trick out your husband on his favorite sites!
Measure how big the picture is on your computer screen. If it’s too small, zoom in until it fits. Next take your HnB and lay it right on top of your computer screen and trace! Voila! You don’t have to print a single thing and you can literally trace any image you can find. You may have to zoom in bigger than fits on your computer screen. This is ok. Just trace one corner of the image, reposition the image on the computer, and fit the HnB to match and keep on tracing. If you have multiple colors in your logo like Superman here, you need to repeat this for every separate color set.
Set your iron to the wool setting. Lay the HnB on your fabric, paper side up. Iron by pressing for 2 seconds on each area of your logo. Cut out the shape with either scissors or a rotary cutter, carefully remove the paper backing, and then lay the logo onto the cape, sticky side down. Press this for 8-10 seconds on each part until it is completely attached. If you are doing multiple layers, make sure to put them in the right order!
- Now apply a symbol on the other cape piece if you choose to do so. I don’t have pictures here, but the other side of this has Captain America.
- Time to sew the two cape sides together! Pin them wrong sides together and stitch, leaving 5 or so inches open to turn it right side out. Iron and topstitch all around to complete the look and close the gap.
- All that’s left is attaching the snaps (or velcro or whatever your fancy!). I used sew on snaps. They are pretty simple to sew and have hold together well so far.
Look at you go! If your boys are like mine, they will be having super hero time every day from here on out. I’ve been requested to make one for Captain Underpants, so if you’ll excuse me I’ll be over here working on that. 😉
If you liked this tutorial, would you please give it some love and pin the image below? Thank you!