Capes have been items of clothing for many centuries. These days, as well as wearing a cape for fashion purposes, you might want to wear one to a fancy dress party. Think of Superman and Little Red Riding Hood. In this article, we will tell you how to sew two capes, one without a hood and one with.

How to Sew a Basic Cape

Good materials for capes are cotton, satin, flannel, and wool. You will need to get two materials as you will also be making a lining.

Take Measurements

The measurements you will need are the neck and the length. First measure around the base of your neck. Divide this measurement by 2 and then the answer to this, divide by 3.14. This is your radius. Then measure the length. You could choose to have a short cape that covers the shoulders or you might want one that reaches your knees.

Cut the Fabric

Fold the fabric into quarters to form a square and then draw the neck of the cape. To do this, pin a piece of string to the top left-hand corner of the fabric. You will need to draw the radius on the fabric so tie a piece of chalk to the string and make the string the same length as the radius. Draw the opening for your head. 

For the bottom of the cape, add together the radius and length and draw a second arc. Then cut the fabric. You will need to add a ½ inch seam allowance.

Do the same with the lining, using the main fabric as a guide. Fold the two pieces together widthwise. This should create a semi-circle. Cut along the left folded edge to make an opening for your head. Then pin the fabric.

If you want the cape to have ribbons to close it, cut two 30 inch pieces of ribbon in a matching color to the cape. Put these in each corner and sandwich them in between the fabrics. 

Sew the Cape

You will need to first sew around the neck area, making sure that your ribbon is secured as well. Use a ½ inch seam allowance and backstitch at the beginning and end of the thread to make sure that the stitches remain secure. Then sew the bottom of the cape and the two straight edges. Again, backstitch at the beginning and end and use a ½ inch seam allowance. 

Finish the Cape

To make the cape look attractive, cut some slits all the way around the bottom of the cape and some notches to the head opening. Be careful when doing this as you could cut through the stitches. To make the cape lie smoothly, clip the top and bottom of the opening.

Turn the cape to the wrong side and press it flat. If you don’t want to use ribbon, now is the time to add some means of closing the cape. A hook and eye is a good option.

How to Sew a Hooded Cape

A long hooded cape can keep you warm in the winter. Use wool, flannel, fleece, or felt for the best results. 

Cut Your Fabric

Measure yourself from the top of your head to where you want the cape to end. You will probably need one and a half yards of material depending on your height. Cut off 22 inches from the bottom of the fabric for your hood. Cut this piece down to 17 inches in height and leave the 22 inches for the width of the hood. 

You will have a large rectangle left. Cut this to fit your height, leaving enough fabric for a total of two-inch seam allowances.

How to Sew the Body of the Cape

First, put the cape on the wrong side. Fold both of the long edges ½ inch down and press this fold down. Fold the bottom of the cape ⅛ inch and press. Then topstitch all the way around the cape except for the top. Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end so that the stitches remain secure.

How to Sew the Hood

First, sew the 34-inch hem on the wrong side and then one of the 17-inch edges also on the wrong side of the material. Use a ½ inch seam allowance. Leave the other edges for the time being. Then fold the hood in half with the wrong side on the outside. You will have the 22-inch width on the fold. Sew the other 17-inch edge with the same ½  inch seam allowance. Your fabric could fray so sew a zig-zag stitch over the straight stitch. 

Putting the Hood and Cape Together.

Now is the time to join together the body of the cape with the hood. The first thing to do is to sew two rows of straight stitches along the top of the cape. One should have a ¼ inch seam allowance and the other ½ inch. Put some thread in this gap and gather the top of the cape until it measures 22-inches. This will fit the hood. Tie off the thread and then check that the gathering is even.

Right sides touching, pin the cape and hood together. Make sure that the hood fits the cape exactly. With a one-inch seam allowance, sew the two together. This is probably best done slowly as you need to make sure that the gathers don’t bunch up. It may be better to do this by hand. Again, don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and the end of sewing.

Finally, you will need to find a way of closing the cape. You could use ribbons in the same way as we explained before. However, there are other options. For example, you could put a loop on one side of the cape near the top. Then put a frog closure or button on the other side.


Capes aren’t too difficult to sew and can make an attractive addition to any wardrobe. You could sew a short satin cape to wear over a dress for a dinner engagement. Alternatively, you might want a woolen cape with a hood to keep you warm in the winter.