With an unexpected two days off from work from Hurricane / Tropical Storm Sandy back in November, I got to business in my sewing room. I decided to sew three ‘quick’ unplanned projects that could be finished within three weeks. Ha! First, I finished up my Tracy Reese Dress (Part I of the Sandy Collection), sewed up my second Purple Friday dress (Part II of the Sandy Collection) and then moved on to this Vogue 8776 cape (the closing piece in the Sandy Collection runway show). I like my style. But, I am NEVER quite this ‘fashionable’. It’s a step outside my box that I plan to return to!
I first spotted this cape on Erica B. in 2011 and it was lust at first site. I wasn’t sure what to sew the cape with but wildly decided to use my Oscar de le Renta double wool that I purchased locally in Baltimore back in 2010. It was a random remnant piece in the store. They’d gotten it from a closing fabric store down south. So, it was by happenstance that I was able to buy it. But, Mood Fabrics online is still stocking it in this and a second colorway! The lush (and expensive) fabric quickly became ‘too good to cut’. I consulted with my sewing bestie Trena and she said it was a bigger waste to let the fabric sit for years than sew something I wanted *now*.
Plus, the fabric is Linus Approved. How does this dog manage to sit on every piece of fabric in the house? It’s like he has a Warm and Cozy radar.
The first thing to note is this material is crazy thick. So thick and warm that I started regretting not making it in to a nice, every day work coat. But, as I progressed, decided the material is not suited to a structured garment. A cape was just about right.
I found it impossible to mark the wool layers with waxed tracing paper. So, for the first time in 20+ years of sewing, I made tailor tacks using my basting thread from the Netherlands.
Because the material is so thick, I didn’t want to use a double layer of the double wool for the facings. So, I used two different scrap pieces of thinner wool I had laying about (black and charcoal) for the inside collar and front facing. Which all required hand-freaking finishing. I’m sure there’s a way to do it by machine. I just didn’t think of it in time. I got it all done during a football game last Sunday. And I’m not handsewing for at least a six months. I detest it. From the facing to all those snaps, hand sewing is the worst. I don’t find it soothing, I don’t care how much control it gives me. It’s why projects languish unfinished for three months in my sewing room :)
Oh, speaking of which, Piece 2 (center front) isn’t marked with how many to cut. You’ll need four from your fabric and two from interfacing. As for interfacing, I didn’t use any. Again, material was so stable with the fused wool, it wasn’t needed. But, I regret not using stay / twill tape at the center front seams. I think my edges are a bit wonky because it needs some stabilisation and the seams have stretched out a bit.
Buttons. You’ll see that I just have two placed at the in-seam buttonholes. I wanted to use all buttons, but with all the layers and double woolness, its was too thick to easily make buttonholes. So, I stuck with the already sewn in-seam buttonholes, and used snaps like Heather suggested in the comments from my last post on the cape. I like that they were already black (except the very last one) so they blend in nicely.
In honor of this cape (and to support two vintage coats in my wardrobe), I bought the cashmere-lined leather gloves I started looking for last year. Neiman Marcus Last Call had them for 50 percent off so they were “just” $47. I was pretty happy with them until I saw Oliva Pope’s cream colored, opera length, leather gloves on the latest Scandal episode. I swear that woman is *owning* winter white!
I know capes can by super impractical. But, they are great for warmer winter days and going in to fall. After a week of 30 degree temps, we’re back up to 50s this week. You never know what the weather will bring! I seriously now believe in having a coat wardrobe. My blue cape is crazy popular and I get stopped on the streets.
I was so sad when I couldn’t tell you where to find this fabric. It was a total random find for me. Here’s a link to the black and white herringbone version. It’s pricey, but seriously luxurious. I’m glad I didn’t let it fester in ‘too good to sew’ land.
Thanks again to my Dearest Lizzie for her photography. Can you believe she has no photography experience?? When she offered to take pictures for me, I was hesitant. She’s big on the dark photos on a camera phone for her Facebook page. But, she blew me away!! Turns out, all she needs is a flash! It was her idea to go under the overpass at our office to get these shots. I apologize for the bitch face. All my smiling photos showed my increasing laugh lines in HD.
I also got several unsolicited compliments on my outfit. I’m wearing a blue bubble skirt I made to bike in the Netherlands with my recently completed black turtleneck. It’s probably a little short for work but with the tights it seems to be o.k.
Onward! I need a palette cleanser. Two final sweater knit projects are coming down the pike.