Sunday, October 3, 2010

T Shirt Cape Tutorial

Do you have a little Super Hero in desperate need of a good cape?! 

(Because, you know, you can't fly without a cape!)

All you need is some old T shirts, a pair of scissors, and a few minutes...unless you want to have the best dressed super hero on the block.  Then you'll also need a sewing machine and some t shirt scraps, but don't worry!  Its still pretty easy and totally worth the little bit of extra effort!

Here we go....

 First, cut the sleeves off the t shirt.  Cut along the shoulder seam, around the front of the collar, and along the other shoulder seam.  It should end up looking something like this:
 Fold it in half length-wise and cut it in a half tear-drop shape:
 (sorry it's upside down)

If, at this point, you're little hero is screaming something like "I-NEED-MY-CAPE-RIGHT-NOW-THE-BAD-GUY-IS-GETTING-AWAY!!!!" then throw this thing over his head and let him fly off to save the day.

But, if the little tyke is preoccupied with...I don't know, finding a pair of underwear to put over top his pants...then grab a few extra minutes and make this cape a little snazzier!

I used scraps from tshirts I used for other projects, but I imagine you could use any kind of fabric for the decorations.  If you want an insignia, the easiest way to get that diamond-ish shape is to cut a square, then cut a triangle off the corner. Like so:

Then cut out the initial of your choosing, and sew it onto the diamond shape. (T shirts can be tricky to sew, they stretch sometimes. You could use Wonder Under to get it to stay put, or just interfacing on the letter as well as the diamond - you would still need to pin if you use interfacing. I was getting lazy so I did neither, but just pinned it. It is SO not even and next time I will be better and not cut corners!)

If you used a shirt that had printing on it, like this white one, then here's what you do next: 
Use the cape as a pattern, cut out a tear-drop shape from a solid colored t-shirt.  (I know what you're thinking, why didnt I just use the solid colored shirt for the cape to start with?  Well, I'd already cut into that shirt for another project and cut right through the collar.  Thats why. If you dont have a solid colored t shirt, you could use any kind of fabric I imagine.)

I dont have a picture of this, but now is when you sew the diamond (or whatever decoration you chose) onto the right side of the solid colored teardrop.

Next, you're going to lay the RIGHT side of the solid colored shirt against the WRONG side of the shirt with printing on it.  (This pic has the solid colored shirt folded back to show the difference between the right and wrong sides.  Yeah, clear as mud...I know.)  Maybe this will the RIGHT side of the shirt with printing face down on the table, then place the solid colored shirt on top of it with the RIGHT side facedown.
Sew around the outside of the cape, starting at one side of the collar and ending at the othe side of the collar.
(try to ignore the blue blob...this pic is acutally AFTER its sewn and turned, so the insignia was showing and I didnt want to confuse you.  Well, anymore than you already are, right?)
You want to leave the top part, up along the collar unsewn because next you turn it so that the solid colored shirt is on top, insignia facing out, and you'll tuck the top part under just a bit and stitch straight across.
(tucked under, not sewn yet)

Lastly, you iron it and topstitch around the outside and you're done!

If you are just using a solid colored shirt, then this is your next step:

You can do a number of things to finish the cape if you're just using a solid colored shirt.  It will only be one layer, so you can fold it under and hem the outside of the cape.  You could serge it, too, or if you want you can just leave it.  The edges will curl a bit when its washed and dried, but it shouldn't really unravel.

OR, if you want you could edge it in a coordinating color like I did here:
I cut off the bottom of the blue shirt, about 1/2 inch above the stitching of the hem.  Then I pinned it around the edge, with the hem on the top and the cut edge folded underneath.  Kind of like bias tape...but not.

NOTE: Depending on how big your cape is, you may need more than one shirt to do this.  I used a size XL for the pink shirt, so the cape is good sized and I had to use the hems from 2 shirts - I just happened to have 2 identical shirts.  Some other options are to use white, then you dont need identical white shirts because white is white pretty much.  Or you could cut 1" wide strips from the coordinating color shirt and fold it over similar to what I did above.  I would recommend using a rotary cutter so you get a very straight cut.
Sew around the decorative edge, and you're done!

I should add, if you used a big t shirt like I did you may find that the collar is ridiculously big for your child and makes the cape hang down too low in the back.  I ended up cutting the collar and just knotting it for a better fit.  Then I dealt with this for a good 20 minutes straight:
"Mommy, I want it off. No, I want it on.  Mommy, take it off.  Put it back on!  MOMMY!"
The cape ended up disappearing when her back was turned, and it will stay gone until I get a chance to sew some velcro on!
(Before I cut the collar, see how it hangs down a bit?)

(It may look like these two are holding hands or otherwise being friendly and loving, but actually my Monster is trying to steal his sister's snack cup.  The little piggy had already snarfed all of his.)

The Girl Creative

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  1. These are so cute! I have been wanting to make a cape for my super hero loving boy but didn't want something I had to tie each time he wanted to put it on or take it off. This is perfect, thanks for sharing!

  2. My friend shared your blog with me. Since I am thrifty (and broke) I love to get free ideas for fun craftiness!!! YAY!

  3. Great tutorial! I will be having a Halloween costume linky party on Friday and I would love it if you would link this post

  4. This is fabulous! I'm hosting a week of Quick & Easy Costume Tutorials next week. Stop by and link up your tutorial next week at!

  5. I too have been looking for a good way to make a cape. I think Velcro is in our horizon, too. I worry about something over their hair and around their neck choking them. If someone stepped on their cape in back it could really do a number on their throats! I have lots of old T-shirts though!


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