Creating a D.I.Y. No-Sew Costume Cape

A cape has been considered a child's dress up staple item for decades, and with good reason. Many of your child's favorite characters require the use of a good cape. Thus kids have been known to grab most anything to recreate this look. No longer does your child need to borrow one of your bath towels or the baby's blanket to add a cape to their dress up look. Now in just a few minutes, you can craft your own special cape that is made especially for your child! No sewing is required for this easy to make design. All of these items are available at your nearest fabric store, but there's a good chance much of what you need is already laying around the house.

Here are the items we're using to create this look:

  • Fabric that does not fray when cut. Suggested fabric types include knit, felt or fleece. Plan on approximately 30" x 35" for an average size 4-6 cape*.
  • Fabric Glue
  • 1 yd. Grosgrain Ribbon
  • Velcro self-adhesive closure tabs
  • Stiff paper to make patterns
  • Felt Squares

*To measure your child for a more precise fit, using a tape measure, measure from the nape of the neck down how far you want your cape to go. Add 2-3 inches to this measurement to allow enough fabric for a casing.

Follow These Steps to Create this Look

Step One:  Cut your fabric into the size desired. For our shown capes, we have used a 30" x 35" rectangle. Make sure you use a fabric type that will not fray at the edges when cut. A knit fabric that drapes nicely is a good choice for a cape, and you can find this type of fabric in a wide variety of color choices.

Step Two:  Place your fabric on a table with the shorter end at the top, as this is where you will create your casing. Fold the top edge down about 2-3 inches. Lightly mark along this hemline with a piece of chalk. Unfold the hem and apply a stream of fabric glue just inside the chalk line you have drawn to mark your hem. Place your ribbon inside the casing, and fold the fabric back over in place, enclosing the ribbon and pressing the edge of the fabric into the fabric glue. Let the glue dry thoroughly!

Step Three:  Once the glue is dry, gently gather in the casing so that it becomes half the size as it was--for example, if you began with a 30" width, gather the casing in so that it becomes about 15" in width. Using fabric glue, glue the ends together to hold this in place. Use pins to prevent the fabric from shifting and to hold the ribbon in place while it is drying. Let this dry thoroughly.

Step Four:  (Optional) You may wish to decorate your child's cape with a unique insignia that gives the cape a very fun and distinctive personal touch. Make a pattern on some stiff paper and cut it out. Trace the design onto felt squares. Cut the felt designs out with scissors. These designs can then be glued into place with fabric glue, or if you like, you can use a fusible web product to iron the designs onto your cape. (Fusible web is available at fabric stores. Be sure and follow the manufacturers instructions for using these products.)

Step Five:  Once all the glue is dry, trim your ribbon at an angle to about 3" on either side of the cape edge. Using Velcro self-adhesive dots, apply one side of the Velcro to each side of the ribbon and press the adhesive gently so that it adheres firmly to the ribbon. Make sure that you are applying your Velcro closure to the right side of the ribbon to create a handy, easy to use closure for the cape.

You're Done! Now it's time for your child to have hours and hours of imaginative playtime enjoying his or her own unique and very special cape! Capes are great to accessorize the look of magicians, kings, princesses, vampires and most of all they are the perfect for superheroes. Don't be afraid to use your imagination and get creative. Try using glittery fabric paints for some unique decorative touches, or you can even glue a feather boa around the bottom of a girl's cape for a unique princess look. Have fun and be creative!!

Happy Crafting from your friends at Halloween Express!