Sunday 13 July 2014

The Carnaby Cape by Handmaker's Factory

I'm breaking all the rules here and putting something on the blog not in the order that it was sewn. Naughty, huh?! But you know, I'm am so delighted with this one, I'm going crazy wanting to share it.

And, for maybe the first time ever, I've sewn a new pattern that hasn't already been sewn by every other blogger you read. That's only an anomaly of the seasons, trust me, by the time the Northern Hemisphere winter rolls around this cape should be everywhere!

The Handmaker's Factory is a place online to share what you've made and be inspired by others. In the real world, they run some great looking classes in all manner of crafty endeavours. During school holidays they've run craft sessions for kids and parents, and while I've never found the time to join in, I could happily attend every session they offer!

Handmaker's Factory - sew, knit, refashion and reduce your footprint

The Carnaby Cape is the Handmaker's Factory's first pattern and I was lucky enough to score one when Nichola celebrated her birthday on the blog and gave a copy away.

The pattern comes as a PDF which, while it takes a few pages, comes together very easily. I printed off my pattern and stuck it together and then, perfectly timed, Blogless Anna's version popped into my Bloglovin feed.

That was also the moment that I realised the cape would be unlined. Obviously that's not really a problem, the type of wool you use won't fray and the cape can be hemmed if needs be. Anna's looked lovely after all. But I am such a fussy bitch I was really worried I'd end up with another very-nice-but-can't-take-it-off-in-public disaster.

I had set off to Rathdowne Remnants to hunt down some wool. I knew I wanted a darker colour without an obvious pattern, so it would be different from my Liesl + Co Woodland Stroll cape. I also thought I wanted something with a bit of texture, or a very fine pattern to keep it interesting. Oh and I wanted it to be cheap cause I am a fussy bitch after all and I wasn't sure I'd end up liking what I made.

I found exactly the right length (yay) of this wool coating in the remnant bin. It's dark brown (double yay) and has these tiny pale hairs flecking it. There was a fade line on one side, so the 2m piece cost me $15. Score!! I didn't deserve such luck, but I paid and ran before I felt guilty and handed it on to someone else.

After washing the wool I was showing it to Flipper and pointing out to him how the flecks of greyish white hairs added interest (he still managed to seem disinterested) when I realised that really, it made it look like the cat had sat on it. The potential for my lovely cape to look like a blanket that the cat had slept on, made me more determined than ever to work out how to line it.

This is not going to turn into a tutorial as I cocked it up in so many different ways. But essentially I kept the facings the same, stitched them to a copy of the cape cut from lining, finished the neckhole, made windows for the bound buttonholes and then turned it all inside out.

Sadly, not through the shoulder seam that I'd left unstitched. Nor through the partial opening that I then made in the periphery. No, if you want to turn a donut shape inside out then it has to be either the entire centre circle, or the entire outer circle that is free. Seems obvious now, doesn't it?! The neck was already topstitched and buttonholed so it had to be the periphery. Probably the most unpicking I've ever done, and I'd just snapped my stitch cutter using it to shove the thick layers under the presser foot to do the buttonholes.

I would have been swearing except that I was genuinely puzzled about how it could/should work, and also amused at how, only a few hours earlier I'd been prancing around declaring that I should be turning this into a tutorial, I'm so clever. Not.

If you follow the pattern instructions, which are very well written and nicely illustrated, and don't stray off into unchartered territory like I did, then you can feel very clever making bound buttonholes like these.
The instructions for those welts really are good. If you've never made a welt pocket or bound buttonhole before then this is a pattern that should see you safely through.
The only instruction I found lacking was a cutting layout. That's ironical cause I never look at them when they are given and always assume I can do it much better and with much less fabric. However, be warned; the belt requires a piece that is 20cm wide and almost the length of your fabric, It needs to be cut from one selvedge BEFORE you fold the fabric in half and gaily chop out part of the cape. Yep, you guessed it, my belt is pieced at the centre back in order to be the correct length.
The cape is cleverly closed with two buttons on one side of the neck opening and then the lovely, thick belt/sash, which gives it some shape and means I should never have feared the cat-blanket-thing. Nichola knows what she's doing.
I've been wearing my cape a LOT. It's easy to throw on, warm, comfy and even works well on the bicycle, and when you spread your wings, it's reminiscent of a sugar glider!
Pattern: The Carnaby Cape by Handmaker's Factory
Size: M
Fabric: Wool remnant from Rathdowne Fabrics & Remnants
Notions: 2 buttons (also from Rathdowne)
Extras and modifications: 2m lining fabric, a whole lot of head scratching and a successful lining modification. Accidental requirement to piece the belt at centre back.


  1. now i suddenly want it to be november rather than the lovely 90 degree days we've been having! this looks like such a fun thing to wear. awesome job on it.

    1. As much as I don't like the rain and wind, it is great to be able to layer on clothes and get warm in winter. It is super easy to wear and comfortable, thanks.

  2. I love your cape, and how you have done the lining. And oh while I am at it, I might as well tell you how much I also envy your weather, though you are not responsible for it. :-) But seriously, it looks really complicated, and I think you have done a great job with a very good fabric choice.

    1. Thanks Asmita. the cape pattern itself is fairly straightforward, yet looks very professional. I just had to make it that much harder for myself! I imagine your hot is a bit like our hot, unbearable. Hang in there!

  3. This looks really lovely on you - I've looked at this pattern a few times, but I am not a leader and need to see a hundred versions before committing!

    1. Thanks. I was on the fence about the whole cape thing, but I found myself wearing the Liesl & Co one so often. This one has more coverage in terms of the length. It would seem there is room for two capes in my wardrobe, who would have thought!

  4. That is a stunner! You look so great in it too!

  5. I can understand blogging out of order for this one- it's beautiful! I will have to keep this in mind when the Fall swings back our way.

    1. Thank you. It would be perfect for when the evenings just start to get a chill. A picnic blanket to sit on and a Carnaby Cape to wear! (and a hamper full of food, and a nice glass of wine, and the kids playing somewhere just far enough away... :) )

  6. Wow, you got lucky with that fabric find. And the cape really suits you. Well done for (eventually) getting your head around the lining and turning - that's the sort of thing that makes me hopelessly confused. But hey, what's with all these people envying our weather??

  7. It looks fantastic! Just the thing for this weather. And I'm glad that I'm not the only one whose brain gets tangled when trying to figure out lining and turning when there are no instructions in the pattern for it....


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