23 October 2014

KCW: Hobbit Cloak

Instead of numbering the days for Kid's Clothes Week this time around, I'm just labeling my posts about it with the item I made. I made this cloak on Day 1, and today is Day 4, because it usually takes me a bit to get the pictures off the camera.

E. is going to be a hobbit for Halloween this year, which ties in nicely with KCW's storybook theme this time around. I took a look through Tolkien's intro to The Fellowship of the Ring, and it includes a note that hobbits like bright colours and are extremely fond of yellow and green. The hobbits in the fellowship wear green cloaks, so I took my cue from that.

I happened to have a child's dress-up cape pattern in a book a friend gave me last year when E. was born. The book is Sweet and Simple Handmade. It's a very nice book and my current biggest complaint is that either I am missing one of the pattern sheets altogether, or I have lost one. I don't remember there being four sheets, just three, and that's all I have, and at least one pattern in the book does not have a counterpart on the pattern sheets (and I was going to use that one for a vest for the hobbit costume--now I have to practice my pattern drafting skills instead). Also, I really hate pattern tissue paper. It never folds up again properly. Good book, would be better if it came with a CD of pdf patterns instead.

For the outer fabric of the cape, I went to Fabricana and found some green flannel. I would have loved to use wool fabric, but I don't really want to spend $25+/metre for a toddler's dress-up cape. (And yes, when I made myself a cloak, with the assistance of my grandmother, after my first year of university, I went straight to the woollen section and selected a lovely blue and green wool plaid. It's a lovely item and I've had it for years. Grown-up clothing is different, even if it is for dress-up). I am starting to really love flannel. It's soft, warm, easy to work with, and softens even more with age (true, not as sturdy as linen, but that's okay). I used an old cream-coloured sheet for the lining.

I added a hood, which I traced from one of E.'s sweatshirts, to make it a proper cloak. I used yellow ribbons for the tie at the neck. The cloak was a very fast piece to put together--several long seams each for lining and outer fabric, a couple curved seams for the hood, some careful pinning when sewing the two pieces together, and a little bit of handstitching where I flipped it right-side out (side-note: my blind stitch is improving).
The hobbit-child in motion.

I had to shorten the cloak by about a foot. It's listed in the preschool age section in the book, so it's designed with the average height of three and four-year-olds in mind. This is an easy alteration, though, and one I knew I'd need to make from the get-go. Same with adding the hood--I knew I'd want that so I got to try out drafting a hood for the first time.

Our little hobbit is off on an adventure!
The biggest problem I had with the pattern is it was very obviously designed for dress-up only, not for warmth. The width at the top of the cloak is too small to wrap around my very tiny child's shoulders--it fits because of the ribbon tie. I prefer capes that wrap around the shoulders more, both for practicality (warmth, basic fit, and oh, ribbon tie digging into my child's neck because the cloak has to dangle from the tie, not the shoulders) and aesthetics. This problem is easily solved by adding more panels when cutting out fabric. I kind of want to make another one in red.

I'm now working on E.'s pants for the costume. Charles pants in brown with green flannel contrasting fabric. I really love this pattern and these pants are going to be great for the rest of the winter, not just for Halloween.

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