Thursday, March 24, 2011

Superhero capes

River's birthday is coming up and we'll be having a party with a superhero theme per the little man's request.  What kind of overworked mom would I be if I didn't take this as a direct challenge to make 20 capes as party favors?

 Amazingly, I finished the project in three days and there should be enough superhero mojo for each little guest plus a few left over for the preschool dress up closet.  River got to model one of the finished products tonight before bed.

And of course Lila got in on the act, too!

Here's a little breakdown of how I made the capes (which is a SUPER easy - see what I did there? - project that would take about 30 minutes, if you're not crazy and making 20 of them).  Even with that many I found ways to streamline so, if you're proficient with a sewing machine multiple capes are totally manageable.

First, I found this great tutorial for a quick and dirty cape, and I calculated I'd need about 10 yards of bright fleece for 20 capes.  My math was totally off, so if you have any suggestions for what I can do with 3 yards of leftover fleece, by all means pass them along.  :)

 I followed Amy's instructions pretty closely with two exceptions. First, before cutting I layered four pieces of fleece so I could cut multiple capes at once.  Second, I used a rotary cutter instead of scissors.  I imagine this saved the project because I turned 3+ hours of work into 45 minutes. (If you do this method, do not forget to put a cutting mat under the fabric. Your floors will thank you.)

For detailed instructions, please see Amy's tutorial - it's very clear.  After I assembled the capes, I started on the superhero emblems for the back.

I didn't want to make replicas of existing heroes because I like the idea of the kids making up their own.  So I made card stock templates of four different symbols and traced them onto sheets of fusible web.  Basically fusible web sticks one fabric to another fabric (in this case, felt) when you iron it on.  Remember that any image you draw will be reversed when you're done.

 After I had 20 symbols traced, I cut around them, leaving about 1/4 inch outside the line.  I situated these onto different colored felt, covered them with scrap fabric (VERY IMPORTANT IF WORKING WITH FELT!) and ironed them on.

 Once they were secured to the felt, I cut them out on the line and I had my symbols.

 I removed the backing paper, placed them where I wanted on the back of the cape, and (again, using a piece of scrap fabric) ironed it in place.

 Voila!  Wings!

Considering I was making 20 of these things, I was going to cut myself some slack and stop there.  These capes are supposed to be quick and dirty after all, not lifetime keepsakes.  But I knew one trip through the wash and that decal would be shot.  So I decided to stitch the felt to the cape for extra durability, and I'm really glad I did.

 Doesn't this look better? Once I had an assembly line going, it was actually quick work and I'm glad these will stand up to lots of rough play.

Here they are - don't they look pretty?

Lila's cape is a bit smaller than the others (it was from some leftover purple fleece that was just a couple inches shy of Amy's measurements).  It worked out perfectly for toddler size.

River made goofy hero faces in the mirror for about 20 minutes before I ushered him to bath.

My handsome little hero and his friends are going to have such a blast at his party.  I can't wait!


amy smart said...

These are so adorable!!! I love all the embellishments too. Awesome.

Jet'set said...

I found your blog through Amy's... So glad I did! I'm making 25 capes for next Sat...My big boy's 5th birthday party! I was soo happy to find someone else crazy enough to go through THAT many capes. Going out to buy a rotary cutter tomorrow morning & then the fun begins!

Summer Ryan Doyle said...

Good luck with those capes!! They were a big hit at our party (we still hear about kids who use them every day). :)

miamihoney said...

Wow! You need a cape for all that work, great job!!