How to Sew a Cloak without a Pattern



How I sewed a cloak with a hood from scratch without any pattern

My daughter needed a cloak for a school event and rather than go out and buy one I decided to make my own. I had a large piece of old green and gold curtain fabric that was ideal to use so I just had to work out how it was done.

Without having any pattern to follow, making the cloak all came down to measurements and guesswork but we got there in the end. Follow my post so you can see how to sew a cloak without having a pattern too.

This post explains how I made the hooded cloak from start to finish. Hopefully you will find this useful if you need to make up a DIY one in a hurry yourself.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links for which I can be compensated.

Note that this project is to make a simple, unlined cloak with a hood. It comes in just two pieces of fabric with the large cape section as one piece and the hood as another. You could also follow the instructions and leave out the hooded section to make an even easier hood-less cape.

I chose not to line this cloak because lining would have added to the complexity of making it as well as to the cost. For a quick costume piece, going to the expense and trouble of lining was not going to be worth the effort. The curtain fabric I picked out is also heavy enough as it is.

Brother sewing machine, fabric, scissors, tailor's chalk and measuring tape

This was the essence of what I needed to make this project: a sewing machine (which incidentally broke down while making this project!) a measuring tape, fabric scissors, tailor's chalk, a large piece of fabric and a strong coffee or two. 

Since I was working without a pattern, the measuring tape was pretty crucial to taking different measurements on my daughter to work out sizes needed. Luckily a had a huge piece of fabric to work with from an old curtain. 

The longer and fuller you want a costume cloak to be, the more fabric you will need to use. A child's version is naturally going to require quite a bit less than an adult one. 

Taking Some Costume Measurements:


Length of Cape: First you need to know what length you want this to be. Will it be a shorter cape or a long, flowing cloak. 

We needed a long cloak so I measured from the top of the shoulder down to the ankles and came up with a 100 cm / 39 inch length after also adding on an inch for seam allowances. I will refer to this as Measurement A.

Fabric Size Estimates: So the size of your fabric for a hoodless version is going to be Measurement A for the Length x Measurement A Doubled for the Width. In our case we needed a piece of fabric that was a minimum of 100 cm / 39 inches long x 200 cm / 78 inches wide. 

That measurement does not include making the hood for which we also needed another piece around 60 cm / 23 inches x 25 cm / 9 inches in size. This was for a very small sized 7 year old at the time of making. You'll probably want to allocate quite a bit more than that.  




Collar / Neck Area: Measure very loosely around the neck area - you want the measuring tape to feel as loose as you'd like the finished collar area or neck section to be. 

Once you've got this measurement, you need to halve it and also add on an inch for the seam allowance. This will be referred to as Measurement B.

Fabric, pink tailor's chalk, measure tape

Once you've got your size of fabric sorted for the actual cloak section which is made from one continuous piece, you need to fold it in half. Do this by placing the fabric in front of you on a work surface with the wrong side up. 

Have the longest side running across horizontally and the shortest side going up vertically. Take hold of the right side of this piece and pull it across to the left - line the fabric up and smooth it out. You now should have it folded in half with the right side of the material facing you. 

The neck section cut away from the folded fabric

On the top right side where the folded edge is, is where you will mark and cut out the shape for the neck. Find Measurement B that you worked out for the neck area on the measuring tape. 

Hold the top of the measuring tape on the corner of the fabric, and using Tailor's Chalk or a suitable fabric marker, mark off this measurement from the right side of the fold up to the top of the fabric. 

You do this by keeping the top of the tape measure on the corner and gradually move the bottom edge across in an arc, marking the measurement off as you go. You should end up with a quarter circle shape which you then cut out. You can see this piece cut out in the photo above.

Cutting through the green patterned fabric

Now you need Measurement A which is the length of the cape. Use the same tape measure method to mark this measurement off from the right fold, up to the top of the fabric. 

Like the neckline, it makes a quarter circle which you then cut out carefully bearing in mind this is folded so you are cutting through two layers. You now have the rough beginnings of a cloak cut out.

Using a sewing machine to make a hem

Now is the time to get sewing. It's best to use a zig zag stitch or an overcast stitch on all the raw edges of the cloak piece you just cut out to help avoid any fraying fabric later on. For a very rough DIY job, you can leave the edges as they are. 

I did a basic hem down both sides and all along the bottom of the cloak. I turned over about half an inch of fabric to the wrong side and stitched a 1/4 inch seam using straight stitch to make a simple hem.

Button fastening with elasticated loop

If you want a cape without a hood then simply hem along the neckline. You can add a clasp at the neck. I choose to add a big button on one side and a longish loop of elastic cord on the other which makes it easy for my daughter to put this on and off herself. The elastic cord also adds space for growth and movement too.

For Making a Hooded Cape:




Finished long full cloak cape with a hood

Here's the finished version. My daughter loves to wear this and mostly uses it to pretend she is a Hobbit from Middle Earth. 

You can use this same technique to make a witches or wizard's cape, Vampire, super hero, Fantasy LOTR Elf, a character from Harry potter and so much more. I hope you've enjoyed reading my justhalloweencrafts page today, thanks for your visit. Any comments can be left below for me thank you.

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