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Thursday, March 13, 2014

"Anna's" FROZEN Cape DIY {from a towel!}

I interrupt my lack of blogging about our lives here in Peterhead, Scotland to bring you my first (in my memory) tutorial. ;)

Last week, in a panic trying to locate a birthday gift for a 5 yr. old girl, I stumbled across ... nothing.  There was nothing in this town that I wanted to buy for a 5 yr. old girl for her princess birthday party.

Peterhead is not known for its great shopping. :S

So... I headed to Home Bargains.  (for those of you in the States... think "Big Lots")  Walking up and down the discount aisles, I was struck with an idea.  I was in the towel aisle when it all took shape...

I would make an "Anna" cape from the hugely popular "Frozen"!

I bring you...

Here are the supplies you will need:

*  a violently pink full-sized towel
*  a button
* 2+ metres of trim
*  pink thread
*  small piece of elastic (for the button loop)
*  scissors
* (not shown) sewing machine
*tape measure
*child's hangar

****THIS PROJECT TOOK ME ABOUT AN HOUR (including taking photos).****

 Step 1:  Lay out your towel flat on a surface and fold over around 17 inches on one end.
Step 2:  Cut along the fold and set off the 17 in. piece to the side.  (This is the shorter, outer cape.)

 Step 3:  Fold over another 5 inches and cut on the fold.  (This will be the collar.)

You now have 3 pieces.

Step 4:  Take the 17 in. piece (outer cape... or "OC") and lay it out flat.

Step 5:  Place the child's hangar directly in the middle of the rectangle.  This will help us determine where the shoulders will fit.

Step 6:  Fold each side over like this.   I used the lines in the towels to help get the alignment symetrical. 

(I pulled the hangar out on top so you could see where it is placed in the above photo.

Step 7:  Now we are going to put in the curve on the OC.  I used a bowl to make my curve the same on both sides.  Position it to where (with 1/2 in. border) you can follow the line of the bowl around to where the edge of the garment is.  (this sentence is exceptionally odd)
(See what I mean by "1/2 in. border"?)

Continue your curve up to the "neckline".

Here is what mine looked like after I did this step.

Step 8:  Now you will cut out the shoulders.  Follow the line of the hangar leaving the 1/2 in. border again.
 Do both sides.  When you have cut both sides and they look like this... connect the cuts with a straight line.  (This ends up being the back of the neck.)
 And now you have this:
 Which will look like this if you choose to open it up.  (but there isn't a need to open it up... fyi)

Now... to the sewing machine!  Make haste! :)

If I had a serger (or "overlocker" for the Brits) I would have used that machine.  But I don't have one. :(  So... I chose to use the zig-zag stitch.  On my machine, it's "Number 9".  (a little shout out to my algebra teacher from high-school) 

Step 9:  I like to sew up the curved shoulder pieces first.  Since we are using a towel there really isn't a "right side" until we start making seams... so... just line up one of the shoulder seams, and sew!

I like to hang what I'm working on back on the hangar so I keep track of right-side/wrong-side now that there is one. ;)  So... make sure your seams are on the inside and put that puppy on a hangar! ;)

Now... on to the long part of the cape...

Step 10:  You are going to gather the long part of the cape.  To do that you will put a long, loose stitch along the top of the towel.  Use the cut edge so you don't have to hem the cape at the end. 

On my machine, the stitch I used for the gathering was 6.

Step 11:  Once you have put in the loose stitch across the top of the cut side of the towel, you will pull (ever so gently) one of the threads and pull the towel in the opposite direction.  This action will start to create the gathers.  I did this from both ends to make the gathers more even.

Now lay this out...

Step 12:  Open back up the OC with the seams facing you.  You will lay the gathered towel on top of this.  Make sure to line up the neck-line and the gathers so they line up on both sides of the cape.

For the careful among you, you may wish to pin the fabric together.  I HATE pinning the fabric... but that is just me. ;)  When you pin, make sure that the pins will run perpendicular to the sewing machine so you don't break your needle.   (I learned this lesson the hard way.)

Once you are confident that your neck-line and gathers are lined up and even, take the towel to the machine.

Make sure you set the machine back to your zig-zag stitch.

Step 13:  Sew up the OC and the cape.  Take your time... 

And... put it back on that hangar to make sure you haven't sewn it up wrong... or missed part of the seam.

And now on to the collar:

Step 14:  Take your 5 in. wide piece and lay it out...
 fold it in half... long-wise.

Step 15:  We are going to put a curve in the collar.  I eye-ball this part... but I use guides on my machine to make the curve similar.  I start out at an angle and curve it toward the bottom of the collar.

... and you are left with this.

Step 16:  Trim that baby. ;)

Step 17:  Here is the part that I guess at most of all.  I take the collar and hold the side that I have put the curve in (with about 1/2 border) on one side and lay the rest of the collar down on the cape.

When I get to the end of the cape, I eye-ball about 1/2 in. border and...
 ... cut.

Then I take the (hopefully right-sized) collar back to the machine and put in the other curve like I did the first one.

And I'm left with this:

Step 18:  Turn the collar right-side out so that the seams are on the inside of the collar.

 Step 19:  Line the collar (right-sides together) up with the cape.  (Again, most people will want to pin this... I didn't.)

Step 20:  (I can't believe I forgot to take a photo of this step!)  Make a seam sewing ALL the layers together.  GO.  SLOW.   I mean... S.L.O.W.  You are sewing through all the layers of the towel.

Now on to the trim!  You have a cape, but it needs the bling to make it princess-y.

(Remember what I said about Peterhead not having a lot of shopping options?  That is true for trim as well.)  Get whatever trim you fancy.  The trim I picked out was the only pink sparkly trim in town.  (fo' reals, yo)

Step 21:  To tack on the trim I used a wide zig-zag stitch (number 10, if you cared to know). ;)

Lay it on and stitch away.  Make sure to turn when the fabric does.

Step 22:  The small piece of elastic will be our button loop.  Put it on one side of the cape and stitch.  (You may need to put the elastic in between 2 pieces of fabric so your machine doesn't eat it and get all seized up... this may... or may not, have happened to me.)

Step 23:  Sew on the button to the opposite side.

And you are done!

Well done!

Today, I finished right as my children walked in from school.  So, instead of putting the finished cape on a hangar, I grabbed Naomi.

I have made 3 of these... and I have made all 3 of them differently.  :)  That's how I role, folks.

Remember, the towel fabric is very forgiving of mistakes.  Perfection isn't attainable, so don't stress about making these "perfect". 

I hope you found my tutorial clear and understandable... 

And even more so, I hope that there are a lot of little girls running around in towels singing at the top of their lungs, and taking after "Anna's" warm, loving heart... loving people even when she has been repeatedly hurt, seeing the good in everyone, and putting others before herself.



Tiffany said...

Thanks so much for posting this tutorial. What a special and beautiful gift! (Don't you just love it when your "Eureka!" moments of creativity actually turn out amazingly awesome?) I have a feeling you are about to inspire a lot of towel-wearing princesses with this fantastic project!

Janine Walker said...

Thanks.. My granddaughter is going to LOVE it! :-)

Anonymous said...

I am going to give this a try!! Have a few Anna Fans who I know would love it Thank you for the tutorial

Lizzard said...

I LOVE this. I eyeball EVERYTHING. So you totally spoke my language here! And that you for the stitch info :)

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