Tutorial: T-Shirt Super Hero/Heroine Cape Part 2

Now that you know how to make the easiest cape ever, you can spice it up a bit!

Let’s continue on to see how I added some flair once back at home.

For this you’ll need some more t-shirt material. What I had on hand were scraps from Ken’s old undershirts.  He cuts them up to use as rags.  He had recently made some new ones so I grabbed a couple that were still in pretty good shape.  You’ll also need some interfacing.  I used what I had on hand which is only one sided but if you buy two sided interfacing you won’t have to sew at all.

I decided to make my emblem a circle shape with a design on the inside so the color of the t-shirt could show through. You could make whatever your heart desires.  I found a round plate that I could use to trace a circle and drew right on the white shirt.  I have a handy marker for this very thing that has two tips.  On one side it only comes off if washed or gets wet and on the other side it slowly fades on its own.  I used the fading side.  If you don’t have one of those you could use a pencil.

I then free handed my design in the circle.  If you aren’t comfortable free handing something you could always find a shape or clip art online and print it from your computer to use as a template.  I tried to keep this as low key as possible, so free handing it was for me.

You can see on my star that I messed up a bit and redrew things with the knowledge that the lines would eventually fade.  I also waited to cut my design until after I had sewn it on the cape thinking it would be easier to sew it if it was just one piece of fabric.

Next, cut out your interfacing to match the shape of your applique.  I made mine just slightly smaller so I wouldn’t be fusing it to my ironing board too.  I was also using scraps so I just cut out what I needed to cover the circle.  I’m all about using what you have on hand.

Follow the instructions of your interfacing.  Since my interfacing is just one sided I put the bumpy side of it facing the back of the circle.  I got another scrap piece of shirt and got it wet and covered the circle and interfacing.

Next, I ironed it on with the iron set to the wool setting.  You are supposed to leave it on each spot for about 15 seconds.  You should see lots of steam and the fabric should become dry.  Keep doing this until you have ironed the whole piece.  If it seems it didn’t work enough on part of it just repeat the process.  Now, your design should feel a bit thicker and sturdier.

(Let me stop here, if you have two sided interface, after ironing one side to the design, cut out any of the pieces of design in the middle that you want your t-shirt to show through on now, and then next you peel off the paper and iron the design onto the cape per the directions.  And you could be finished with no sewing!)

I didn’t have that luxury so I had to sew.  I put my circle on the back of the cape where I wanted to end up and pinned it on.

I then sewed on the circle by following all the lines I had drawn.  I also sewed a circle close to the outer edge.  Note:  I used a ballpoint tipped needle to sew it since it is better with knits but I have sewn knits with a normal needle and it works too.

Cut all those extra pieces of thread on the front and back to clean it up.  Here’s a fun tip:  I have wanted to buy some really cute embroidery scissors but haven’t gotten around to it.  One day I realized I had seen some scissors in the house that were pretty much the same…I believe they are cuticle scissors?  I have never used them.  They came with a manicure kit I got as a gift years ago.  They work great for this purpose though.  I’ll probably still buy the other scissors though since they make me happy.

Next, pinch the fabric where you want to cut it out.  When not taking a picture, I pinched the back cape fabric with my left hand and the front applique fabric with my right to pull them apart.

I then cut a small slit in ONLY the top layer.  This allowed me to carefully cut out the unwanted sections.  Make sure the whole time that you are not accidently cutting the cape fabric too.

Now, stand back and admire your super cool cape and pat yourself on the back.

The very first cape I made I used one of Ken’s old shirts so the neck was much larger.  The original tutorial talks about cutting off part of the neck and then adding velcro.  But I didn’t have any velcro and since we all pull shirts on and off our heads everyday I realized it wasn’t really necessary.  So, I just cut off part of the neck and then sewed it back together.  Not the prettiest thing ever but it works.

I also tried making a cape without using interfacing.  Here is what it looks like.  As you can see it pulled a lot at the applique and made it really bunchy.  I’ll probably use my seam ripper and take it off and try again with interfacing.  I was also having huge issues with my thread tension which could have played a role in it as well.  I was so happy to finally figure it all out (it ended up being that I needed to tighten the bobbin holder..who knew?).

Now it’s time to enjoy those capes.  Or use them as aprons?

Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can clarify anything.

After a long day of being a hero sometimes you have to go home and rest.

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