This instructable is a continuation of my Elsa dress, which can be found here: Elsa Dress Instructable This cape is meant to be detachable from the dress, so it can be put away when not in use and to avoid being stepped on.
A bit of warning: this cape took close to 70 hours for me to make. 67 of those hours was the rhinestone application. My daughter didn't even ask for this part, all she wanted was the dress and maybe a wig. This was my own doing.
Step 1: Stuff 'N Thangs
The quantities given in this instructable are variable, and they will need to be increased or decreased based on the size of your cape and the designs chosen. This is how much it took to make this exact cape. Plan yours accordingly, please.
You will need:
- 3 yards of sheer, pale blue fabric
- matching thread
- straight pins
- a pattern for cape and cape designs (can be found on internet, even on Etsy. Find one you like.)
- Gem-Tac glue OR another clear-drying glue (if using glitter)
- rhinestones OR glitter (See note)
- wax paper
- White eyeliner pencil (if using rhinestones)
Note: You can opt for either rhinestones or glitter to put the designs on. My husband instated a massive glitter ban on our household and surrounding areas, so I was not allowed to use it. I opted for rhinestones, though I didn't mind since they look so much more amazing... more labor and cost intensive, but visually superior. Glitter is a most cost effective and quicker option.
If using rhinestones, you will need approximately 7-8 packages of 1440 count clear rhinestones, 5-6 packages of 1440 count aqua rhinestones, and 4-5 packages of 1440 count light blue rhinestones. I used approximately 21,000 rhinestones on this cape, give take a few hundred.
If using glitter, I can only approximate the amounts needed, but find large containers of glitter in the colors you want. Aqua, light blue, silver, or white are ideal choices.
Step 2: Drafting the Cape
Begin by finding your cape pattern. There are a number of shapes for Elsa's cape available out there, you just need to find one you like. Many of the creators of the capes will let you use the cape pattern if you credit them. I used the pattern from Nostalchicks Cosplay. You will probably need to take the pattern and have it blown up to the size you will need, if you aren't purchasing a pre-made pattern. You can take the image to places like Kinko's, or find a website that blows up images for posters or PDFs that you can print yourself, such as BlockPosters.com.
Once you have your pattern printed, cut out and assembled, lay your fabric on a flat surface, and iron out any folds (if necessary). Place your pattern pieces on top of the fabric, pin them in place, and trace them with a pen, pencil, or fabric pen. You can then cut them out, making sure to leave a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Step 3: Piecing It All Together
Begin the assembly by placing the panels of the cape together, 'right' sides facing each other, and pinning them together along the seam line. Make sure to only go as far as the actual seam will be. I found it was easiest to work one pair of panels at a time. I first pinned one of the outermost panels to the one next to it, sewed it, moved on to the other outermost panel, sewed it, then sewed one pair to the center panel, then the other pair.
Step 4: SEW Awesome
Now you can start sewing the panels together. If you are using a fabric like organza, be careful. That stuff it more slippery than oil, and not much easier to control. Sew slowly and surely, take your time, and keep the lines lined up. I used a short, thin zig zag stitch, and made sure to keep light tension on the fabric from both the front and the back to keep it feeding through properly.
Work your way through the panels one pair at a time until the entire cape is sewn together. Using an flat iron set on the appropriate setting for your fabric, press the seams flat. Now you can sew in the zipper. Fold over the seam allowance at the top of the cape and pin it against the pull-tab half of the zipper. You can going to want to pin it so the back of the zipper is also the back of the cape. Sew it into place, and remove the pins.
Now you can go through the rest of the cape, and press and pin the edges. Then you can begin sewing the edges down. Move slowly while simultaneously keeping the tension (but without pulling), otherwise the fabric will bunch and snag in the machine.
Before too long, you should have an assembled cape and you could probably even stop here if you wanted, but you don't want to stop here, do you? You want to bedazzle it to death (or maybe your own death-by-backache), right? I knew you did! Let's go!
Step 5: Dot, Dot, Dot... No, Not Morse Code
Find a large flat work surface if you can. I decided to use a big box of fiberfil stuffing, because it was the perfect height to place in front of my couch, and I could jab it with as many straight pins as I wanted and it wouldn't hurt a thing.
Tape your printed out cape designs to your work surface. Tape some wax paper over those designs. The wax paper keeps the glue from seeping through and sticking to everything in its path. Lay your cape over the wax paper. You can pin in place, if that is an option. Otherwise, tape it down, weigh it down, or find some awesome way to keep it in place. If you are using glitter, you're going to want to do this outside, in a garage, or pretty much anywhere but inside your home... if possible.
Pour some rhinestones into a bowl, a lid, or some other large mouthed container. Squeeze some glue onto your cape over the design portion (the sheer fabric makes it extremely easy to see the design through it) and begin placing the rhinestones on it using the soft white eyeliner pencil. You shouldn't put down too much glue at one time, otherwise it will dry before you get to it.
Make sure you have your color pattern mapped out exactly how you want it: color shifts, blue areas, white areas, light blue areas, etc. Color transitions can be easily accomplished by starting with one color (aqua for example) and then slowly dotting in some light blue and alternating between aqua and light blue gradually increasing the number of light blue you are using until you are using it exclusively.
Continue on in this manner, one panel at a time, until you have finished the cape to your liking.
If you are using glitter, you can work in larger sections, sprinkling glitter across the glue in the design and color scheme desired. Once you finish and the glue has dried, I suggest finding a sealant of some kind (another clear drying glue would be great, like Mod Podge.) This way you will be less likely to shed glitter everywhere you go, like an unintentional Glitter Fairy.
Step 6: It's Time to Let It Go
Your Elsa cape is complete! It is time to attach the cape to the dress, and live it up as the snow queen. You now have a cape that is 100% unique, that no one else has, and looks amazing! Congratulations!