Friday, December 28, 2012


I cancelled with the group I volunteer with at Harvester's Food Bank to work on our nephew's costume presents. I also cancelled because I was still sick. I'm really looking forward to the days when I feel energized and healthy again!

Cape and tool belt for our youngest nephew

The cape:

In the last post, I had already cut the fabric and applied the lightning bolt applique. All I had left to do were add ties and finish the seams. I used a zigzag stitch to close up some purple bias tape that sweetie had made awhile back. It matched the cape and saved me from more measuring, cutting and pressing. I cut them to a length that would manageable to tie and pinned them between the inner and outer cape layers.

Then, I pinned the cape around all sides and marked with chalk across a 6-inch section so I would remember not to sew it shut. I needed a place to pull the cape right-side-out. Anyhoo, when I got the bottom of the cape, the fabric wasn't lining up. The black was anywhere from flush with purple to a full inch longer. I called out to Sweetie for help, asking if I should trim the black flush with the purple or just wing it and sew along without the 5/8 inch guide mark. She suggested I flip it right-side-out, fold the bottom pieces inward and press with an iron, then just close the gap with the top stitch. Basically, she wanted to ensure that I kept the bell-shaped curve along the bottom and since I couldn't stay along the plate guide, I was more likely to not keep the shape.

That seemed like a lot of trouble to me. It also seemed more likely for me to mess up. I told her I understood and let her walk back to what she was doing. Then I flipped it wrong side out again and looked at it.

I didn't trust myself to cut the black fabric flush with the purple. It stretches weird (which is how it ended up this way to start with) and I was afraid I'd end up with it even shorter in spots and then I'd have another mess on my hands.

I also didn't trust myself to fold it under evenly along the entire length of the cape. Six inches is one thing but there was a lot of room for error along 3 feet or so.

Since I knew the purple fabric was cut right, I decided I would draw a line to sew along. I found a piece of chalk that was the exact length from the middle of the foot to the 5/8 inch plate guide. I laid one end of the chalk at the edge of the purple fabric and applied pressure to the other end, drawing an even line all the way along the bottom of the cape. Then I went back to the machine and sewed it (remembering, miraculously, to leave a 6-inch gap).

My fix

Once the lining and outer fabrics of the cape were top-stitched flat, I could have been done. However, I wanted to add Velcro to the tie straps so that our nephew could put it on himself and wouldn't choke himself if he got snagged on something. If an adult wants to tie them and supervise, then fine, but the other option is now available as well!

My compromise

Once that was finished, the cape really was done!

The finished cape!

The tool belt:

Sweetie didn't like the pattern that she'd picked up for the tool belt. It was sized for an adult and for her, it was just more trouble than was necessary to size it down. She found a quick and easy follow-along online that gave the basic idea and she just winged it. She cut all the pieces and I did the sewing. We both worked the strap tubes right-side-out. Working an 18-inch long damp denim tube of about 1-inch diameter right-side-out is a tedious task but we got it done!

I pinned the straps between the layers of denim and sewed a quarter inch seam around the perimeter. Apparently, I didn't have the edge of one strap completely flush with the seam because when I flipped it right-side-out, it was hanging off. One tough tug from a little boy and that strap would be a goner. Sweetie pondered how to fix it as I pressed and top-stitched.


What Sweetie came up with was to attach a strip of denim or corduroy to pull it together and add strength. I suggested that denim would look like a patch job, whereas corduroy would look like a trim accent. I got the strip sewed on and it looks like the repair was a success!

Perfect fix - and looks like intentional trimming!

I pulled out some of the cheap-o play tools we'd gotten for him and filled the tool belt.
Lookin' good! That hammer loop is my favorite part :-)

The finished tool belt!

Sweetie informed me that she is going to do the apron for our niece. I had thought I was doing that and was more than a little stressed about when I'd find the time, but apparently that wasn't necessary. We bought oil cloth to make the apron so it can be wiped down. She thinks the oil cloth might be difficult for me to work with and we don't have enough extra for me to make mistakes. I don't mind at all.

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