Hello Internet friends!
Today I’m super stoked to share with you the beautiful wedding cape that myself and Rachel (@maiestia on Instagram) made together :D The fluffy blonde monster and I just finished our honeymoon so I thought it would be a fitting time to finally post about this piece of handmade couture.
Early on in the ‘wedding researching’ I realized that I really didn’t want to wear a veil, I’m just not a veil chick, but I still wanted ‘something’….some sort of accessory that was veil like. Lucky for me the wedding cape has come very much back into vogue, and I think we can attribute a lot of that to the popularity of game of thrones and Danny’s constant donning of a good cape. So off I went to search Pintrest like it was my job, looking for the perfect wedding cape and while I made myself a nice style board, I quickly realized that a) none of them really had all the things I wanted and b) I was not going to spend upwards of $300 for a cape.
Me being me and wanting to craft as much for our wedding as possible I decided that on top of making my bridemaid’s dresses (more on that in a following post) I would go ahead and make the cape of my dreams! Side bar: I knew that a ton of people would ask me if I would be making my dress for the wedding and I joked that I should charge $5 to each person that asked and then fund the wedding that way, but I really should have! I would have made a killing!
Upon deciding to be a ‘crazy crafting cape bride’ I had to come up with a plan of attack. Unlike 99.9% of the clothing that I make there was no pattern for me to follow and no pattern pieces for me to cut out. So step one was to take all stock of all the wedding capes that I had come across to figure out what were the things I liked and what I didn’t as well as how different capes dealt with issues like attachment to the dress and/or bride. This inventorying of designs revealed that I tended towards a cape designs with a sheer body and lots of fluidity, with the majority of embellishments and intricate details around the shoulders and back.
In terms of how to attach the cape I quickly realized that I was not a fan of anything that clasped at the neck, it wouldn’t match with my ~vision~ so I would have to figure out a different way to attaching the cape to the dress/me. There were a few styles that had clear elastic that attached at the front and back that you would slip under your armpit. While those would functionally work, I foresaw issues with lifting my arms as well as pictures since you would probably still see the elastic despite it being clear. In the end I decided to make a thread chain, attach it to the cape and add the hook portion of a hook and eye to the thread chain. I then sewed the eye portion to the inside of the top of the cups of my wedding dress (I had a semi ‘disney-princess’ moment sitting on my couch with my wedding dress in my lap hand stitching while my two bridesmaids were busily completing whatever harebrained DIY wedding craft I had come up with)
Actually, the entirety of cape was hand sewn now that I think of it…this was because both the lace and the silk veil material was so delicate. This was both a blessing and a curse, a blessing since it forced me to slow down during the crazy pre-wedding planning and a curse because I had to slow down during the crazy pre-wedding planning. Luckily for me I had the brilliant idea to make a DIY ‘shoulder form’ that was surprisingly transportable so I could bring my cape project around to work on. Rachel and I spent a very warm summer day making a made to measure form using an old T-shirt, duct tape, and stuffing to make a Becca size form that I pinned my fabric and lace on to get the shaping right.
Together, Rachel and I first started by pinning on some colour matching tulle to provide a stiffer base for the lace portion to be built upon. This also allowed me to practice hand sewing the shoulder darts and cutting away the excess fabric. We then, painstakingly, matched out mirrored lace pieces and pinned them to the form and then carefully pinned out the darts. over the course of the next few weeks I sewed the darts in the lace and cut back the excess, and sewed the lace to to the tulle underneath providing the structure for the cape.
Following that process Rachel popped over for another cape filled afternoon where we removed the cape shoulders from the form (terrifying moment), pinned the silk veil material to it and I wore it while she made a rough cut of the length and shaping. We decided to leave the edges of veil raw, very on trend in the etsy wedding cape world, which saved us from having to hand sew the hem. This ended up being a wise decision as the wedding was outdoors and I did take a bunch of the forest with me as it caught in the veil, so it was easy to pull out the bigger bits from the unfinished hem and not heartbreaking as it would have been if we had spent all that time hemming the edges.
The final step of making the cape was to appliqué on some lace pieces to hide the shoulder darts. I have to fully thank Rachel for this portion as she used the skills she gained at a couture sewing course to carefully select matching portions of lace, cut them out, and hand sew the majority of the pieces to the cape for me. The job she did was amazing! One of my favourite pre-wedding memories will always be of Rachel happily hand sewing lace while sitting on our couch while I ran around sewing bridesmaids dresses and did other crafts with my bridesmaids. She said “I’m having so much fun sewing this lace, I’m so relaxed probably because it’s not my wedding!” and I loved it, it reminded me in that moment why I had decided to hand craft so much of our wedding, because I love making things! And that I didn’t have to stress about it! So I took a deep breath and kept on crafting :D
On the day of our wedding I was so excited to put on my dress and cape (Dress is by Rue De Seine by the way….It was actually a dress sample so in a way it was my something old!). Funny story, my dad really got into using the steamer to remove every wrinkle from my dress and veil (it was really cute!) he hung the veil on the door of patio while steaming it and then left it there while he steamed the dress. One of our photographers came around to take pictures and saw the veil and started snapping a few shots but was really confused as he thought that the veil was the dress and was shocked at how sheer it was! It was only when he went inside and saw the dress hanging that he understood! (speaking of photographers all of these pictures were taken by the amazing Cat and Jeff of The Apartment Photography, they did such an amazing job!!)
I really, really loved my cape and I was so glad that I decided to hand make it! It was so much fun to wear and take pictures with and I just loved how it turned out! And again a huge thank you to Rachel for helping me with all the hand sewing and teaching me some of her couture techniques! Couldn’t have done it without you!