Cloaks are essential to any high fantasy outfit, and from the outside they appear to be complicated, but thankfully, they can actually be pretty easy to make!
No matter if you want to make a full circle, half circle, or 3/4 circle cloak, the pattern is basically the same. Below is the pattern for a 1/4 circle, you just add more of these to the pattern until you have the size that you want.
It also includes the shape for a hood, if you want to add one.
Step 1- Measurements
First off, you need to measure how long you want the cloak to be. This can be floor length, to your knees, trailing behind you majestically, whatever you want. Remember to take shoulders into consideration if you want the entire cloak touching the ground, you make want to take the measurement from neck line, over the shoulder, and then down. Now add 1 inch for hemming. This measurement becomes the distance for the long straight,black lines you see in the first pattern.
This measurement is the radius of your cloak, and from here you want to calculate the circumference. This website will help you. Add 4 inches to your circumference for hemming and seam allowance.
Now decide if you want a full, half, or whatever size cloak and divide the circumference accordingly. So say you want a half circle cloak then divide the circumference by 2! This measurement tells you how long the outer edge of your cloak should be.
This also helps calculate how many panels you need to cut out. But we’ll discuss that in the next step!
Next you need you neck circumference. This can be done by taking flexible tape measure and wrapping it around your neck. You will then want to calculate the radius of your neck. Use the website above to help you with this!
Finally, if you want to add a hood, you need to know how tall you want it to be and how much you want to extend out. I recommend either tracing a hoodie that has a hood that you like or trying out a few mockups to get what you want. If you want a really big fantasy hood, I would take the height of your face from hairline to neckline around the side of your face rather than straight over your nose and add around 10 inches. For a smaller hood, add about 4 inches. This measurement becomes the up and down black lines on the hood pattern. Your neck circumference is the bottom and top lines.
- Cloak Length
- Cloak Circumference
- Neck Circumference
- Neck Radius
- Hood Height (Optional)
Step 2- Purchasing Fabric
Now that you have your circumference, you need to figure out how many panels you need to cut out. This is done by finding the width of the fabric that you are buying. Let’s say that the circumference of your cloak is 100 inches and the fabric you are buying is 44 inches in width. Typically, I divide the fabric width in half becuase I fold the fabric in half longways when cutting out my triangles. I know this will create smaller panels but it helps me get closer to the proper circumference measurement. So now I divide 100 by 22 (44/2) and get 4.54, this means that I can either make the cloak 4 panels and have it be a little smaller, or I can make the cloak be 5 panels and have it be a little bigger. It depend on the look you are going for.
Lets say we go a little smaller with 4 panels. Based on the first pattern above, if I fold my fabric in half I can get 4 panels right away. Now let’s sat the length of my cloak is 50 inches. This means that I will need fabric that is 50 inches long. To make it easy on the people at the cutting counter, get 1.5 yds of 44 inch wide fabric. If you want a hood, buy another half yard of fabric or a yard if you want a really big hood.
In this example, if you need anywhere from 5 to 8 panels then you would double the amount of fabric and get 3 yds. For 9 to 12 panels, triple the amount, and so on.
Step 3- Cutting and Sewing Panels
Iron your fabric and lay it out flat, folded along the short edge (hot dog style!). Cut your fabric to the length of your cloak (this is measurement 1 from above!). Now draw a diagonal line from one edge to the other edge to create your triangles and cut along this line. This will give you four panels, but two of the panels will still be one piece. This is fine, leave them alone, it’s less sewing for you anyway. Repeat until you have enough panels.
Now that you have all of your panels, you need to sew them together. Lay them out similarly to pattern 2 above, your long edges should match up and your short edges should match up in a repeating pattern. Once you sew all of the panels together, you should start to see the basic cloak shape. If the spots were the points meet looks like a mess, don’t worry about it, you’ll cut that off soon enough. When sewing remember that you have to finish your seams, so sew it in a way that lets you do that!
Step 4- Shaping the Cloak and Finishing Seams
Now, iron out all of your seems and lay your cloak on the ground. Fold it until it resembles the second pattern above. You also do not have to fold it, but I find it is easier to manage if you do. It should look like a piece of pizza.
Measure out a string that is the length of your cloak and tie it to a pen or marker. Have a friend hold one end of the string at the point of the pizza while you draw a circle (or half circle, quarter circle). It should follow the longer teal line above.
Repeat the above step with the a string that is the length of your neck radius. Should math up with the short teal line.
Now cut along both lines.
After cutting, you will want to finish your seems in whatever way makes you happy. Here’s a page on seam finishing! Personally, I love a good old french seam, but everyone has a preference!
Step 5- Adding a Hood (Optional)
Hoods really sell the fantasy, in my opinion, but they are not for every costume. Anyway if you want to add a hood, do so now.
You’ll want to measure the length of the neck line on your cloak and use this as the bottom and top measurement on the hood pattern (divided in half since you’ll be cutting two of that pattern!). You can also make this measurement longer and gather the hood for a more voluminous effect. Think assassin’s creed verses lord of the rings.
Your next measurement is the height, which hopefully you figured out before! Cut out two boxes with your measurements and then cut off a curved piece in the top back (the teal line in the pattern). Sew your hood together and finish your inside seam.
Attach the hood to your cloak and finish the neck seam. All of your outside edges should be unhemmed at this point.
Step 6- Hemming
Use your preferred hemming method to finish the cloak! this can be double folding the hem, bias tape, or just some good zig zag stitches.
Congratulations! You finished your cloak!
As always, if you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know this tutorial is brief and makes some assumptions, so if there is any confusion let me know and I will be happy to improve and clarify.
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