Toaster Sweater and Cape

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2022: The year of the cape?

One of my yearly predictions was that capes would replace chore coats as the cool trendy garment, so I had to do my part to make that come true. Capes are just more fun! Sure they aren’t, you know, practical, but dammit, hard times call for dopamine dressing.

This cape is made from boiled wool using the Sew House 7 Toaster Sweater pattern. It was just released in expanded sizes, so this project helped me justify buying it.

A good blogger would have a full tutorial for you… but riffing on patterns is just how my brain works, so I don’t have detailed instructions. Basically, extend the raglan seam diagonally on front, back and sleeves, and sew together. I used the length of the front pattern piece (without the bottom band) as my guide.

Cats and mess are critical parts of my sewing process!

I ended up tacking the seams closed at the underarms, which helps everything stay in place through the day, and gives a hint of a sleeve effect. Is that cheating for a cape? Only in a delightful way that means I make the rules and I break them. The edges are all left raw because boiled wool won’t fray.

For the cowl, I extended the turtleneck pattern piece and added length (because I needed more space for my noggin) and depth. I used the selvedge edge of the wool where it hadn’t felted as tightly so that the outer edge of the cowl is larger then the part seamed to the cape. I like how loose and easy the neckline is with these modifications.

(By the way, this wool started out as a pale warm lilac, and I overdyed it with RIT Emerald. I also washed and dried it twice before sewing so that the final garment can go through the wash. I was able to fit it into 1.2m that I’d bought from the discount bin.)

Overall, I like it! I’ve worn the cape a few times and it is cosy and comfortable. I should really go put it on right now, because my shoulders and arms are chilly as I sit under a blanket in my cold house.

Just for fun, I also made the original version of the Toaster Sweater. It feels very “Après Ski” like I should be a snow bunny lounging by a fire with a cocktail. I found the fit snugger than I expected, but looking at other versions, this is the way it is supposed to be. I think my idea of a boxy garment has probably grown boxier since this pattern was first released a few years ago.

Would you, could you, sew a cape? I enjoy projects like this that aren’t ever going to be wardrobe staples, but let me be creative and experiment with sewing and style. If it actually gets worn that is a bonus!

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