How to Sew a Capelet

By Kate Lee

A capelet is a small cape that covers the shoulders. You can easily sew a simple version of this fashion accessory by gathering the top edge of a piece of fabric and adding ribbon ties. To make a capelet, you’ll need approximately 2 yards of fabric and 1 yard of matching ribbon. If you want to add a lining to the capelet to make it thicker, you’ll need an additional 2 yards of fabric. You can also use a contrasting fabric for the lining to make the capelet reversible.

Sew a Basic Capelet

Cut a rectangle of fabric approximately 45 inches wide and 2 yards long, or large enough to wrap comfortably around your shoulders with room to spare.

Set your sewing machine to the longest stitch length. Sew along the top edge of the fabric, about 1/4 inch from the edge. Sew a second row of long stitches, or basting, 1/4 inch further from the edge than the first.

Pull the ends of the basting thread to gather the fabric until the top edge of the fabric is the right width for a neck opening. The fabric should drape comfortably over your shoulders and overlap by several inches in the front.

Hem the capelet by folding each edge of the fabric over about 1/2 inch toward the wrong side, then folding each edge over another 1/2 inch, encasing the raw edges. Press the folds flat, then stitch along each folded edge using a normal stitch length.

Cut two pieces of ribbon, each about 18 inches long. Stitch the end of one piece of ribbon to one side of the neck opening, and the end of the other piece of ribbon to the other side to make ties.

Sew a Lined or Reversible Capelet

Follow Step 1 and Step 3 of the basic capelet instructions above to make the outside of the capelet. Repeat the same steps, using the lining fabric.

Place the fabric capelet and the lining right sides together, evening them up along the edges. Pin the fabric and lining together, then stitch them together along the outer edge, leaving the neck area unstitched.

Cut small slits in the seam allowance all the way around the capelet, without cutting through the stitching. Turn the capelet right side out and press the edges flat.

Turn the raw edges along the neck opening to the inside of the capelet. Stitch the opening closed.

Cut two pieces of ribbon, each about 18 inches long. Stitch the end of one piece of ribbon to one side of the neck opening, and the end of the other piece of ribbon to the other side to make ties.

Tip

To make a simple capelet from non-raveling fabric, such as polar fleece, you can skip the hems. Simply gather the top edge of the fabric and add the ribbon ties.

Warning

Use caution when working with scissors, pins, irons and sewing machines.