This post contains affiliate links. When you click through and make a purchase, SewHere receives a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks!
When I saw this pattern from StyleArc last year, it was love at first sight! You see, I like wearing over-the-top garments, and wearing a cape is an easy way to say “I’m so extra” and stay warm at the same time. But, there a ton of cape patterns- why did this one intrigue me so? I’ll tell you in all caps: BECAUSE IT APPEARED THAT I WOULD BE ABLE TO MOVE MY ARMS IN THIS CAPE! Ahem, sorry for the loudness.
Look at this illustration- doesn’t it appear that one would be able to move their arms? Yes, yes it does.
It’s Outerwear Month over in the Self Sewn Wardrobe group, so I bit the bullet and bought the PDF pattern from StyleArc’s Etsy shop. Their patterns are interestingly packaged and there are different options on their Etsy vs their website. The pattern I bought was “multi size”- this meant I received three different PDF files, each a different size. So, these sizes were not all in the same file. This isn’t my preference- I like to have many sizes on one sheet and trace off my size, or a blend of sizes. However, a cape doesn’t require the subtlety of fit that a pair of pants does. I measured my back width and bicep circumference, and decided on the size 14.
Fabric and Notions for the StyleArc Nell Cape
I used this speckled wool that I got from LA Finch Fabrics last year- I like to call it “Fruity Pebbles” wool- and I still have enough for another garment, because I think i bought 5 yds! No regrets. I also used a wool (or wool/rayon blend) of unknown origin from our Fabric Library to line the sleeve, face the collar and front, as well as to bind the edge of the cape.
The fabric recommendations say “Wool, crepe, or even a ponte” I think a knit cape would be super cool. I also would love to mix different fabrics together on the outside of the cape, which I might do on my next one. Oh, and I’ll need a satin-lined cape one day.
These knit rayon/wool blends from The Confident Stitch would be amazingly cozy capes!
The pattern calls for an optional hook and eye closure- but look at these fabulous clasps I found in our Button Library! Aren’t they divine?
On my next cape, I think I’ll incorporate a separating zipper to close the front.
StyleArc Nell Cape Pattern Instructions
This is the sad part of this blog post. I am not impressed with the instructions for this pattern. They are unclear, and I think some of the steps are outright wrong. One step tells you to completely sew up the seam where the pocket will be, and then the next step tells you to apply the pocket. I thought maybe there would be some kind of basting/opening of a seam, but no. The “cape sleeve” part of the pattern is super awesome, and it’s the feature that allows for maximum arm mobility, however it gets sandwiched between two pieces that are then supposed to have bound hems. There is no explanation of how to handle this. And don’t just take my word for it- there’s a review on PatternReview that cites the same issues.
I got around these issues by simply not following the instructions, and using my own sewing know-how. I actually lined the cape sleeve and sandwiched it between the front and back, leaving room for a hem binding- this worked well, and I’ll be doing this on future versions of this cape.
There’s also no instruction to topstitch the pockets, yet it appears they are topstitched on the pattern illustration. I topstitched mine- I think they would have flopped around otherwise.
Regarding all of the binding. The instructions state that you need “20 meters or 2.2 yds” of binding. The larger number is probably the correct one, since you are supposed to bind every seam. However, I did not bind all my seams. I was just not interested in doing so. I serged all my seams with a 3 thread narrow after sewing them, and I bound the hem with the red fabric that I used to line the cape sleeve.
StyleArc Nell Cape Drafting and Fit
While a cape doesn’t require a lot of “fit” I do think this pattern is drafted wonderfully! Everything came together perfectly! I really love that StyleArc includes little inward-dashed-notches, instead outward poking triangles, on their patterns. My pattern notcher got a lovely workout and everything lined up nicely while I sewed.
I included a lot of extra topstitching on my cape, because that made me happy.
Self Indulgent Autumnal Pictures of Mallory in the StyleArc Nell Cape
Kind of a senior picture sort of pose.
Windswept with a peek at my red lining!
Easy to hold my baby- yes that is his tongue, he’s a licker.
I can raise my arms!
Oh, and I can drive without worrying that I won’t be able to make sharp turns!
Overall, I’m very glad I tried this pattern and I’m going to make more! Have you made anything by StyleArc? Let me know in the comments!