The Inescapable, Unavoidable Cape: Past and Present Patterns

Capes and ponchos sewing patterns through the decades. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

Capes: You either adore their casual chicness or consider them an unflattering waste of good fabric. Like culottes, capes and ponchos seem to resurface every decade in fashion. Let’s take a look at some of the cape patterns we’ve offered through the years:

Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1930s: Capes were often paired with suits like this. Very Katharine Hepburn.
Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1940s: If padded shoulders were big in the ’40s, then again in the ’80s, does this mean the 2020s will be all about looking like linebackers again?
Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1950s: Capes were utterly ladylike and often paired with gloves.
Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1960s: Poncho time! This doesn’t look very different from the ponchos of today. Except we don’t wear a fez with our ponchos.
Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1970s: Amazing how everything from the ’70s fits right in with today’s styles.
Decades of capes and poncho sewing patterns from the McCall Pattern Company.
1980s: Oh the drama. You can feel Donna Karan’s influence on the decade just looking at this pattern illustration.
Cape inspiration F/W 2015
RTW cape inspiration: l-r, Joseph Lina, Missoni, Thakoon. Images from Net-a-Porter.
cape patterns
Cape pattern options. Clockwise from top left: Kwik Sew K4031, Vogue Patterns V8959, McCall’s M7202, and Butterick B6250.

Ok, so have we convinced you to sew a cape this season? Where do you stand on capes? Leave a comment and let us know!

Holiday Gift Sewing: Ponchos

fashion inspiration: RTW ponchos and capes
RTW poncho inspiration for you.

This month we’re all about sewing quick and easy gifts for the holidays. Ponchos and capes fit the bill because there is no fitting involved. (Woo-hoo, I hate worrying about fit, don’t you?!) So you can whip one up in a few hours without worrying that it won’t fit the recipient.

Here’s a poncho I made recently from McCall’s M6209 and some mohair sweater knit fabric I bought at Elliott Berman Textiles in NYC:

Poncho made by the McCall Pattern Company, as seen on the blog.

Sweater-knit poncho made by the McCall Pattern Company blog using M6209.

If you just clicked the link above for M6209 you’ll notice that mine is a little different from the pattern. What happened was this: I stitched the shoulder seams that join front to back, tried it on…and I was drowning in fabric. The pattern is designed so that if you are standing with your arms straight out, like you’re a letter T, the fabric hangs from your lower arm down to your lower thigh area (I’m 5’8″). Mind you, I like this look in a cape or a poncho, but I was going for something a little smaller to pop on for a warmth, more like a sweater.

So I found the center points in the front and the back and then cut straight lines to the end of the seams (by the lower arm). I sacrificed a lot of fabric (scarves, maybe?), but it gave me the popover sweater look I was going for. cut lines for McCall's poncho patternBottom line: I now have a cozy poncho that’s easy to wear and was super-fast to make. Definitely think about sewing a poncho as a gift this season. (That’s my co-worker Karen modeling it for me above. She designs the emails we send you and is so accommodating when I drag her away from her work to model for me.)

Are you sewing gifts this season? If you’re looking for ideas check out our Pinterest board:

Follow The McCall Pattern Company’s board Holiday Gift Patterns on Pinterest.