Toaster Sweater and Cape

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!

19 thoughts on “Toaster Sweater and Cape

  1. I made the Camden cape from Seamwork (I made it last winter) and just realized I never got a chance to wear it this year. 😦 Stupid southern weather. It’s so dreamy though. Maybe I’ll put it on now. The arm holes make it perfect for working, they’re right at keyboard level. 😀

    Sewing project: Seamwork Camden


  2. Dopamine dressing is a perfect term! I have knitted a bunch of cape-like creations and I think I sewed a vintage cape years ago though I have no current evidence of that. Seriously – they are more practical than I’d imagined. Esp in boiled wool!


    1. You know, I’m gradually coming around to natural fibers! 😛 Only took me a decade longer than everyone…


  3. I made the Winterberry cape a couple of years ago, no idea why I thought I’d need a full length cape but I love it. They’ve just re-released the pattern with a hip length version that I might just try!


  4. I love it! The green color is so great. It’s definitely a great item for dopamine dressing.

    And I have totally sewn capes in the past! The first one was actually back in 2011 – I sewed a Burda cape with ridiculously giant pockets as a duplicitous way to get extra carry on goods on an international flight (my sister was doing study abroad and traveling with both medications and books took a little finagling). I also sewed a McCall’s cape recently – I have been calling it the “accidental Jawa” cape because it has distinctly Star Wars vibes. Probably I would have worn it more if I’d actually ever gone anywhere after finishing it, but, you know, pandemic. But I still *could* wear it somewhere and help make 2022 the year of the cape!


  5. Wow! It’s like you’ve read my mind!

    I keep looking at cape patterns and have just bought the Toaster, and your blog post has convinced me of my next make, THANK YOU!


  6. I thought it was a Toaster cape shirt with striped ribbing at cuffs and waist!
    I’ve been looking into making one of Opus Elenae’s London hoods-hood with cape attached
    I Made a Medieval London Hood for Coming Out Day! [CC]

    I Made (Another) 14th Century London Hood [CC]

    Manuscript Challenge: Pearled London Hood


  7. Very cute! I have knitted & sewn capes, because I’ve always run hot, & menopause was just awful. Mine open at the front, for instant cooling.
    Tacking under the sleeves almost makes it a swoncho!


      1. Yes, there’s a few knitting patterns for them! I think if you added cuffs to your cape, that would make it more of one. But I don’t think there’s an official definition. 🙂


  8. I love the green! Was overdyeing it very messy. I’ve thought about dyeing fabric to get a color I can’t find, but then I think about cleaning my washer and change my mind.


    1. It’s a bit messy, but if you have a couple of old towels (or from a thrift shop) just run the washer with them afterwards, soap, & a little bleach. If you’re worried about the bleach, use vinegar in the rinse, because it inactivates(?) it. You can do it! I don’t usually, because my water doesn’t get hot enough


    2. I agree with Iaurapud! I do the washer method too, and it’s the one time it’s handy to have an old school top loader washer. I’m sure it works fine with newer models too though. I have never tried the stove top method because that does sound like a drippy mess!


  9. The color of your cape turned out perfectly! I too made several capes one year. But, as an itinerant therapist that carries a lot of stuff from school to school, they are not the most practical of garments for this unfortunately- though I do like that yours is shorter, and that would work better…. I love the drama of capes!


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