Skip to main content

Simple Sewing Projects for Beginners

Lesson 11 of 23

Embellishing Your Cape

Susan Beal

Simple Sewing Projects for Beginners

Susan Beal

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

11. Embellishing Your Cape

Lesson Info

Embellishing Your Cape

So just for this fun extra I wanted to revisit ah an application made earlier and this big cape backgrounds has a lot of open space and as you can see on the original came this is a really busy pattern and I thought about adding my son's initial to this cape but I just thought it would be like it's like a tree in a forest because there's so many other letters on this so I thought for this one which has a little bit quieter of a background feel I'd go ahead and take this'll italy application that I made for him ah that was originally going to be for a t shirt I thought I'd go ahead and put that on the cape well students are working on finding tape it might take a minute I can add that now so this cape is going to be gathered at the top so it's actually easiest to put an application on at the very end so you know that it won't be swallowed up by the gathers but what I'm going to do with this one is put it here it's a little below center I'll measure down and give you a reference point so...

this cape is twenty four inches long it's a slightly shorter version and I'm measuring down fourteen inches from the top so that means there's a it's about fourteen inches from the top and about ten inches from the bottom now I have my center because I've left this fold in which is really useful for marking where does and this is the applicator created justice we did in this application segment I'm going to gently peel away the backing and put it right into place here before I start pressing and I'll make sure that didn't move too much time moving down another pinch before it seals make sure it's straight and need this is a little bit of a worse subtle superhero look if you wanted to do a larger one I think the stars and the alphabet from our pack it would be wonderful especially few change the size of it but so no with this application I'll go ahead and defuse it in place my son's favorite color is yellow and I actually think these fabrics are so different but I like how they look together so I'm going to do here she's my hot iron falling the manufacturer structure directions for the fuse herbal and press it on here's just a quick little preview of what it's gonna look like when it's ready so I will zigzagged tio add the edges of the application and I have a few choices with thread color to what's close to me go ahead and change to a yellow on top because that will be my matching fabric color and then for the bottom I'm just going to leave it an orange since the colors air so compay credible I'll test it on a scrap could make sure that the tension is good but it's really kind of nice to not have to change your bob and every single time if it's not going to be quite as important of a spot like an underside rather than a but I want to just check and make sure there's plenty on there so every thread with yellow how's the finding tape assembly line going carry in outer space now the lynx okay where's the needle threaded cage so I want to check back and see what I used for its why the's sketchbooks are great because I always know the zigzag I used last time so I know I have a three and a half with just up here and a length that's between syrian one or one point five and then my contention is that so I'll try that on the scrap see how I like it and then keep going if it looks good okay, dropping a little and then that's always a good sign when you remember to put on this exact steps from the streets. So see, since I'm not some within it, I've adjusted my tension level a little bit, but otherwise I really like the swift and I'm ready to so this really simple alphabet on off about letter e so I want to start at the bottom of this one here on the spine of the e just like my earlier application when I wanna land in the fabric of the yellow fabric which is what I matched my thread too you went about ninety percent plus of your threat to stay on your application possible and I'm just going to stitch the spy in forward okay we don't want to stop over here and then over one more time and tilt it so I can now such forward thiss fabric in the race now I'm just starting again in my corner I wanna stitch forward reverse just a couple stitches to catch it and go to this part of the now I'll stop just a little before just a sigh actually gonna go one more stitch and then I'm gonna this start wait straight line application is great but it's so easy and fast that I'll end up meaning to stop a fraction an inch before the turn or the change and I forget to because I'm going so quickly I thought any curves or important things to look out for so once again I've stopped inside the yellow fabric since that's the applicant working on and want to keep most of the stitching on there for my pivot and I'm gonna go forward no I'm stopping at the corner here upper corner so when I told it ninety degrees now they were in the middle of the letters I think an easier angle to see when I start sewing again having changed my pivot ninety degrees it will be a really nice overlap while moving forward it'll catch the last stitching in a very neat, clean way no, I'm stopping in the corner here so when I began to stitch forward, my zigzag will cover the fabric me seeking you go a little further like that and now I'm on my home stretch again okay after a corner one last time to turn this way a way and now that I'm in the lower corner, I'm on the home home stretch just gonna finish up this on I've got my very own initial e cape you can use a rotary cutter just from this but always hold it away from her fingertips and, uh, close it again when you set it down. All right, so here's a little something extra and I really think the stars are another pattern from the course packet would be darling on this project are acute that fabric actually has rockets on it. Yes, very sweet. Lots of rockets on it broke loves this fabric. Okay, great. So I love I love making every project a little different, so my next stop will be adding the binding tape if parents had a chance to catch up with there's perfect so what will d'oh is we're going to do three sides of our trap is oid with finding tape down one side across the bottom and back up the other side we're not going to do the top gonna leave that open so this one should go pretty quickly since we just got to do it and the other segment for the skirt him same way we did before we're going toe edge this with finding tio so it hugs that neatly and we're in a pennant in place for this do not pen all the way to the very top edge the neck of the cave, the top part of the cape we're not goingto ad finding tape there quite yet so few june at an applicator design I'd recommend either doing it where I did right then kind of in the beginning process or at the very end and then in that case you don't have like pins and finding tape sticking out at the top, but I'm not going to sew it the top I'm just going to thank you for asking I'm going to pin it at the top, but just morning dimension that we're not going to start searching right there we're going to start off a little ways down so pending the binding tape all the way down to the bottom and this is exactly like you did with the skirt him except for that this is at a diagonal instead of a straight line it's very similar but make sure not to pull your cape fabric too hard or miss a bit too much because fabric cut or are organized on the bias can be very stretchy and it can get distorted, so you just want to be general with that when you're handling it, so we're going to stitch this side first, and as soon as you have your first aside of the cape finding tape end, I'm going to change my thread for my applicator color yellow back to my biting tape color orange there's so one bonus of all this color fabric changing applications and biting taping things as you're beginning so it's you'll get lots of practice threating your machines, you'll get very good at it. So with my cabe, I want tio use the same executive for my skirt. I like that setting for this type of mining tape, which is the whitest why does sweat close six lengths to ines tension out for ends? Exactly so for this cape, I'm going to exact my binding tape on again working from the top down, but I'm not going to start searching at the very top because I'm going to need to gather this fabric later and if it's sealed with finding tape, it'll be harder to d'oh, so I want to start a rounds an inch down, give or take when I drop my needle into the finding tape take my first pen out I never so ever pens if I can help it I know some people dio but just one of those things that seems like you've ever had a pen or something of flying towards your face fire sewing I don't give you a healthy respect for those things, so when is exact forward and then I will just back such a stitch just to hold it, arrange it so it's neat and just catching are all the layers through and keep going forward so great once you ah khun start uh sewing at just about an inch below that top edge it's a nice quick binding tapes seem so when you come to the edge of the cape, which is a diagonal corner, not a straight rate angles square, we're going to stop stitching about a quarter inch above that area and no need to back such here we're going to turn the corner and keep going, but I just wanted to show everyone where I am so far with this projects this's soon to the edge so it's a need diagonal and then I'm going to turn the corner like this. I'm one of the things I really like about the bonus materials I was able to put together is that for this segment and the one on sowing the skirt there are lots and lots of tips on finding take and I was really happy to be able to include some illustrations from my really wonderful book illustrator alexis hartman who very graciously gave me permission to share them with students here and I think it really helps have a visual reference as well as watching live video it's just nice to see a really beautiful drawing that makes a lot of sense and has like a really clear perspective because it's just a kind of a reinforcing the same really great way to do it you're finding safe for your quote do you have a science that you like I like to make this size for binding tape I know some people like to make there's whiter like two and a half inches instead of two inch strips but I really like this size then one little yeah it's a really versatile one and then for other projects I like jews a narrower binding taped you but it's nice having a chance to do kind of a wider one on something like a quilt or something that was a lot of color pop like the cape so I'm going to go back and just show this one more time I've done a really simple it's it's an angled it's an angle turn it's not a ninety degree angle but as you can see there's a really, really neat kind of turn and folded binding I'll set it down here so the overhead if you will see it immediately but as you can see, those are my threats from sewing my life same as you can see that there's an angle here with the fold you can experiment and do what works best for you the other thing I really like for corners especially when I'm just you know they're a suffix something thicker like a quote is I hand stitch and a totally contrast color large basting stitches that end up catching the entire thing more neatly than a pin and then I can take a pen out and just have those big basting stitches be my join until I finish machine stitching it it's an extra step and it's one that I detailed in the bonus materials but it can be a nice way to have a very clean edge so now I'm pending along the bottom of my cape almost all the way across and I'm going to stitch this one's so similar so similarly to the first one but I'll show you how to start at the corner since it's just slightly different than starting in a street place since you've got an angle involved all right, so now I'm all the way across the bottom of the cave and I'm just going to stitch this the same way but at my corner I'm going to do a backstage to reinforce it to make sure that it's a really good, really strong seem and here's the other crucial difference instead of sitting full speed of these corners because was soft fabric like this it can get caught up easily and when he used my if I will to advance the stitches rather than stitch them with the pedal it just makes an easier neater way to do it it's a little slower but it's worth not having the thread not that we saw earlier in sometimes happen with this kind of soft quotes and cotton so using the same zigzag I'm goingto move forward advancing one such at a time and when I get to about four stitches I'm gonna press reverse and reverse with the flywheel the same way sometimes have to tug it a little bit but it's a nice system because it provides very strong stitches but it doesn't have the same kind of impact that it can with when fabric gets a little caught and creates that's kind of over over stitching place and then I'll just go forward one last time of the three and once I'm kind of past that area and that corners completely stitch securely I'll just so at a normal speed again well as I say that it started doing ah over stitching so I'll make sure it's loose from the feed dogs use the flywheel again to advance forward past my corner area and now let's try it again amazing how when you mentioned something it always happens but sowing will keep you humble that's for sure um the nice thing is it's so easy to fix this kind of a steak, you just cut your thread with a seam ripper being careful not to damage your fabric and take it right off the back. Totally easy to take back out, and when I was sewing with this machine at home that fly we all technique works so well in these corners with none of that kind of double triple thickness of selling, but it happens occasionally, so now I'm going to sink my needle. Now that I've cleared all the extra threat out of the way sync the needle, drop my foot again, make sure my fabrics nice and neat and certain the flywheel, such as one of the time again at this corner, the same way I did, I'm going to reverse just a couple stitches the way I mentioned and now I'm ready to so forward and then thiss time and joined nicely and you can see my corners neat and clean, I can go back and add a single such there if I want to reinforce it, but it's pretty straightforward and then I can just keep going. I'm coming up to a joint here where I joined my biting tape, so I'm going to use my flywheel again just to move over that neatly okay, now that I'm past that you can keep going almost to the end. And I'll do the same thing stitching took within a quarter inch of my corner and then stop unfold it correctly. All right, two down, one to go. So I'm taking out just one more stitch. So there's a little bit more space serena fold and no, I'm ready, tio go up my last side of of the cape the same way I did the first one. So are you guys, uh, success slave penned a corner yet? Or I'm going to go over it one more time now, if anybody wants a little refresh our okay, so what I do for my coroner's is full of them and it's. A very natural fold. You just bring it around so that I wanna stick a penance that doesn't come loose one holding it in the air. But it's, almost as easy is at a ninety degree angle like the corner of a quilter. O'clock not gonna replacement, but we are obviously doing sort of a more angled turn, but I basically just press it folded and press it around so that it neatly meets there. And it makes kind of a diagonal turn at the corner and then it's really nice with zigzag, too, because it catches it really. Thoroughly so if you're using a straight stitch not that there's anything wrong straight stitches wonderful on a very durable stitch but just covers less of the binding tapes so there's just not quite as much of a physical joined to the two. So this exact it's nice because it actually covers so much of it at unite so much more of the fabrics than a single narrow streets stitched us are there other decorative stitches that you like to use on the edge other than the um you know, one day yes when I love that I used on the glitter skirt from the skirt segment is it kind of looks like ass tricks that are connected and I really love that one it's so simple but it's just really pretty I also like one that's like looks like leaves on of like a vine do you have any favorites? Justice I think it's kind of like that but they're kind of like little arrows almost like going out on out cool it puts on scraping young, you know there's a beautiful okay so I want to finish my third side with the sames execs to chase on the others I went toe use my flywheel again to move over this corner and go forward from there at a normal speed and then when I get to my last edge I'm going to stop an inch before the end. So it's really ah, able. So I'm able to gather stitches were easily no reverse on the fly. Well, the same way. Not that son I'm gonna give my sits just forward with a flywheel whenever you're working in a tight place like a corner somewhere with a lot of layers of fabric. It's always nice to kind of make sure it's not jammed on the flywheel have been through this a few times that sometime soft fabrics like this one, I tend to get bunched up something that just temporarily changed my such length to a lot wider cz or excuse me longer up, tio, just to get myself out of that area faster. All right, so now, very go. Now it should newport faster. Those corners air. Just really nice to get extra reinforcement on because it's such a lot of fabrics being joined. But it's nice not to get jammed up there with a big knot. Okay. And here I'm coming, tio, my last joint for my biting tapes. I'm going to use the flywheel is afraid over it without messing up my sewing. And then I'll just go for it.

Class Description

Are you intimidated by your sewing machine? Don't be! Join experienced sewist Susan Beal as she guides you through the basics of sewing, including using straight stitches, zigzag stitches, simple appliqué, and easy binding.

Using simple projects in kid's sizes, Susan will teach you to customize t-shirts, create simple tote bags, reusable napkins, and more! You'll learn tricks that the experts use to create their own contrasting binding tape, how to sew on a variety of fabrics, and how to incorporate snaps and eyelets into your projects.

If you're a beginning sewer this course will give you clear, easy-to-follow ideas and inspiration for projects that tap into your family’s creative spirit.



What a great class! Susan does a fabulous job explaining each project and is great at giving you a heads up on what issues you might face with each project. I've now made two applique projects with another in the works. I've also made two of the girls skirts. Susan gave me the confidence to try and I am really happy with the results. Hope to try the binding tape soon. Thanks for offering this video.

Amanda Siska

Susan's projects were the best introduction to sewing I could have hoped for! I wasn't able to watch every project, but the ones I saw were simple, VERY clearly explained, and perfect for a beginning seamstress like myself. I'd never used binding tape before, or elastic, but now I'm confident about making my own binding tape and adding elastic waistbands to pretty much anything. I was immediately inspired to make a few skirts for myself after watching the simple children's skirt in this course, and I'm planning to make cloth napkins and an oilcloth lunch sack as well. I wish I'd gotten to see the applique portion, so I think I'll have to purchase the course in order to see that part. I'm positive that it will be just what I need to learn the process! I see that the previous reviewer was disappointed by the lack of diversity of crafts for this course, but I find that the name "Simple Sewing Projects for Beginners" was completely accurate for what it was. Perhaps it was categorized in a craft category, which would still seem applicable. I think it was advertised as having back to school projects to make for your kids, which is an even more detailed description of the course, since it includes clothing for boys and girls, as well as a lunch tote, cloth napkin, cape, and maybe more things I missed. Overall, this was my first Creative Live experience, and I was blown away by how informative and fun it was to watch!


Fun projects to make for your little one. Susan explains things so clearly. Very nice that she also offers patterns and written instructions for free