September 19, 2022
by Cynthia Anderson
Fall coming and it’s time to get started making a Halloween costume! Lots of Folkwear patterns can be used for costume making for big and little Halloween fans alike. Have a look at Folkwear’s Pattern Collection and get inspired to make your best Halloween costume ever! Also check out Victoria's blog (and some past ones here for some adult costume inspiration).
However, this year we wanted to inspire you with some great kids' costume patterns (plus they are on a huge sale for the next two weeks). I decided to take the 208 Kinsale Cloak for Young Folks and make a relatively simple costume, but have fun adding creative details. My plan was to start with a cape and add other detailed accessories to make a truly fun and unique costume. The 207 Kinsale Cloak and 208 Kinsale Cloak for Young Folks hold lots of possibilities for this approach.
To see how I made the hat for this costume, and how you can make one yourself, go here. For the accessories I made, go here and learn how to make them yourself!
Pattern Info and Fabric Suggestions
Both the adult and child versions of are fully lined and hand-gathered into a wide collar, falling in small unpressed pleats to a curved hem. The cloak fastens at the neck with a large hook and eye, and offers an optional detachable hood that buttons to the cloak under the collar. It may be worn loosely over the head or down over the shoulders as an over-cape. Both versions of the cloak can be unisex. You could make matching Halloween capes and enjoy trick-or-treating with a child.
When it comes to capes, any fabrics and trims you would normally sew with will work. However, costumes are a good excuse to have fun and try other types of materials and combinations. Consider using cotton, linen, canvas, corduroy, denim, wool, velvet, heavyweight silk, felt, faux fur, microfiber, burlap, polar fleece, upholstery fabric, or something in your stash. For the lining, use a lighter weight fabric such as cotton, satin, polyester, rayon, silk, or linen. Of course, you can eliminate the lining, but don’t. Linings are great excuse to get creative. Have a look at the fabric suggestions blog for the 207 Kinsale Cloak and the 208 Kinsale Cloak for Young Folks for more ideas. And, this time of year craft stores are full of fun fabrics perfect for Halloween making - there's lots to get excited about.
Don't forget the trim. Pull out your trim collection to add another layer of creative details with ribbon, rick-rack, braid, embroidered patches, beads, etc. You could even make your own ruching (check out the blog How to Make Authentic Ruching Trim to learn how to make your own). Using fabric paint or acrylic paint is also a great idea. Dig through your craft supplies and have fun.
Besides being simple to make, fit is not a crucial aspect of capes - and can be made any length. All of which makes them not only versatile, but also provides the perfect jumping off point for making all kinds of easy to put together costumes. Magicians, ringmasters, Red Riding Hoods, Harry Potter, superheroes, queens, kings, princesses, princes, detectives, Victorian characters, vampires, witches, devils, wizards, knights, stage coach drivers, sorcerers, spooks all wear capes. Even Elvis wore a cape.
I used the 208 Kinsale Cloak for Young Folks, which comes in sizes 2 thru 12, as the foundation of a unisex witch (or wizard) costume. I compared the length measurement of the pattern to the height of the child I made the cape for to determine which size to use.
To keep things really simple and unisex I made the cloak with just the collar, using black quilting cotton and a unbleached cotton muslin for the lining. I took this approach so the cape can be reused for different themed costumes for future Halloweens. Or it can be relegated to a costume play box for continued enjoyment throughout the year. For this Halloween, I made a bat-theme cloak costume complete with a traditional felt witch/wizard hat, wand, neck ruff, and lots of spooky bats attached to the cape.
FYI: My first idea was to add appliqué stars, crest-moons, and bat shapes cut out of unbleached muslin and stitch them to outside of the black fabric cape using machine black stitching. This simple application would happily result in black stitched shapes on the inside lining as well. I abandoned this idea once the cape was constructed, because I realized the shapes would get lost in the drape of the fabric. It is good to have a plan B.
Making the Cloak
Be sure to launder your fabric, and make sure the yardage is square if needed. Then make the cape/cloak according to the easy-to-follow pattern instructions. I made a Size 4 and shortened it by approximately six-inches to ensure it won’t cause my wearer to trip. Make your cape any length you choose.
Once you have the cape made, treat it like a canvas and have fun decorating it with fabric, paint, or any variety of craft materials. If you are making the costume for a child that is old enough help, invite them to join in and make your own Halloween memories together!
Have look at the internet for free templates of shapes and designs to use or draw/trace your own. To save time and effort I downloaded a couple of bat shape designs and printed them out in different sizes. I cut out the paper templates to use as a pattern. Then I pinned the pattern to the felt and cut out the bat shapes. Halloween cookie cutters make great tracing templates too.
Note: I was able to find felt in a couple different weights at my local fabric store. Thicker weight felt is typically sold by the yard and is nice because it makes larger projects or details less flimsy than the thinner weight of felt typically sold in squares. Inspect your felt to determine if the right and wrong side are noticeable. Thinner felt always works well for small details.
I cut the bats used on the cape in pairs because I wanted more thickness so the wings would stand up and not flop. The felt was easy to cut two layers at a time for the larger bats, but I resorted to cutting the smaller bats out one layer at a time.
To give the bats even more shape I taped a thin length of black 26 gauge wire to the wrong side of each of the felt bats. I bent the wire to more-or-less fit the contour of the center of the bat shape. I used little bits of masking tape to hold the wire in place.
Note: A slightly heavier gauge wire would have been better, but I used what I had on hand.
I placed the bat pairs wrong sides together, matching the edges as well as possible. And then I glued the two bats together starting in the center.
I prefer to use a small hot glue gun purchased at the craft store for adhering paper and fabric details like this, because you can work quickly.
If doing something similar, keep working/gluing on either side of the center of the bat one wing section at a time. Don’t apply the glue too thickly or too close to the edge of the felt. If using regular white glue, follow the same technique to ensure to keep your work neat.
Gently press the pieces together and set them aside until the glue is dry or set. Hand stitching or machine stitching works as well, it just takes longer.
With all the bats made, I arranged and pined them on the cape while on a dress form. To better emulate the slight shoulders of a child I pressed in the retractable shoulders. This helped with the placement of the bats.
Once I was satisfied with the bat placement, I made a few hand stitches to secure them in place. When all the bats were attached I tweaked their angle placement with a few more hand whip-stitches just to insure they would remain just so.
To hold the cape closed, I secured the front neck opening using a larger hook and eye. Lastly, I stitched the center of a bat to the neck front edge of the cape for a final touch.
Not only was the cape fun to make, but I still had plenty of time to make the hat, ruff, hair pins, and wand. I will show how to make all these accessories in the next couple of blog posts, so be sure to check back to see how to make all the other pieces for this fun and easy Halloween costume.
Remember that one of the charms of Halloween is the fun of making a homemade costume!