Sewaholic Cypress Cape

Sewaholic Cypress Cape
I’m back from my trip to Hot Springs National Park. Unfortunately, it didn’t rain so I never got to use my newest creation while I was there – hence we get some moldy-backyard-fence-photos of my Cypress Cape.

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

The Sewaholic Cypress Cape is essentially a gussied up rain poncho but it has some nice features that made me want to sew it – semi-circle sleeves for range of movement, those awesome back pleats, pockets, and options for fun piping in the body and hood seams.

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

Fabric is the same as my Prefontaine Shorts – a supplex nylon in Pewter from Rockywoods.com. It’s the perfect fabric for this pattern – lightweight, breathable but water resistant (rain just beads up and rolls off), drapey and with a slight texture.

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

Best of all – it’s cheap! Only $6/yd which is a big deal ’cause this pattern uses FOUR YARDS. And they ain’t kidding about that amount. Yes, I had some fabric left over but those big, awkward, semi-circle pieces make cutting the fabric efficiently a challenge. You need those four yards.

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

The flat-lined piping is some “safety yellow” from the Joann utility fabric section (it matches my shoe laces!).

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

I made an executive decision to nix the velcro on the zipper flap. The only velcro I could find locally was black and I didn’t like the look of it exposed next to the gray fabric if I wore the cape unzipped. If it’s not windy the flap stays flat anyway and if it’s both raining and super windy out, well, I shouldn’t be running around in hurricanes, should I?

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

My only complaints in this design are the hood and the pockets. The pockets are unnecessarily fussy and the hood facing wants to flop out even though it’s understitched.

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

This brings me to some notes I took while assembling. This pattern is labeled as “advanced” and there were some things I wish I had considered before beginning.

Cypress Cape Sewing Notes

  1. If your fabric is very light weight, support the welt pocket opening with some stay tape when you attach the pocket bag.
    • Better yet – skip the pockets. If you’re already wearing a bag or have pockets on your clothes, the cape itself is roomy enough you can just stick your mit up under the hem and reach your phone from your pants pocket.
    • If you must have pockets, might I suggest converting them to inseam pockets. The seam will support the pocket weight without the need to cut an entirely new hole in the fabric. You can even sew the pocket flaps in that seam as well. Save you lots of time and hassle…
  2. The cape looks roomy but if you know you need to make an FBA with Sewaholic patterns (as they are designed for a pear shape with an A-cup) make the FBA with this pattern, too. Only the back and the sleeves are roomy – the panels under the sleeves and the front sections are snug to the body.
  3. Flat fell every seam possible to help flatten those seams allowances, especially if you’re adding piping.
  4. Often times you’ll be sewing through several layers of fabric so pin carefully and check your stitching as you go, especially around the curved neckline.
  5. Tack the hood facing to the hood along the two seams at the top of the head (you can stitch in the ditch or sew along the topstitching). Unless you want stitching to show, this is the only area where you can secure the facing – it does want to flop out, even though it is under-stitched and attached at the neckline.
    • You know what – scratch all that – just fully line the hood and be done with it.
  6. As you are sewing the front zippered sections to the facings and the neckline, pay attention to the direction your zipper teeth are pointing. In order to correctly create the folded flap that covers the zipper, those teeth need to point out a certain way, and it may not always be the direction you think they ought to go. Look very closely at the instruction illustrations for help. (This was a common note in the few reviews that I read – that the zipper section is confusing.)
  7. This is the kind of pattern where it is important to follow the order of assembly exactly, otherwise you might get confused when it comes to tricky bits like the welt pockets or making the zipper flaps attach to the hood. Don’t skip around or you may end up accidentally sewing on your velcro bits too late and have random square stitching show up on the visible outer layer of the garment…

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

In the end I think it’s worth all the head scratching and work. Plus, what other item of handmade clothing is going to make you feel like a flying squirrel?!?Sewaholic Cypress Cape

While it doesn’t rain much here in Texas I plan to use this garment on future hiking trips to more rainy locales. It’s a piece I can keep in my wardrobe for many years – the kind of thing I’ll be glad I have when I really need it. That makes all the sewing struggle worth it and I’ll rarely ever find an off-the-rack rain poncho as stylish as this.

  • AG

    I’m sorry the pockets were so hard, but they look great! The whole thing looks great.

    I’ve been wanting to try Rockywoods for athletic fabric. They have so many choices that I get confused when I look at the site…maybe I should just spend some money and order some swatches…just thinking out loud!

    Thanks for all your detailed notes!

    • Yes, they have a ton of selection and often items look/seem the same. Get a bunch swatches, especially if you want to match colors, as they don’t use actual photos of the fabric, just color names.

      Thanks!

  • Courtney

    I started making this pattern in a red with reflective piping. I figured I go all Little Red Riding Hood but it started to look more like a sporty Cardinal’s cape! Imagine Pope Francis in long red basketball shorts. My version would totally compliment those shorts.

    Your rain cape looks great.

    • Thanks! I like the idea of a sporty Red Riding Pope cape 😉

  • I love rain capes for bike rides, they keep both my top half and my legs reasonably dry as long as it isn’t raining too hard! They’re easier than those rain jackets + trousers combos since I tend to wear skirts and dresses 90% of the time. I wouldn’t consider sewing my own anytime soon though, but i am thinking of adding batman ears to the hood of my black poncho!

    • Yes! Batman ears would be fantastic!

  • fantastic – must look up the pattern. yours is beautifully made

  • Caitlyn Myers

    It’s such a small thing, but the fact that your cape’s piping matches your shoelaces is deeply satisfying. Like others have said, thank you for sharing such detailed notes on your project. Although I’m not planning to make this pattern, it’s good to know that if I ever do, I can refer to this post for smart advice.

    • Thanks, and you’re welcome 😉

  • Helene

    Great make! Thanks for sharing your detailed notes, such a good thing to find when you’re thinking of making the same thing.

  • I was hoping to see these all over but I haven’t seen that many, which is such a shame since yours is so nice! Possibly not the most practical item of clothing but the absolute cutest way to stay dry I’ve ever seen!

    • It’s very much a specialty garment, not something everyone will end up sewing but I’m glad I did. Thanks Allie!

  • Meg

    Love all your activewear sewing lately! And thanks for the notes!

  • I live in the Pacific Northwest (read: lots of rain.) I love this post so much, I’ve read it twice. Love it.

  • Lynsey

    This cape looks amazingly good and the fact it is water resistant with such a drapey fabric is a huge added bonus.

  • missceliespants

    I’m so glad to see this made up. I bought the pattern and attempted it from some not right fabric with a not good FBA. I found it really restricting across the bust and wasn’t sure if it was my FBA or the pattern. I like yours! Back to the drawing board for me. And, thanks for the tip on the woven supple!

    • Yeah, the cape is surprisingly fitted in the front and sides. Wasn’t expecting that from the line drawing or sample photos. I hope your next version is a success!! Thanks!

  • Flos Caeli

    Looks amazing

  • Lia Marcoux

    Ah! This is almost making me wish I was sporty*! That’s a good tip about the the fitted chest – I never would have guessed that. May you be rained on exactly the right amount!

    *I know I could take action re: this, but I’ll stick with wishing for now.

    • Lol, thanks Lia 😉

  • Haha, thanks. Good luck with your cape! Maybe just try the inseam pockets and make it easier for yourself.

  • That looks both kinda cute and immensely practical. Love how the piping matches your shoelaces. 🙂