A cloak is an interesting type of garment. It can exist with or without a hood and has existed steadily, throughout time. A sleeveless type of coat, cloaks are great for keeping out the cold and can even help keep you dry in rainy weather.
Even in emergencies, you’re supplied with plastic, waterproof ponchos which are really just variations of a cloak. Either way, cloaks have stood the test of time and have come out on top. Plus, they can be stylish, and a hooded cloak may be perfect for any cosplay or variety of costumes you want to embody.
Today, if you are in the market for a hooded cloak, then it’d be much better if you made it yourself. They are slightly less popular and can be more difficult to find what you are looking for. To make your own hooded capes & cloaks all you need is some basic sewing skills to start off with and you’re ready to go through the step-by-step process we’ve detailed down below.
History of Cloaks
Cloaks were always intended to go over clothes and protect from the elements outdoors. Whether it’s a part of the fashion of the time or a uniform, this is their essential purpose. In the earliest times, cloaks were intended as blankets or bed coverings with a hole cut in the middle. They can be traced back to being worn and popularized by Ancient Romans, Arabs of the Middle East, and the Scots.
What Kind of Hoods Are There?
Before sewing a hood onto your cloak, you’ll want to know what type of hood to sew on in the first place. There are a few different types of hoods you can sew onto your cloak. Knowing the types of hoods will help you pick the best one that fits the aesthetic you are trying to fit.
Down below, we’ve listed out some different and popular styles so you can have a better understanding of what is available out there.
- A slightly curved hood is reminiscent of what you’ll find on a regular hoodie.
- The most common hood employed is the curved hood, popular with cosplay and costumes.
- A square hood is simple and gives a more boxy feel.
- A grand hood is a more loose-fitting style fit for regal types of cloaks.
- Pointy hoods will make you look more like a witch or evil character if that’s your intention.
How Long Will it Take?
This is all based on your sewing knowledge and if you’re working with beginner skills, then you can expect to take between 1 hour and 5 hours to get the job done. This accounts also for making a few mistakes and then taking the time to fix them. Of course, the time will always vary, but It’s quite a simple process that does not involve any complicated sewing techniques. Don’t worry about starting a months-long endeavor. There are even sewing patterns online, which make the process faster.
What Fabric Should I Use For a Cloak?
Well, this choice depends on what the cloak will be used for. There are many different reasons for creating the cloak in the first place to influence your fabric choice.
If it’s intended summer wear, with cosplay conventions or a Halloween costume one in mind you can opt for one of these lighter fabrics listed below:
- Polyester-blend fabric
- Wide cotton
If you want your cloak to be able to handle rougher terrain and weather then consider opting for some of these sturdier fabrics instead:
- Water-resistant polyester fabric with microfiber
- Vinyl fabric used for raincoats
There are many types of fabrics and hood lining you can use to achieve your end goal. Make sure you know what style of hood you want to help you choose the appropriate material.
What You’ll Need
Before we get onto the step-by-step instruction on how to sew the hood onto the cloak, here is a list of everything you’ll need. Remember, that the items you’ll need are still dependent on your skill level, what kind of hood you’re attaching, and what you’re overall intention is for sewing a hooded cloak in the first place.
- Between 3 to 5 yards of fabric of your choice.
- A tape measure to make precise cuts.
- Thread (will depend on which fabric you choose)
- An iron
- Pins and needles (and not the foot numbing kind)
- A clasp/button/pieces of ribbon to fasten your cloak together towards the end.
- A sewing machine is optional, but you can always hand sew. A machine will ultimately just make the process easier and faster and help get rid of raw edges.
Step 1: Time to Measure and then Cut the Fabric
You can find a hooded cloak pattern online, and once you do you’ll layout the type of fabric you choose and cut carefully. I would give yourself a bit of leeway by cutting slightly over the line, just in case you mess up. Follow the pattern, but be sure to leave an inch or so for the hem and then around 5 inches for the neckline.
If you’re worried about having the right amount of fabric just follow this general rule of thumb. The amount you’ll need is 3 times your height, so be sure to measure your height first! Fabric is also usually sold by a yard of fabric, so make sure to get the proper amounts of fabric for all your cape pieces.
Step 2: Sew the Pieces Together
Use the pins to fasten the outer fabric pieces together, making the right sides face each other. While it’s pinned, now you can sew the outer pieces down. Be sure to leave a half-inch seam allowance in the process. If you choose not to sew, there are also other options such as fabric glue/hemming web/no-sew tape, and more.
After that is done, you’ll need to iron those seams flat. Now, take those two sections and have the right sides facing each other. Once you have the sides and the bottom pinned you can begin to sew those together.
Be mindful of keeping the neckline open, but once that’s done you can flip it inside out and iron down those new seams.
Step 3: Tackling the Hood
If this is your first time sewing a hood together then we suggest sticking to your pattern, sewing and cutting accordingly. The shape of a hooded cape can be a bit tricky to handle. What you’ll generally need to do is sew the lining and the outer piece of fabric together. Then turning that hood inside out as you did the other pieces, and iron down those edges.
Step 4: Attaching the Hood to the Cloak
Now onto attaching your new hood to your cape. The bottom of your hood should fit perfectly onto the cloak if measured correctly, so just pin them together. Remember to leave that half-inch seam allowance before moving forward and sewing those together. This is just to ensure that your hood will have the right amount of slack in them. Then, the pins can be removed and those seams can be ironed flat as well. I found that if you do not leave the 1/2 inch for seam room, the shape of the hood and hood height do not sit right on the cloak.
Step 5: Fixing the Closure Onto the Cloak
This part will depend on what kind of closure you envision for your cloak. If you are going a more traditional and easier route, then a simple string or piece of ribbon will suffice. Remember that any fastening like a hoodie will require a special seam to be made in the hood to bring the string around.
With that being said, with your chosen closure you’ll be able to sew it onto the edge of the hood. Familiarize yourself with the hook and eye method because this is what you’ll employ. All this means is that you’ll sew the hook part of the closure onto one side and the eye part on the other.
Be mindful not to sew through the front part of the fabric or else it will end up looking shabby. Other than that, there isn’t one way to sew a closure or even one type of closure that is better than the other. Just pick the one that suits your taste and your ability and go for it!
Voila! Once you’ve gone through all the steps you’ll have a hooded cloak handmade all by yourself. There’s something about creating a piece of clothing all by yourself that gives you more satisfaction when achieving the final product. Of course, don’t be bogged down by the mistakes that are made along the way, after all, they are an important part of the journey always. Once you make one, you will know what you want to do differently next time.
Whether it’s for costumes and cosplay or even just fashionable use, having your own hooded cloak will give you an extra style. Once you get the sewing practice down, you never know how many other types of styles you’ll be able to achieve. Just remember to have fun and keep the sewing going!
I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids. I really enjoy doing crafts with my kids however, that is typically a challenge with how limited their attention span can be and how messy it gets. So, I’m always looking for ways to make crafting an enjoyable experience and fond memory for all of us.