Frankie’s main Christmas present this year is a second hand slide for the garden, paid for by contributions from friends and family via the most excellent Patchwork Present service. I also wanted to give her a few things to open on the day, mostly, if I’m honest, because we’d be with other kids opening presents. I generally don’t feel pressure to shower her with gifts. Christmas still washes over her, and we haven’t made a big deal of Father Christmas or presents, but instead told her about the people we’d see, the food we’d eat and the weather (!)- Jack Frost etc, which delighted her. Truly. I realise this may not always be practical as she gets older but if we start as we mean to go on then we have at least a chance of continuing down a path that leads us away from a childhood full of rampant consumerism (barrel of laugh's aren't I!). A slight mis-communication with my Dad and step mum led to us scrabbling together a last minute stocking (mostly her favourite food from the 24 hour Asda in Bolton- sheesh!) and I went through the bag of clothes I have collected for when she is bigger and found a vintage jumper I bought when I was pregnant and wrapped it up.
I also decided to make her, and her aunt (who are the same age) rainbow cape’s. My mister directs music video’s and ads and did a job last year which involved a dancer wearing a silk gown (its a beautiful vid- take a peak here if you fancy. Frankie loves it and calls it her dancing lady.) Knowing my squirrel like love for fabrics and my hoarding habit, he brought home the remnants of the silk and I have been pondering what to do with it since then. I also have a penchant for spray fabric paint, having used it on a few projects last year, so I combined all of those things and created this. She loves it and calls herself ‘Super Frankie’, and when I ask her who she’ll help with her super powers, she says... “anything”. (which actually means "nothing".) Ah well.
- Habotai silk (You can buy it on eBay ) You’ll need around 120 cm across by 80 cm long for the cape and one long skinny bit for the tie- ours was 125 by 8. You should be able to make this with a meter and a half of silk to save pennies- and slightly adjust the dimensions above, or 2 meters with some to spare.
- SEI Tumble dry spray dyes . I used the neon kit but they have classic colours too. (I love me a bit of neon)
- A sewing Machine
- A loop turner (or you could bodge it with a large safety pin)
- A tumble dryer
1) First cut out a rectangle of your silk (the cape bit). One of the long edges will be bunched up and gathered around your child’s shoulders and the short edge will drape down your child’s back. Our cape is about 120 cm across by 80 cm long. You might want to change these dimensions a bit according to your fabric.
2) Cut out your tie- one long piece of fabric 125 cm by 8 cm.
3) Wet all of the silk through then wring it out. Wetting the fabric makes the ink spread more.
4) Lay it out in a covered area and spray on the fabric die. Take turns with different colours, experimenting with spraying far away or close up. For an effect like ours pictured above, make sure you cover all of the fabric with colour.
5. Allow fabric to completely dry, then, if you wish, add more colour (we did because we wanted bursts of brighter colour) Spraying the dye onto dry fabric will make the ink much brighter as it won’t bleed as it does when wet.
6. Once it is dry, pop it in the tumble dryer for the stated amount of time. Have a cuppa.
7. Hem. Fold over 1.5 cm seam allowance along all 4 edges and press with an iron on the silk setting. On three of the edges, fold over again and press, leaving 1 long edge with only one turn. This edge is the top of your cape. Instead of turning it over only 1.5 cm like the other 3 sides, fold it down around 5 cm and press. The idea is that you are leaving a gap generous enough to thread the tie through it.
8. Sew along all of the edges, making sure that on the top edge of your cape, you leave the gap open to thread the tie through.
9. Make your tie. Fold your fabric in half length ways and press. Sew 1 long line 1 cm in, all the way down the raw edges. Turn it inside out, using the loop turner (pictured below), and press flat. Trim the short ends, tuck them back inside the ties by 1.5 cm, press flat and sew down.
10. Thread the tie through the top of the cape using the loop turner. Bunch the fabric up along the tie as you would like then tie a bow at the front.
For safety, the cape should be generously resting around your childs shoulders, not on their neck.
And your done.