DIY: Chanel-Style Black-and-White Cape (from Two Sweatshirts)

cape1Adapted from the book Cut-Up Couture: Edgy Upcycled Garments to Sew [though mine is the Japanese version; I’m not sure if the translated version I’ve linked to is the same]

I’ve written about this book a little while ago in this post on how to make a Convertible Blouson Tunic from 3 Men’s Sweatshirts). To me, this sweet little cape seems slightly Chanel-ish, two-toned, sleek…anything but sweatshirt-like.

(And if you made the tunic following that tutorial, you will have found yourself left with the top half of 3 sweatshirts. In this project we’ll use the top half of 1 for our cape, and as to what to do with the remaining 2 sweatshirts…stay tuned!)

How to Make a Chanel-Style Black-and-White Cape With Bow

You Will Need:

*2 sweatshirts (Men’s XL work best), in two different colors
*sewing needle for knits
*thread matching one sweatshirt
*hand-sewing needle


Measure and Cut

1. Measure and mark 5.5″ down from the neck opening on your first sweatshirt, on the center front. Measure and mark 8 5/8″ on each side of neck opening on the shoulder seams. step3Connect the marks you made in a semicircle around the neck portion of your sweatshirt.

step42. Cut out the neck along the line you made, cutting through both front and back of the sweatshirt.

3. Mark and measure 15″ up from the ribbed hem of your second sweatshirt. Draw a line straight across the shirt from side to side (it should be very close to right under the arms).

step64. Cut along the line, through both front and back of your sweatshirt.

step75. Draw a rectangle 4″ high by 8″ long on the remaining fabric of the sweatshirt from Step 4). Cut it out.

6. Draw another, smaller rectangle measuring 2″ high x 2.75″ long on the same sweatshirt and cut it out.

Your cut pieces should look like this:

step97. Turn the 15″-high bottom half you cut out in Step 4) upside down, and pin on top of the cut edge of the neck piece from Step 2). Overlap the ribbed edge about 1/2″ onto the cut edge of the neck piece, following the curved edge. Pin along edge.

8. Fold both the smaller rectangles you cut in half lengthwise, right sides together, and pin edges.

Machine Sew
9. Sew both smaller rectangle along their longer edges, about 1/8″ from cut edge. Turn each right side out again – this will create two tubes. (not pictured)

step1010. Sew the cape main parts together, stitching on top of the ribbing in a matching thread, about 3/8″ from edge. If both your sweatshirts are exactly the same size, the neck piece should not be gathering despite the stretch from the ribbing. (Mine is b/c I used an L sweatshirt for the neck and an XL sweatshirt for the bottom…my bad!)

step1111. Hem your cape, turning over about 1/2″ at the bottom and stitching a 3/8″ hem.


12. Flatten the larger rectangle tube you made in Step 9), roll the seam to the center, and fold each end over to meet in the middle. Hand-stitch ends together to make a bow.
step1313. Flatten the smaller rectangle tube, roll the seam to the center, and stitch one end to your stitching in the center of your bow from Step 11).
14. Roll the strip around your bow, pull tight to the back to make your bow “poufy,” and secure in the back again with more stitches.

15. Stitch bow onto the center of your cape, slightly above the ribbing seam. (not pictured)

You’re done! A lovely cape – just in time for cold weather.

And don’t forget to cut the remaining parts of your sweatshirts in the same fashion – and just reverse the colors – and you can make a second cape to give to someone this holiday season! Brrrr! I feel the winter chills coming on!:-)
cape3Happy DIY’ing!


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DIY Inspiration: Coco Avant Chanel

So apparently I’ve missed the few screenings of Coco Avant Chanel here in Portland that happened earlier this month. *sigh* I soooo wanted to see it, but looks like I’ll have to wait for it to come out on DVD (whenever that will be). Inspired by the sheer idea of the film (since I haven’t seen it), I crafted a few things Chanel-inspired:

Double-C Sequined Perfume-Bottle Brooch

Gold sequins glued onto black fabric in the shape of the iconic Chanel No. 5 perfume bottle, then bordered by silver bugle beads stitched around the edge. I glued on some rhinestone chain that I salvaged from a broken necklace in the shape of two interlocking C’s. Counterfeit couture. (Though I’m using the word “couture” loosely, since I used glue to attach the sequins.) I made this at least 5 years ago now…the bugle beads look absurdly crooked upon closer inspection; a mere shadow of the real thing.

Black & White Bow Shoe Clips

Made from frilly white chiffon ribbon and black satin wired ribbon wrapped around, and then stitched onto shoe clips.

Black & White Bow-Detail Cape

Made from two men’s sweatshirts. I’m posting the tutorial next, so stay tuned!  I’ve posted the tutorial here, so check it out!!

 Pirate Triple Pearl Necklace

The messy hair is on purpose. That’s the only way it can be explained.

I know this is a little bit of a deviation from the standard Chanel pearls, but I liked the pirate-esque nature of them. I made them from some cheap pearl rope I had laying about – and I added some little charms and this cool carved nut I found at a bead show. I know they would be much better if they were real – or even faux! – pearls and not these pearls fused to the string like this…but this would seriously take so many pearls and so much knotting in order to make I got tired of the idea before even attempting it.

Chanel-Style Camellia Brooch

This is the photo from the book; I didn’t actually make the brooch, sorry.

Adapted from the book “Ima Sugu Tsukuritai Co-saju” [“Corsages I Want to Make Right Now” Bunka Publishing, 2006]. Here’s the scanned, translated-by-me instructions below – just omit the instructions for the stem and attach the brooch back to the back of the flower for a Chanel-style piece.  See here for more DIY corsage patterns, by the way!

Click above for full size.

The book page is 8 1/8″ wide by 7 7/8″ high if you want to print it out, in order to make sure the petal pattern is sized correctly. The pattern requires the use of a round-headed stylus in order to create the rounded, 3D-effect to the petals. Not completely necessary, but it helps create a finished, professional look to your corsage. I haven’t sprung for the $30 heated stylus tool specifically for this purpose; I just use a metal muddler that has a small ball on the end. You could probably find a paint mixer or similar stylus tool at a crafts store. [And if you’re wondering where I found the muddler, it’s actually for mixing cel paints, courtesy of animation school in Japan. I don’t think you’ll find anything similar stateside.:-)

Hope this helps to get you into a Chanel-style mood – and hankering after black and white, stark contrasts, tweedy fabrics, pearls, and girly flowers. Have a lovely Chanel day!



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The Making of a Chanel Collection

I’m sure you guys have seen this already as it’s been around forever, but…in case you hadn’t…”Signe Chanel” as found on Youtube. The making of the full collection, in 5 episodes – utter fabulousness.



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