1960s Cape (Simplicity 8017 pattern review)

I actually debated whether or not to do a post on this make, as I’m really disappointed with it. There’s only a couple of things wrong with it, but in my opinion they’re so noticeable that they ruin the overall look. 😦

When I decided to make this pattern one of my 2019 Make Nine, I was thinking it would be a good intro to outerwear- I’d learn techniques but wouldn’t have to worry about fit. The problem is, because it’s a Big Four pattern, the instructions are minimal and at times confusing. Looking back I should have started off with a friendly indie pattern, and if you’re a newbie to outerwear sewing I’d recommend you do the same.

The main thing I struggled with was accuracy; my lining fabric was very slippery and the outer fabric was impossible to iron as it wouldn’t hold a crease. Because of this, the two front pieces of the cape don’t line up and one is longer than the other!

Trying to hold the cape so you can’t see how uneven the centre fronts are!
Here you can see the full extent of the inaccuracy…

One thing I do like about the cape is how it moves… I had a lot of fun twirling around when these photos were being taken!

There were a couple of things in the pattern I did a bit differently:

The pattern gave some very vague instructions on using ‘hem tape’, which I’d never heard of. When I went to my local fabric shop they only knew of iron-on hem tape, so I bought a couple of metres and read through the instructions again, hoping they’d make more sense. Turns out they were talking about some other kind of hem tape, so it was still gibberish to me! I ended up ironing on the hem tape and then slipstitching over the top to make sure it was secure.

I thought the instructions for joining the lining to the arm holes were really overcomplicated. I just folded all the raw edges in and slipstitched around the whole thing:

If you dislike hand sewing I would advise you not to make this pattern! The slipstitching at the hem, combined with the armholes and the hand sewing at the base of the front facing adds up to a lot of time spent hunched over with a needle and thread…

I don’t feel completely negative about the cape, though. Despite all the things that went wrong I’m proud of myself for attempting (and completing) such a big project, given my beginner status. And there’s no denying it’s a striking garment!

Pattern: Simplicity 8017
Size/Fit: I made a size 6.
Fabric: Red Melton and anti-static black lining, both from Textile Express.
Sewing Time: In bursts over about a month.
Quality of instructions: Minimal and at times confusing.
Difficulty: Intermediate and above.
Adjustments: Nothing big, just the minor changes listed above.
Make again? No.

3 thoughts on “1960s Cape (Simplicity 8017 pattern review)

  1. Hey! I’m currently sewing the same Cape but the longer version, like you I am a beginner and I hate my final garment, I thought it was going to look prettier, it looks great though ( talking about the sewing part, because I did a great job for being such an advance project and I a beginner), I did notice the same wrong things about the pattern and instructions and of course the difficulty it was to match some parts at the time of putting the fabric together, I had to fix some things to make it look right…….
    I said currently sewing because I only have left to sew the arms holes…and they didn’t match according to the instructions so I thought doing the same as you did……I do feel disappointed…I am going to finish it…but I know I am never going to wear it …….it is not what I thought it was going to be and look like……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Karla, it’s good to know I wasn’t the only one who struggled with this pattern! I think the worst part is when you realise it’s not going to look as good as you’d hoped when you’re halfway through sewing it- you still feel obligated to finish it, even though you know you won’t like the finished result! I also know I’ll probably never wear mine, but I’m trying to look at it as a learning experience (which is easier said than done). I recommend ‘rewarding’ yourself with a really easy, fun pattern once you’ve finished it!
      Good luck 🙂


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