Duct Tape Cape

by Andrea on May 8, 2012

I recently signed up to be a running buddy for the Girls on the Run program.  These 3rd – 5th grade girls train for ten weeks and finish up with a 5k run.  As a running buddy, I just show up about two weeks before their big run, and do a practice 5k with my running buddy.  Then on the day of their big 5k, at a community-wide event, I run alongside my girl and help get her to the finish line.  Sounds fun, right?

After finishing up our practice 5k last week, the coach gathered all of the adult buddies aside, thanked us for coming out, gave us final directions for the real 5k run…. oh, and by the way, could each of us make a superhero cape?  This cracked me up.  The theme for this 5k is ‘Be Your Own Superhero’, and they want to have as many caped superhero girls there as possible.  No problem!

At first I had elaborate visions of sewing a cape, and then sadly realized, I didn’t have the time to invest right now.  But I still wanted to make something cool… so with a little tissue lame fabric, ribbon, and duct tape, I give you my Duct Tape Cape!

Here we go.  First gather your materials.  After perusing all of the different types of fabrics at JoAnn’s, I settled on tissue lame.  The colors are awesome; it’s lightweight yet a little stiff to hold the shape; it’s fabulously shiny; and it’s cheap.

Done, done, and done.  Next up – the duct tape section.  I know that duct tape is cool, but I didn’t realize that it is now zebra print cool.  In the basket that went.  So with coupons, I picked up a yard of tissue lame and the duct tape for $6.  I knew I must have some ribbon at home that would work so I didn’t bother picking any up.

Going back to me not having a lot of time, I just laid the fabric out, eyeballed an approximate cape shape, and started cutting. No patterns, no sketching, no drawing, nothing.  And it worked!  Since I was planning on duct taping the edges, the edge didn’t need to be perfect. See – my not so pretty edge.

I then cut a piece of duct tape the length of one of the sides and laid it down so that half of the tape would be on the fabric edge.

I then flipped it over, and pressed down the tape while folding it in half.  That ragged edge is now cleverly covered up and not going anywhere.

Repeat on the other long side.  My sister, an elementary school teacher, gave me an estimate on the height of a typical third grade girl.  I cut the fabric so that the cape would hit just below her knees and repeated the duct tape edge along the bottom.  I decided not to duct tape the top as it already had a clean edge, and I figured it would be easier to sew the ribbon onto the fabric instead of onto the fabric+duct tape.

So for my finishing touches: I sewed two pieces of ribbon along the top and added a zebra ‘M’ for my buddy.

Here’s little Mo modeling the finished work.  (The next cape I make, because I’m now convinced that I need to make enough capes for a small army, will be scaled down for his height.)

In the end, the cape ended up being 30 inches long, 26 inches wide at the bottom, and 9 inches wide on top. It took me under 30 minutes.  And the duct tape, which I had picked up to keep the edges from fraying and make it look cool, also served a third purpose.  It holds the cape shape beautifully.  As my buddy flies around, this cape will not be folding or twisting into itself.  I can’t wait to show her!

shared at Do Something Crafty, Blissful and Domestic

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