Planning The Sewaholic Cypress Cape

I bought the pattern for the Cypress Cape a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t planning to buy it that particular evening but I was just seeing where I could find it at the best price including P&P. I came across e-Bay seller Trixie Lixie who has free P&P and before I knew it I had bought the pattern.

Sewaholic Cypress Cape Pattern

Sewaholic Cypress Cape Pattern

Since this pattern came out in September I’ve been thinking about suitable fabrics. The Sewaholic blog mentions a cotton feel waterproof fabric. The only one I’ve come across in the UK is Ventile but at £27.5 per metre and requiring 3.9mts to make, at that price it’s not really an option.

A lot of waterproof fabrics are just too crispy and don’t have much drape so I focused in on two qualities. A waterproof microfibre fabric from UK fabrics online which is reasonably soft and does have some drape or a polyester cotton gabardine from Calico Laine. The gabardine isn’t waterproof and would need to either have a spray on or a wash in water repellent finish added.

I have some water repellent spray which I bought from Aldi and use for re-applying the WR finish on my waterproofs. I tried this out on the gabardine (which is left over from the unfinished trench coat) and when water is applied to the fabric it does ‘bead’ on the surface rather than sinking in and runs off. I tested the gabardine in it’s normal state and the water does bead but it began to sink into the fabric much quicker. It has a bit of natural repellence due to the polyester content and the twill weave.

The fabric on the left is gabardine without any finish, the water does bead up but you can see the fabric is darker underneath the water, it is beginning to soak into the fabric. The fabric on the left has had WR finish sprayed on, you can see the water has beaded and is just sitting on top of the fabric without beginning to soak in.

The fabric on the left is gabardine without any finish, the water does bead up but you can see the fabric is darker underneath the water, it is beginning to soak into the fabric.
The fabric on the left has had WR finish sprayed on, you can see the water has beaded and is just sitting on top of the fabric without beginning to soak in.

I think now I’ve decided on the microfiber as it is properly waterproof. The sample I have is from UK Fabrics On-Line at £6.99. It wont be a fully waterproof jacket as I won’t be taping the seams but water won’t be able to penetrate the fabric.

I’ve also been thinking about the whole hi-vis issue, (not actually thinking about making the whole cape in hi-vis…). I’m in Manchester in the UK and it seems to me that every commuter cyclist wears hi-vis. I haven’t got around to putting on my horrible boxy hi-vis waistcoat yet this autumn as I’m currently wearing a bright red jacket which must be quite visible but sometimes I do feel like I’m doing something wrong. There does seem to be a lot of debate surrounding the hi-vis issue. In my opinion in daylight it does it’s job but when the evenings are dark it’s lights and reflective areas that are most important.

Commuter cyclists in hi-vis

Commuter cyclists in hi-vis

So anyway… I did have the idea to make the central panel in the hood either hi-vis yellow or orange. I’m thinking about a dark green for the cape and I thought that the orange would give it a look reminiscent of old school parkas with the orange hood lining. But I think I’ve gone off that idea now but now thinking again whilst typing, maybe…what do you think?

If I really want to add a flash of hi-vis to myself there are plenty of options with wrist / ankle bands etc.

old school parka with orange lining

old school parka with orange lining

But then sometimes you an over-think a project. I’ve wanted a cape for a while and this is a stylish cape designed for cycling but it’s not the complete answer to wet-weather riding – for a start the sleeves are too short, if it’s really raining you are going to need gaiters for your wrists!
Which then makes me think gabardine will be fine after all…..

I shall start gathering the fabrics and trims. I can get the reflective piping and the front open-end zipper from Pennine Outdoor.

I shall keep you posted.

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7 thoughts on “Planning The Sewaholic Cypress Cape

  1. I can’t wait to see what you do with this! And somewhere on the internet I saw a video of a car bumping into a motorcycle cop wearing… hi viz! So I’m not convinced that it’s the all-powerful safety color everyone thinks it is. But you know me, I don’t wear it, so…. : )

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