If you’re like me and occasionally dress up in full cosplay to re-watch The Lord of the Rings (extended edition, of course), then like me you must yearn for a long, thick and cosy fantasy cloak to lounge around your apartment, imagining yourself running from Ringwraiths or walking slowly and aesthetically through a forest.
Most cloak how-tos that I’ve found start with a half- or full-circle cut from a long swath of fabric.
Which would be fine if fabric – especially fabric of the appropriate thickness and weight – didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Because I’m cheap and lazy, I thought I’d try to do a hack job of making a cloak with fabric that is easier to obtain.
So here’s how I made a fantasy cloak with a detachable hood using a set of curtains, embroidery thread, and some safety pins.
Step 1: Get the curtains
I bought these blackout curtains from a Japanese store called Nitori for about ¥4,000. I went with these light grey blackouts because they came with a secondary darker lining – which makes the cloak look more finished and will keep me warmer when I’m wearing it.
I like the texture of these curtains, and the colour works with the rest of my wardrobe, but you can go with whatever colour strikes your fancy. If your curtains don’t have a lining, then you can get another, thinner set of curtains, or just leave the cloak without a lining (in which case, you’ll need to finish the seams more carefully when the time comes).
Make sure that you check the hardware that comes with the curtains. Some sets have those big metal rings running along the top, while others have pinch pleats that you attach to the rail. I think the pinchy kind works best for our purposes since they give you more material to work with. One panel should be enough for the body of the cloak, and the other will work for the hood.
Step 2: Pull them apart Remove the hardware and split the pinched seams so that you can see how much fabric you have to work with. These curtains are about 100x138cms, but if you can get longer ones then you’ll have more fabric to work with.
Step 3: Cut the darts and sew them together Use one panel for the cloak’s body. Since this is a rectangle and we need to make a semi-circle at the top (for your neckline), measure out and cut some darts.
Here’s how I did it:
Admittedly this results in more cutting to get the neckline length right, since I chose to dart the longer side, but I wanted to keep as much of the original hems as possible and the shorter side is the perfect length for my body. Once the darts are cut out, pin the sides together and sew. I sewed the lining separately to hide the raw edges.
Step 4: Add fastenings
If you want to make this cloak fancy, you can get a hook and eye fastening or something from a hobby store. I chose to sew button holes to be threaded through with a length of ribbon, because I was too lazy to go to the store.
I learned how to do this from Bernadette Banner on YouTube, though I made my stitches much closer than hers because this curtain material shreds like a bastard and I didn’t want to leave anything raw.
Step 5: Alter according to your needs
Try it on. You might have some lumps in the neckline – that’s ok. Just pinch them together and sew them down so that your neckline is smooth and sits where you want it.
Step 6: Measure and cut hood
Now for the hood! Use the second panel for this, fold it in half, and then use the bottom corner of the fabric so that you can preserve the hems.
Measure out half the measurement of the neckline on the horizontal bottom of the fabric. Then, measure half the length of how long you want the face-hole to be on the vertical length. The shape and size of your hood is up to you, but I wanted something very roomy and floopy so I drew my shape accordingly.
Here’s what I mean:
Step 7: Sew up hood
Sew up the hood’s raw edges, leaving the pre-hemmed corners open. I flipped the fabric inside-out and sewed everything up, then flipped it back so that the area you see is nice and neat. I also cut some of the cabbage lining and used it to cover some raw edges that the hood’s lining didn’t cover.
Step 8: Attach the hood to the cloak
Like with the cloak fastenings, you can go as extra with this as your heart desires. You can sew the hood directly to the inside neckline of the cloak, but I made this hood to be detachable. You can use snap fastenings, buttons, or something similar so that the hood can come off and on as necessary. I didn’t have any of those – and this is supposed to be a quick and dirty how-to – so I used safety pins. Just as good in a pinch!
Since the hood has a lot of room, I did need to do some gathering to give the cloak’s fastenings space. Your results may vary depending on the size of the hood and the length of your neckline.
Step 9: Enjoy!
Congratulations, you fabulous nerd! You’ve made a cloak out of a set of curtains.
Of course, this is a very simple design. If you want more room in the body of the cloak, you can cut some strips from the second panel of the curtains and sew them in as gores or attach them to the sides of the first panel. If you want a cape attachment, you can cut a semi-circle from the second panel. The world is your oyster!
Go forth and protect Middle Earth with your cosy, long cloak.
PS – I love writing and I love eating! If you want to help with the latter (and ONLY if you want) you can maybe buy me a coffee? 🙂