16 October 2009

Reflective Cycling Cape Update

reflective tweed cycling cape
Well, I've finished my reflective cycling cape and I must say I'm just a tiny bit disappointed. The price and time commitment were definitely right, but the finished result isn't as great as I'd hoped. Oh, it's cute all right. I like it, and I think for someone else it will be perfect, but
  • it's too grey for my complexion, I look washed out when I wear it
  • it's too short for me - the next one will be a different, longer pattern
  • it's too light weight for me - this I had suspected but I liked the fabric's slubby weave... This cape belongs in Florida or some place warmer than here
(NOTE, I'm not sure it's any lighter than the Dashing Tweeds cape. Take a look at how theirs drapes. I just know that I'd want a heavier, longer cape for Boston)
  • the contrast of the seam binding (which matches the gold fibers) is more striking than the reflection of the fibers themselves - the cape is probably safest worn inside out and while the construction would be proud to be on display (did anyone see the Hermes dresses last spring? Inside out to show the impeccable construction), that wasn't my intent...

seam binding on cape
On final review it's worth far more than the $5 I spent, but it not yet the ideal reflective cycling cape.


Lorin said...

Well I think it's beautiful and just perfect for DC weather. If you are interested in selling it, shoot me an e-mail! Otherwise I'll be out fabric shopping this weekend... Thanks for the inspiration!

Trisha said...

I am so impressed! I will have to look into doing this as well. Or maybe just adding some reflective ribbon/tape to the inside of the cape I got at JC Penny on clearance last year.

cycler said...

They're not reflective, and they might be too short for cycling, but Target has some capes that are heavier wool.

I wonder if you could somehow weave a reflective ribbon through the fabric. It might be pretty destructive to the main fabric, unless it's a pretty open weave

Charlotte said...

Cycler, I saw those yesterday at Target. You might be able to apply a reflective ribbon, but they're shorter than this cape even.

I have some loden green wool that would not be high-visibility, but would be just scrumptious as a cape. Trade-offs. Sigh.

Charlotte said...

Lorin, It makes me happier to hear you're fabric shopping than to sell my cape. Let me know if you don't find anything perfect.

Filigree said...

You could sell this one and use the profits to buy luxurious materials for a new one, addressing all the changes you now know you'd like. One suggestion is that a cape can be made versatile for multiple season by adding a detachable lining (cashmere, fleece or velvet can be nice for that).

Charlotte said...

Filigree - I'm going to tell my husband that you said I could buy more fabric!!! I have many luxurious choices available "in stash", the previously mentioned loden coat wool being the most likely, and currently space-hogging candidate.

I wouldn't suggest your fabrics as lining fabrics though, the velvet would get completely crushed and the others would have a tendency to bunch up, keeping a cape from draping properly. A shocking aqua flannel-backed satin would be a fun pairing with the loden wool, though my mother's tiny voice in my head would make me change my mind at the last second and line it in a matching loden.

Thing is, I have to make another cheap cape with the next pattern, because the pattern is the real key to success with the cape. That's why my beautiful wool is still in yardage form, I'll only cut it when I'm 100% sure. Oh well, off to go pattern shopping.

If anyone wants this short pattern you can have it free. Just email me.

Cosmo said...

What a cool idea. Sorry it didn't turn out as well as you'd hoped. I am in the planning stages for a reflective coat. Good thinking to make a wearable muslin. I rarely ever do that.

RidingPretty said...

Was it really a year in the process of making and finishing it? Well I can understand! I prototype new things (like my capes, helmets, helmet covers) and it such a process, sometimes a very long process but that's how you learn!

Keep experimenting, trying new ideas!
Well Done!

Charlotte said...

RidingPretty - you noticed!

It was only a couple hours construction time total, over that year - putting the thing in my storage locker for months and months didn't help! It just wasn't high enough priority 'till now, when I finished it in 15 minutes. Sigh.

My homemade bike bag now, that project was never put aside. I guess reflective cycling capes aren't as much "my thing" as I thought!

RidingPretty said...

Charlotte...OF COURSE I would NOTICE! I never miss reading your blog, I read it most everyday along with the other usual suspects ;)

I love your creativity and all the DIY found on your blog. You are one of the very 1st true originals to blog about just this sort of thing!!!! You have set groundwork for others to follow :)

gragegrl said...

OMG! Fantastic. My husband reads your blog, he just sent me this, I've been thinking about making a reflective jacket too, but I don't have the sewing chops for it. I live in LA so it doesn't have to be super warm but I ride at night a lot so I've been wanting to make one out of bright yellow reflective, but I want it to be super romantic 19th -early 20th Century inspired.

I think you posted a comment about my riding cape on flickr a while back, I didn't make mine though.