How to Make a Hooded Cape for a Child

Updated February 21, 2017

Children love costumes, and a hooded cape is an essential piece in any dress-up box. Pair it with a wand and be a wizard, with a sweet dress for Little Red Riding Hood, or a tunic and leggings for a medieval fair. Whether the hooded cape is for Halloween, a school show, or just imaginative play, these directions will allow even a novice sewer to create a versatile costume for a child.

Measure the child from the base of the neck to the desired length of the cape (hip length for a short cape, knee length or longer for a long cape). Add 1 and 1/2 inches to this measurements to allow for seams and hem.

Lay fabric on a flat surface and use the marking pen and measuring tape to mark the length of the cape body along the long edges of the fabric. Cut straight across.

Hem bottom edge of fabric. Turn the cut end of the fabric up 1/2 inch to the wrong side of the fabric and press with the iron set to an appropriate heat for the fabric. Turn up another 1/2 inch and press again.

Stitch along the folded edge using a straight stitch on the sewing machine to secure the hem. Back-stitch at the beginning and end of the seam to prevent the threads from unravelling.

Measure the remaining fabric for the hood. Mark and cut a rectangle 27 inches wide and 21 inches high. This will make a generous hood that will fit most children.

Hem short ends of the hood rectangle using the same process used to hem the bottom of the cape.

Fold the hood fabric in half width-wise (lining up the two hemmed edges) with right sides of the fabric together.

Stitch along the top (short edge) of the fabric, leaving a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Trim remaining seam to 1/4 inch. If desired, finish the seam by stitching with a zigzag stitch along the cut edges.

Gather fabric on the top edge of the cape body by stitching two parallel rows of long basting stitches (by hand or with the machine set to a long stitch length). Pull the ends of the threads to gather the fabric.

Pin cape body to base of hood with right sides together. Arrange gathers neatly along the length of the seam.

Stitch cape body to hood, leaving a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Trim and finish seam to 1/4 inch.

Cut grosgrain ribbon into two 1/2-yard lengths. These will be the ties for the cape.

Finish the ends of the ribbon by turning under 1/4 inch and stitching across the ribbon to secure the end.

Sew ribbons to the neck area of each side of the body of the cape, 3 inches below the hood, using a short straight stitch.

Trim thread ends close to fabric.


Choose a fabric with a finished selvedge edge so that the length of the cape need not be hemmed. A weighty fabric, such as fleece, velour, or wool blend suiting, will provide a nice drape.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • 2 yards of fabric (45 or 60 inches in width)
  • Fabric marking pen
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine threaded with thread to match colour of fabric
  • 1 yard of 1-inch wide grosgrain ribbon to match colour of fabric
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About the Author

Heather Vidmar-McEwen has worked as a writer and editor for academic and nonprofit organizations since 2002. She has a master's degree in archaeology from Indiana University. Her articles specialize in culture, history, science, crafts and the natural world.