How to Make a Vampire Cape Collar

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Along with sharp, pointed teeth, an essential part of any vampire costume is a dramatic cape with a stiff, stand-up collar. The signature black cape worn by Dracula features a red satin lining. When you're taking a DIY approach and learning how to make a vampire cape yourself, you can substitute any colors and types of fabric you desire. With a wonderful custom vampire cloak, completing a vampire costume is easy—just wear it over pants and a shirt, a dress, or a skirt and top in a suitably vampiric style.

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Take some measurements

With a tape measure, take several measurements of the person who will be wearing the vampire cape as a Halloween costume or cosplay outfit.

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With the person's arms outstretched to the sides, measure from wrist to wrist. This is the width for the fabric pieces.

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Next, measure from the neck down to the lower point where the cape should reach, typically to the knees or ankles. This is the length for the fabric pieces.

Drape the tape measure in a loose arc around the back of the neck from the midpoint of the right shoulder to the midpoint of the left shoulder. This is the width for the collar. Choose a height for the collar from 5 to 10 inches depending on how dramatic you want the stand-up collar to be.

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Create a collar template

On paper, draw a rectangle matching the dimensions you determined for the collar. Transform the rectangle into a trapezoid with a longer top edge than the bottom edge. Extend the upper edge of the rectangle by 2 inches on each side and then connect the ends to the ends of the lower edge at an angle. Draw parallel lines 1/2 inch from the top and side edges of the trapezoid for the seam allowance. Cut out the trapezoid along the outer set of lines. This is the pattern piece for the collar

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Mark the cape outline on black fabric

With a ruler or tape measure and chalk, mark a rectangle on your piece of black fabric to match the width and height measurements you took plus 1 inch for seam allowances. Mark the midpoint of the upper edge with chalk.

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Mark the collar outline

Fold the trapezoid paper pattern in half widthwise to mark its midpoint. Place the paper pattern along the top edge of the rectangle so that the midpoints are matching. Make sure the longer upper edge of the trapezoid is at the top, and the shorter lower edge is aligned with the top edge of the rectangle. Trace around the paper pattern with chalk.

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Your black fabric should now be marked with a chalk rectangle plus a trapezoid-shaped collar at the middle of its upper edge.

Cut out the cape and collar

With scissors, cut out the black fabric cape and attached collar along the chalk outlines. Make sure you cut the cape and collar as one single piece of fabric, not two separate pieces.

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Cut the red fabric

Smooth the black fabric shape you just cut out over the red piece of fabric. Place straight pins around the edges, attaching the two layers together. Cut the red fabric with scissors, following the edges of the black piece. You now have two identical cape and collar shapes: one red and one black.

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Cut the interfacing

Find your paper trapezoid collar pattern and cut along the inner lines you drew for the top and side edges, removing the 1/2-inch seam allowance you included while marking the fabric. The original bottom edge remains. Use the trimmed paper pattern to cut out a trapezoid collar shape from heavyweight fusible interfacing.

Fuse the interfacing to the collar

Center the interfacing collar shape on the wrong side of the collar on the black fabric piece with the fusible side of the interfacing down. It should be 1/2 inch from the upper and side edges of the collar shape and aligned along the bottom edge of the collar. Fuse the interfacing to the black fabric following the manufacturer's instructions. This will generally mean pressing the nonsticky side of the interfacing with a hot iron. Use a press cloth if required.

Pin the two cape layers

Lay out the red fabric cape with the right side facing up. Lay the black fabric cape on top with the right side facing down and all the matching edges aligned. The side of the black cape with the fused interfacing should be facing up. Place straight pins through the two cape layers along all the edges.

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Sew the cape

Thread a sewing machine with black thread and set it to sew a medium-length straight stitch. Sew the two layers together around all the edges, including the edges of the collar, with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Leave a 3- to 4-inch gap at the end of the seam, ideally along the bottom edge of the cape. When you sew around the collar, be careful that you don't stitch into the interfacing but instead sew close to its outer edge.

Turn the cape right sides out

Turn the cape right sides out through the gap you left in the seam. If necessary, use a blunt object, such as a chopstick, to poke the corners of the collar and cape into place. Press the entire cape with an iron.

Top-stitch the gap

Top-stitch the gap you left in the seam to close it. Trim the thread ends.

Add the ribbon or cording

Cut a length of ribbon or cording that's approximately 20 to 30 inches longer than the full width of the collar. Find the midpoint of the ribbon or cording and pin it to the base of the collar where the collar meets the rectangular cape at the midpoint of the collar. Pin the rest of the ribbon or cording along the bottom edge of the collar and leave the two ends loose to act as ties. Sew the ribbon or cording in place using a straight stitch for ribbon or wide zigzag stitch for cording.

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