Pattern: BurdaStyle's Cape 10/2011 #101A
Fabric: Waterproof windbreaker material, reflective piping
Well, it's been raining around here again, but that just gives me an excuse to show off my rain cape! If you remember, last time it rained around these parts I drew up plans for making my own custom rain gear - something that would work well for my bike commute. Well, the next day I stayed up way past my bedtime and rushed to finish my very own rain poncho in time for the last day of showers.
Based off of some ingenious designs from Cleverhood and Iva Jean, the cape is designed to be held over my handlebars as I ride, protecting my lap and knees from the rain. It's complete with a big ol' hood to go over my helmet, reflective piping for visibility, and armhole slits in the front for extra mobility options when I'm not riding (like when I'm carrying my bike down the steps to the train). Yes I look silly, but it is exactly what I needed for my rainy commutes.
Believe it or not, after collecting my ideas for this project I actually made a muslin out of an old sheet. Making performance sportswear - which is essentially what this is - scared me because I knew that function would be absolutely key. Here I am in my bike helmet, indoors, testing out hood sizes and fit:
For the most part, BurdaStyle's Cape 10/2011 #101A as-is worked just fine. I cut the absolute biggest size to give myself room for movement, shortened it to the right length, and changed the front opening to just a half placket so it would fit over my head (and helmet!) but not open in the front. I also lengthened and widened the hood to fit my helmet, and added a small interfaced visor to keep the water off my face. Because I wasn't worried about this thing being water-tight, I just sewed the seams the usual way, and serged the raw edges - no fancy seam tape or waterproofing. My favorite part is the bit of extra Betsy Johnson lightening bolt fabric I had leftover from a previous project, which I used to line the hood.
This project was definitely a rushed order, and reminded me of the days when I first started sewing and would stay up half the night to finish a project. The seams aren't perfect, there's a bit of a raw edge peaking out from under the visor, and I put the snap on the wrong way. But you know what? It's actually pretty functional. The light-weight design doesn't leave me too warm when I pedal my bike, and my legs are a lot dryer when I get to my final destination. Mr. K has even expressed an interest in one, although I hope I can get away with putting his off to the next rainy season...
Here's a final goofy shot. Pedestrians were definitely staring!
Goofy? Yes. Hastily made? Definitely. But functional enough for the occasional rain shower? You bet! I won't be moving to Seattle any time soon, but when the weather strikes, I finally feel prepared.