My student emailed me before her lesson. Purim ( the Jewish equivalent of Mardi Gras) is next week. She wanted to dress up as Little Red Riding hood. Could I help her make a cape?

Making costumes is a blast, so of course I said yes. And putting on my sewing instructor hat, I figured that some new skills could be taught here as well.

My student had attempted to go fabric shopping in the neighborhood, but alas the fabric store was closed. I had some red light weight polar fleece in my stash, all that was left from the mountain of remnants I had purchased from Malden Mills six or seven years ago. I don't exaggerate THAT much when I call it a mountain of polar fleece. I think I paid $25 for the fleece and another $25 to ship it. It arrived by mail in a massive plastic bag that was taller than my youngest son. Some of the fleece ended up as coats. Some I sold at cost to some of my sewing pals. Most of it ended up being used, as is ,as blankets.

My student drew a quick sketch of what she wanted. It seemed to me that the quickest way to do what she wanted was to make a 1/2 circle cape. Using a piece of string the correct length taped to a pencil, I showed my student how to turn herself into a human compass. I held one end of the string taut, while she marked the fabric with the pencil. she cut the 1/2 circle, and then we cut a smaller arc for her neck. Given that this was a costume, my student decided not to finish the edges.

My student wanted the hood to have that lovely full gathered look that so many illustrations of Little Red Riding hood depict. A big rectangle of fleece was sewn into a tube and then that long tube was gathered to fit the relatively narrow neck opening. This was much easier said than done, because it required sewing through many layers of fleece. Only one needle was broken in the process and no eyes were permanently damaged.

The ties were straight strips of fleece, again if this were for a real garment we would have made turned tubes but for a costume, there was no need for refinements.

So here is the end result with my happy student. I love how the cape looks from the back. Those hard to achieve gathers are just so pretty. No my student just needs to find herself a basket.


  1. "She was the joy of her mother's heart, and to please her, the good woman made her a little scarlet cloak and hood, in which she looked so pretty, that everybody called her Little Red Riding-Hood." And indeed she does look pretty.


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