Custom Action Figures Cape Making Tips

When I set out to make anything custom I put a lot of thought into it. Remember that it is the details that will set good work apart. Also keep in mind that there are as many cape styles as there are action characters. It is important to have a clear idea in your head before you begin so you don’t end up with a lot of work for a shoddy piece. The more you plan the better your result is going to be.

Decide what style of cape you want. Take measurements of the figure’s height, and the size of its neck and shoulders. Make some sketches, find inspiring pictures or maybe even a pattern. Do you want arm holes in your cape? Will it tie around the neck with a ribbon or clasp in front with an eye hook? Is there a hood involved? It is important to consider the possibilities before you begin as it will affect the cuts you make and the measurements you need.

If you want to get really in depth, think about your character. Where did he get the cape? Did he make it himself? Maybe he’s terrible at sewing so you won’t mind uneven stitches. Lucky you! Use these details to your advantage. As with anything custom it is all a matter of choice and preference.

It is also possible that you are trying to recreate a cape that your toy used to have. If this is the case, look up the figure on line or ask around among other collectors to see if there are any templates and/or fabric specifications available. If that doesn’t work out do your best to make a design from memory.

Before I head to the store I make certain I have the needles, thread, clasps, ribbons etc, that I put into my design. Then I check my scrap bin to see if there is any suitable cloth. This isn’t often the case so the next thing I do is choose the color I’ll be aiming for. If I’m matching a specific paint from the custom figure I splash that same paint across a piece of white paper. The goal here is to have a reference at the store, sort of like matching the walls and the drapes.

I like to take my time choosing the perfect material. Since I’ll need so little of it for my project, the first place I check is the remnant section of a fabric store. After I’ve found some suitable colors I look for something that has a lot of movement and is quite thin but not sheer. If there isn’t anything awesome in the scrap bin I move on to the bolts until I’m satisfied.

Nine times out of ten I settle on silky fabrics because they are usually the brightest and thinnest in the bargain bin. Not surprisingly these thinner fabrics tend to unravel more quickly than others, which can be disastrous on such a small project. Sharp scissors will help here.

After I make the cut of the cape slightly larger than my design calls for (crucial to hemming) I seal the edges with clear nail polish to stop the unraveling. While the polish dries I choose a thread color and prepare the smallest needle I can work with. Then I roll the fabric along the edge to make tiny stitches along the entire perimeter. I do this by hand because I am not a machine savvy person. On a machine I’d just tear it up. In such a small piece it pays to take your time and get it right.

Soon enough the bulk of the cape is finished. After sewing on the proper clasps or ribbons I place it on the figure and admire the work. A fabric cape is one of the simplest ways to elevate a custom character to the next level.