St. Martin's Day, or Martinmas, is celebrated throughout Europe and at Waldorf schools around the world with lantern processions, songs, and stories. According to legend, St. Martin, upon encountering a shivering beggar on a cold night, cut his cape in two. His act showed generosity and caring, bringing warmth and light to the beggar.
Our friend Jeaninque, whose son attends a Waldorf school, came up with an idea to make a "shareable" cape that can be separated into two halves. We think that playing out the story is such a lovely way for children to experience the actions of St. Martin, emulating his generosity and bringing warmth and light to those in need.
- The Traveller Cape pattern (cloak length pictured here)
- 40" (100cm) of hook and loop tape (velcro)
- Approx. 32" (80cm) of cord, string, or ribbon for fastening cape (to be cut in 4 pieces)
- Fabric for outer and lining (in this tutorial, Jeanique uses an upcycled fleece blanket and sheet from the thrift store)
Cut out the cape Front and Back pieces, from both main and lining fabrics. Note that for this tutorial, we are not using the Hood or Collar pieces.
Before sewing, cut the Back pieces (main and lining) in half down the middle, as pictured below:
1. Sew main fabric Front and Back cape pieces together along the curved outer shoulder seam of the cape using a 3/8" (1cm) seam allowance (as per Step 6 in the Traveller Cape tutorial - keep in mind we have two back pieces instead of just one). Press seams open.
Repeat for the lining. You will have a pair of main (outer) fabric cape pieces, and a pair of lining pieces.
2. Cut cord in four equal pieces of approximately 8" (20cm) each. On both lining pieces, position a piece of cord 1-2" (2.5-5cm) below the neckline, front and back, and baste in place. The cord will be basted to the right side of the lining fabric.
3. Pin one main and one lining piece right sides together, sandwiching the cord in between. Stitch around the edges using a 3/8" (1cm) seam allowance, leaving a gap for turning.
4. Turn right side out and give it a good press. Pin the gap left from turning closed. Topstitch all around the cape, closing the gap in the process.
5. Take one of the cape halves and pin the hook side of the velcro to the outside of the Back cape piece.
6. Stitch velcro in place, ensuring the cord is out of the way.
7. Repeat for the other half, but this time, sew the loop side of the velcro to the lining side of the cape Back.
Here are the two halves of the cape, ready to be fastened together!
Your St. Martin's cape is now ready. Make a wooden sword and start sharing!
Here we see St. Martin, riding his trusty horse. He sees the beggar, stops, and dismounts to speak to the man. Moved by the man's plight, he removes his cape and uses his sword to cut it in two. He gives the man half his cape to ensure that he will stay warm.
We're certain that your children will find many ways to play with this clever, shareable cape! If you try this hack, please share photos on the Twig + Tale Chat Facebook group or on Instagram.
Thank you Jeanique for sharing your method for transforming the Traveller Cape into a shareable St. Martin's cape.
Jeanique Kats lives in the Netherlands with her husband and two young boys. She enjoys the creative process of sewing beautiful garments and playthings for her family using natural fibres and upcycled materials.
You can find Jeanique on Instagram at @cwtch.nl.