- 3m of warm fabric, 4m if you're tall. Charity shop blankets come recommended.
- A fur coat. Charity shops often don't sell them officially due to health&safetfy/ethical concerns but if you let the volunteers know that you want fur coats, they'll often put them to one side for you when they are donated. You can get large amounts of fur very cheaply this way. An alternative is to buy fake fur. You'll also need to buy a fastening if you do it this way. Note though that fake fur is nowhere near as warm as real fur.
Cut out a semi-circle or more of warm woolly fabric, whose radius is roughly your height (for an ankle length cloak). Small people (or shorter cloaks) can get away with using the full width of the fabric (typically 5 feet) but taller people may need to sew pieces together to achieve this.
It's easiest if you place your fabric right-side up at this stage.
Fold the points of the semi-circle into the centre - you should now be seeing the wrong side of the fabric on top.
Cut out a shoulder shape at the point of the wedge. It is probably best to lie down on the wedge, with your shoulders at a point where the wedge is wide enough for them, then get a friend to draw the line of your shoulders to the centre. Include a little 'dip' in the shoulder line for what will become the head hole.
As you can see from the photo to the left, I did not have quite enough for a full semi-circle - the cloak will still work but won't be as nice.
Seam the edge closed along the tops of the shoulders, leaving a gap for where your head will go through.
Hem the front edges and bottom edge of the cloak now.
Make your fur into a shape like one of the ones shown on the left. You might need to seam bits together. Make sure that the fastenings from the fur coat are at the front, as you can integrate them into the design so you don't need to sew your own fastening on.
I did this by cutting the arms off the coat (I have plans for those later...) and using most of the top half of the coat, adding in triangular bits to make it closer to a full circle shape.
Make sure the hole in the fur is no bigger than the headhole in your cloak piece.
This works if you want a flat bit of fur, but if you want to maintain the shoulder shaping of the jacket there is quite an elegant way to cannibalise a fur coat, maintaining all the seams, collars, and fastenings. Get a friend to put it on. Use the length of the arms as the length of your cape. Cut up the seams at the sides of the coat from your hip to your armpit and follow this seam, snipping all the way down the underside of the sleeve to the wrist. Now sew each edge from the sleeve onto the edge from the main body of the coat, curving around to match the shoulder shape and making a continuous cape. You might need to trim the bottom edges to match the lengths.
Lay your pieces down (they won't like exactly flat due to the shoulder shaping) and put the right side of the furry bit against the wrong side of the woolly bit.
Fasten the fastening at the neck closed (if you don't do this now, it won't close without distorting the shape once it's sewn on.)
Sew along the red line.
To wear the cloak, flip all the fur through the neckline from the inside to the outside of the cloak. Your seam will be hidden on the inside.
The cloak does not look its best here but you get the idea...