Caped Crusader

A few days ago a friend posted a link to my Facebook timeline. The link proposed the idea that Edna Mode from the movie The Incredibles is the superhero for those of us who sew.

The Incredibles

I’ve got to admit, the idea has appeal. I love Edna’s character. One of the things I love most about Edna is that she refused to include a cape in Mr. Incredible’s “super suit,” and for excellent reasons.

It so happened that at the time my friend posted the link, I was working on a superhero cape, albeit somewhat against my will. Lucy volunteered me to make it for one of her friends. It turned out to be a much more complicated process than you might think, and it took a considerable amount of effort and time, during which I thought many thoughts about capes and may have growled in frustration more than once.

As you know, I make cloaks on a regular basis, and if you own a cloak, you know that it is extremely irritating when someone refers to it as a “cape,” because this shows a lack of basic knowledge. It’s not just the fact that a cloak has a hood and a cape does not. It’s more (at least for me) that a cloak is a useful garment and a cape is not.

Cloaks were indispensable for hundreds of years. They served as a warm outer garment, a blanket, and a sleeping bag. They fit anyone and could be passed down to one’s offspring. They could have any number of pockets in which to store things and they kept out wind and rain if well made.

A cape does none of these things. A cape usually hangs behind the wearer and the most you can say is that maybe it keeps his or her back a little warmer than it might otherwise be. I found myself wondering how the superhero cape came to be a “thing.” Surely, if superheroes were real, capes would get in their way all the time. They would catch on things and swirl into one’s face at the most inopportune moments. As Edna pointed out, they are just plain impractical.

I pondered this for a long time as I was working on the cape. I came to the conclusion that some artist dreamed up the idea because capes most admittedly do look cool. According to my research, the cape was also often an indicator that a character could fly. Because obviously a little rectangle of fabric will help you defy gravity, right?

Some part of me thinks that some comic book artist didn’t like or wasn’t good at drawing his character from behind, so he thought he’d just cover it with a cape and be done with it. So much easier, right? Or maybe the character was self-conscious about his backside and the artist felt obligated to give in to that little weakness. Who knows?

The point is that I made a cape and now it’s done. I have no plans to make another. Don’t even think of asking.

Also, I am feeling much better and hoping this household can hold together until my husband’s return tomorrow night. I feel bad that he’s coming home to a lengthy “to-do” list!


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