Circular - Cuts

This topic explains the 'Full-Circle" cutting method.  It is 3 of the 6 different cutting methods used for making cloaks and capes.  I have highlighted the relevant measurements using coloured arrows in the diagram below:

diagram of body measurements for a circular cloak

Click pictures to inspect the way the grain of fabric runs.

How you place fabric before you cut your pattern will affect the drape of the finished article.  Ideally, you want to have the grain of fabric run lengthwise at the front.


For an adult full-length cloak, expect to be lugging about 10 yards of fabric at the hem.

Personally I abandoned this pattern after trying a 7/8th circle cloak that I had partially made.  Perhaps this picture may help you decide.

cutting method for full-circle cape

( shoulder slope + 1/2 neck circumference + length from shoulder ) x 2
 (<==========> + 1/2 <=============> +  <============> )  x 2

  • 1 or more pieces are joined.
  • Pieces may be a combination of 2 quarter circles (front portion) and 1 semi circle (back portion).
  • Final shape would be an ovoid.

3-Piece Full-Circle

Use this method when:
  • fabric is not wide enough
  • you want to easily accommodate slits for arms, belt or backpack.
  • you want to add piping or tape for accent.

cutting the 3-piece full-circle cloak

Center Piece:
width   = shoulder width

length = ( length from nape ) x2
<==========> ) x 2

Side Pieces
width  = length from shoulder

length = ( length from nape ) x 2
( <==========> ) x 2


Usually 1 semi-circle or 2 quarter circles are joined.

method of cutting half-circle cape

( shoulder slope + 1/2 neck circumference + length from shoulder ) x 2
<========> + 1/2 <==============>  +  <=============>) x 2

Weakness of method:
Grain of fabric runs with the opening but crosswise at the back of garment. The garment drapes well at the front but widthwise at the back.   As a result, after a few wearings and launderings, the back portion will begin to shorten.

Refer to diagram below to further understand the concept of with and against the grain.

grain runs lengthwise at front of cloakgrain runs widthwise at the back
How grain behaves with the circular cut

Advantage of method:
Lesser number of pieces to join especially for child-sized capes when a single piece of 45" length would suffice for the super-hero cape.

For thick blanket-type fabrics, this method is favourable if drape is unimportant. Who is going to critisize drape as you go gallivanting in the woods anyway! Sure....the squirrels and birds are just now compiling a list.

Special Construction Tip

Since humans are not cylindrically-shaped,pre-cutting circles result in uneven hem when donning the garment.

Avoid taking a short-cut by making a circle using the chalk and string method. Join the pieces first if making project from more than 1 piece.  Prepare neckline and user don it. Only then the hem is marked and cut.

Marking the hem from floor ensures truer curve. Imagine a person with a XXX bust, pot belly, wide hips........get it? Anyway...the shoulder will already cause an ovoid shape.

Check these out before plunging into your project: