This oversized hooded cape was designed to expose the elegant beauty of natural fibres and their traditional function as providers of warmth and protection from the elements.
I have such love for this pattern so I’m so excited to be able to make it available to all now, both as a free pattern as well as to purchase as an ad-free print optimised PDF.
The inspiration behind the design
The cape was designed, after reading about the Wilderman mythology. Ever since I watched the Wickerman as a child, paganism has fascinated me a bit.
I love the way that different cultures celebrate the earth with different, but often parallel rituals and icons. There is so much to learn!
I love folklore, and the slow, natural, patient, intricate vibe which pays respect to the earth.
Without taking you too far down my rabbit hole, the design was inspired by visions of a gothic fairytale set in a woodland winter wonderland (probably in Norway). That was the general feel I wanted to bring to the Wilderness cape. I hope that doesn’t sound either pretentious or ludicrous!
I was excited to find this beautiful avenue just a couple of miles from where I live, which I thought was a lovely setting to photograph it in (short of a trip to actual Norway!!)
So tethering my imagination back down (I appreciate the backstory may be too much of an insight into my brain for some!), I’ll tell you a bit more about the design…
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About the Wilderness Cape
It’s an easy top down cape, or cardigan or sleeved poncho, or hoodie. I’m not sure where the line is drawn but cape seemed closest because it’s incredibly spacious!
It has about 40cm of positive ease giving you plenty of room to wear it over the top of sweaters on a cold day as a coatigan (I missed that one before!)
The sleeves start about half way down the upper arms and I finished them just before my wrists, though you can make them longer or shorter. Now that I think about it, this would also look awesome as a sleeveless cape, just with the arm holes left open.
I designed this garment (we’re going with cape!) so that the bottom of the hem is pulled in to create a balloon shape to match the sleeves, but you can work the hem without cinching it in to create a more traditional swing style cape.
Without further ado, let’s get to the pattern…
- Please read through the pattern and all associated notes before starting your project
- This pattern uses standard US crochet terms (UK equivalents are given in brackets in the abbreviations list)
- Numbers at the end of a row / round indicate the number of stitches in that row / round and are only given at the start of a section or where there is a change
- Turning chains do not count as stitches
- Unless otherwise indicated, stitches should be worked in consecutive stitches
- The first stitch of each row / round should be worked into the top of the last stitch from the previous row / round, unless otherwise indicated
- Instructions written after *asterisks should be repeated as indicated
- Instructions written between [square brackets] should be repeated the specific number of times indicated
- Instructions in (round brackets) should be worked in the same stitch
- The body of the cape is worked top down with a round yoke which is split to create the sleeves
- The hood and tasselled cord are made separately and joined to the body at the end.
- The hood is worked in rows with a decrease worked in the centre to create a rounded crown
- A single button hole and button are added at the neck
This is a relatively simple pattern suitable for the adventurous beginner or intermediate crocheter.
It uses a combination of half double crochet and extended double crochet stitches throughout. Stitch descriptions are given in the pattern.
- Knowledge of basic crochet stitches, techniques and terminology is assumed
- Working in rows and rounds
- Simple increases and decreases
- Extended crochet stitches
- Working in back and font loops
- Slip stitching
The pattern includes written instructions to make the draw string cord, including a link to this tutorial. It suggests you add tassels but pom poms would work great too. The pattern also points to this tassel tutorial.
You will need approximately 1250(1320, 1370, 1440, 1500, 1650, 1730) chunky or heavy worsted or aran weight yarn, depending on the size chosen.
The item pictured used Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool, 100% wool, 250g/437m/487yds, Shade: Ecru 8010 x 3(4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5) skeins
You can use a similar chunky weight animal fibre or acrylic yarn which works to the same tension for this project.
Note that I think this design would also work with a heavy worsted or aran weight yarn, as the yarn used here was a light chunky, but please do check your gauge.
Other Materials & Notions
- 1 x button, 15–20mm
- Yarn needle & scissors, tape measure
Measurements & Finished Size
- Wilderness is designed to be oversized with around 40cm of positive ease
- The yoke is worked longer than a traditional top down sweater or cardigan, with the sleeves starting mid way down the upper arm and finishing short of the wrists
- The item pictured is made in size small and worn by me (5ft 1in, UK size 8-10 / US 4-6)
- Approximate measurements of the finished garment are given below to help you choose a suitable size for you / the recipient of the garment
- The pattern is designed for adults and offered in 7 women’s sizes
- Instructions for different sizes are written in increasing order, with the smallest size first and larger sizes following in brackets, i.e., XS (S, M, L, 1X, 2X, 3X) sts or Rows / Rounds
- If you are working from a hard copy of the pattern, you may want to go through and highlight or circle the relevant colour for your chosen size
All measurements are approximate and given in cm:
- Chest: 118(127, 136, 145, 155, 164)
- Length: 44(44, 44, 44, 48, 48)
- Upper Arm (at yoke split): 40(41.5, 43, 44.5, 46, 49)
- Sleeve length (from yoke split): 35(35, 35, 37, 37, 37)
Stitches & Abbreviations: US terms
(UK Equivalent in Brackets)
- ch = chain
- ch-sp = chain space
- blo = back loop only
- edc = extended double crochet (UK extended treble)
- flo = front loop only
- hdc = half double crochet (UK half treble crochet)
- hdc2tog = half double crochet 2 together (UK half treble 2 together) – see special stitches
- hdc3tog = half double crochet 3 together (UK half treble 3 together) – see special stitches
- rep = repeat
- rs = right side
- sk = skip (UK miss)
- ss = slip stitch
- st(s) = stitch(es)
- ws = wrong side
- yo = yarn over
Extended Double Crochet (edc)
Yo, insert hook, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through 1 loop, yo, pull through 2 loops, yo, pull through 2 loops to complete the stitch.
Half Double Crochet 2 Together (hdc2tog)
Yo, insert hook, yo, pull up a loop (3 loops on hook), yo insert hook into next st, yo, pull up a loop (5 loops on hook), yo, pull through all 5 loops to complete the stitch.
Half Double Crochet 3 Together (hdc3tog)
Yo, insert hook, yo, pull up a loop (3 loops on hook), insert hook into next st, yo, pull up a loop (4 loops on hook), insert hook into next st, yo, pull up a loop (5 loops in hook) yo, pull through 5 loops to complete the stitch.
For hood only
The stitch pattern used for this cape is created by alternating of half double and extended double crochet in consecutive stitches.
For specific numbers of repeats, it will be given in square brackets, so: “[1hdc, 1edc] three times” will be equal to working the stitch pattern for a total of 6 stitches.
You will alternate rows starting with hdc and edc.
To increase, you will work 2 sts into the same st. On the increase rows, two increases are placed next to each other to ensure the stitch pattern is maintained.
You will see this written as: “(1edc, 1hdc) in each of next 2 sts; ”.
13 sts and 8 rows in 10cm of alternating half double crochet and extended double crochet using a 6mm crochet hook or size needed to obtain gauge.
The Wilderness Cape Pattern
Using a 6mm hook, Ch63(67, 71, 75, 79, 75, 79)
Row 1: (rs) 1hdc in third ch from hook and each ch to end, turn. 61(65, 69, 73, 77, 73, 77) sts
Row 2 (inc): Ch2 (does not count as st throughout), *1hdc, 1edc, (1hdc, 1edc) in each of next 2 sts; rep from * to last st, 1hdc in last st, turn. 91 (97, 103, 109, 115, 109, 115) sts
Row 3: Ch3 (does not count as st throughout), 1edc in first st, *1hdc in next st, 1edc in next st; rep from * to end, turn
Row 4: Ch2, 1hdc in first st, *1edc, 1hdc; rep from * to end, turn
Row 5 (inc): Ch3, *[1edc, 1hdc] twice, (1edc, 1hdc) in each of next 2 sts; rep from * to last st, 1edc in last st, turn.121(129, 137, 145, 153, 145, 153) sts
Row 6: As Row 4
Row 7: As Row 3
Row 8 (inc): Ch2, *[1hdc, 1edc] three times, (1hdc, 1edc) in each of next 2 sts; rep from * to last st, 1hdc in last st, turn. 151(161, 171, 181, 191, 181, 191) sts
Row 9: As Row 3
Row 10: As Row 4
Row 11 (inc): Ch3, *[1edc, 1hdc] four times, (1edc, 1hdc) in each of next 2 sts; rep from * to last st, 1edc in last st, turn. 181(193, 205, 217, 229, 217, 229) sts
Row 12: As Row 4
Row 13: As Row 3
Row 14: As Row 4
Row 15: As Row 3
Row 16 (inc): Ch2, *[1hdc, 1edc] five times, (1hdc, 1edc) in each of next 2 sts; rep from * to last st, 1hdc in last st, turn. 211(225, 239, 253, 267, 253, 267) sts
Row 17: As Row 3
Row 18: As Row 4
Row 19: As Row 3
Row 20: As Row 4
Row 21: Ch3, *[1edc, 1hdc] six times, (1edc, 1hdc) in each of next 2 sts; rep from * to last st, 1edc in last st, turn. 241(257, 273, 289, 305, 289, 305) sts
Row 22: As Row 4
Row 23: As Row 3
For sizes XS, S, M, L & 1X only
Row 24: As Row 4
Continue to splitting the yoke
For sizes 2X & 3X only
Row 24: Ch2, *[1hdc, 1edc] seven times, (1hdc, 1edc) in each of next 2 sts; rep from * to penultimate st, 1hdc in last st, turn. -(-, -, -, -, 325, 343) sts
Row 25: As Row 3
Row 26: As Row 4
Continue to splitting the yoke
Splitting the yoke
Row 1: (RS) Ch3, 1edc, [1hdc, 1edc] 18(20, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27) times, ch4, sk 48(50, 52, 54, 56, 60, 60) sts, [1hdc, 1edc] 35(37, 39, 43, 45, 49, 56) times 1hdc, ch4, sk 48(50, 52, 54, 56, 60, 60) sts, [1edc, 1hdc] 18(20, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27) times, 1edc in last st, turn. 153(165, 177, 189, 201, 213, 231) sts
You will now continue to make the remainder of the body of the cape
Row 2: Ch2, 1hdc, *1edc, 1hdc; rep from * around body, working into each st and ch to end, turn. 153(165, 177, 189, 201, 213, 231) sts
Row 3: Ch3, 1edc in first st, *1hdc, 1edc; rep from * to end, turn
Row 4: Ch2, 1hdc in first st, *1edc, 1hdc; rep from * to end, turn
Rows 5–12: Rep Rows 3 and 4, ending on a Row 4 repeat
Note that if you want to change the length of your cape you can add or remove rows to the body section.
The hem is designed to pull the bottom of the cape in to create the balloon shape at the bottom as you see pictured.
Continuing from the last row of the body;
Row 1: Ch2, *1hdc, hdc2tog; rep from * to end, to end, turn. 102(110, 118, 126, 134, 142, 154) sts.
Row 2: Ch2, 1hdc in each st to end, turn
Row 3: As Row 2
If you prefer to have no shaping on the bottom of your cape, you can simply work 3 rows of hdc (without the decreases) around the base of your cape.
Repeat on both sides and add button hole (see below) to one side
Note that working the button band will cause the front to shorten and curl. This is intentional.
With ws facing, join yarn to first row-end of front opening of cape;
Row 1 (ws): Ch2, 1hdc into each row-end down front opening of cape, turn. 39(39, 39, 39, 39, 41, 41) sts
Row 2: Ch2, 1hdc in each st to end, turn
Row 3: As Row 2
Once again, if you want to reduce shaping, you can increase the number of stitches worked into the row-ends until you achieve your desired tension. For example, you may wish to try working 1hdc into hdc row ends and 2hdc into edc row ends to achieve a flat finish.
You will make a single button hole on one of the button bands, 3 sts from neckline of cape.
Row 1: Work as Row 1 of Button Band.
Row 2: Ch2, 1hdc in each st to 5 sts from end (neckline) or work 1hdc in first 3 sts of row depending which side you wish to place button hole (and therefore which direction you are working your row), ch2, sk 2 sts, 1hdc in next st and each st to end, turn
Row 3: Ch2, 1hdc in each st to ch2-sp, 2hdc in ch2-sp, 1hdc in each st to end
Repeat on both sides
With rs facing, join yarn after underarm ch4 from where yoke was split. Be sure to work in opposite direction to last row of yoke;
Round 1 (rs): Ch3, *1edc, 1hdc; rep from * to end working in each st and ch, ss to top of first st to join, turn. 52(54, 56, 58, 60, 64, 64) sts
Round 2: Ch3, *1edc, 1hdc; rep from * to end, sl st to top of first st, turn
Rounds 3–25: As Round 2
Do not fasten off, continue to cuff
Round 1: Ch1 (does not count as st here and throughout), work hdc2tog around cuff to end, ss to top of first st, turn. 26 (27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 32) sts.
Round 2: Ch1, hdc2tog, 1hdc in each st to end, ss to top of first st, turn. 25(26, 27, 28, 29, 31, 31) sts
Round 3: As Round 2. 24(25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 30) sts.
Fasten off, weave in ends
Tasselled slip stitch cord
Note that you can find a video tutorial for this technique here.
Round 1: Ch2, ss in to first ch to create a small loop, with 3 sts including the ss
If you struggle to find all 3 loops, start with ch3 and sk the ss when working the next round.
Round 2: Ss in blo of each ch and ss – 3 ss blo.
Working in rounds and turning the cord as you work, continue to ss in blo of each ss to create a cord. Be sure to have 3 ss at all times.
Continue working until cord measures approximately 80cm long.
Add a tassel (or pom pom if you prefer) to each end of the cord. This quick tutorial shows you how to make tassels.
Note that the hood is worked the same for all sizes;
Row 1 (ws): 1hdc in third ch from hook, *1edc in next ch, 1hdc in next ch; rep from * to end, turn. 91 sts
Row 2: Ch3, 1edc in first st, *1hdc, 1edc; rep from * to end, turn
Row 3: Ch2, 1hdc in first st, *1edc, 1hdc; rep from * to end, turn.
Rows 4 – 20: Rep Rows 2 and 3, ending on a Row 2 repeat
Row 21: Ch2, [1hdc, 1edc] 22 times, hdc3tog, *1edc, 1hdc; rep from * to end, turn. 89 sts
Row 22: Ch3, 1edc, [1hdc, 1edc] 21 times, hdc3tog, 1edc, *1hdc, 1edc; rep from * to end, turn. 87 sts
Row 23: Ch2, [1hdc, 1edc] 21 times, hdc3tog, *1edc, 1hdc; rep from * to end, turn. 85 sts
Row 24: Ch3, 1edc, [1hdc, 1edc] 20 times, hdc3tog, 1edc, *1hdc, 1edc; rep from * to end, turn. 83 sts
Row 25: Ch2, [1hdc, 1edc] 20 times, hdc3tog, *1edc, 1hdc; rep from * to end, turn. 81 sts
Fold hood piece in half with right sides together, sew together both sides of Row 25 for 40 sts, working from neck (row ends) towards crown of the hood (where decreases were made) to create seam at back of hood.
You can adjust the size of the hood should you wish by changing the number of chains in the starting chain (ensuring you’re working with an odd number), making sure you move the placement of the decrease into the centre of the hood accordingly.
Joining Hood to Body
With ws facing, pin hood evenly around wrong side of neckline of body.
Start by aligning front opening of hood to front of the body of cape (do not stitch into top of button bands) and back seam of hood to back centre of neckline. The row ends of the hood will run along the neckline of the body.
There will be some (intentional) gathering of the body into the hood.
Sew in place.
With rs facing, join yarn to bottom front edge of hood;
Row 1: Ch3, 1edc in each st along front of hood (working into other side of the foundation ch), turn. 91 sts
Row 2: Ch3, 1edc in each st to end, turn
Row 3: Ch3, 1edc in flo of each st to end, turn
Row 4: Ch3, 1edc in each st to end
Adding the cord
Fold the hood trim in half towards inside of hood (along row worked in front loops) placing the cord inside the fold.
Pin into place so the cord can move within the tube.
Working on ws of hood, neatly sew top of Row 4 of the hood trim to the base of Row 1 to secure cord inside trim to work as a drawstring.
Sew in any remaining ends.
Sharing your finished makes
I love seeing your finished makes – it gives me all the happy feels. Here’s how you can share them on social media, if that’s your thing.
- On Instagram, you can use the hashtag #DoraDoes to share your finished projects or just tag me @doraexplored
- If you have the bug for creating garments, why not join my dedicated facebook group “My Crochet Wardrobe” and share them there?
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Dora Does Limited, Registered in England, Company Number 13992263. Copyright 2022. This pattern is for personal use only and may not be shared or reproduced without written consent.