Tonawanda News

April 15, 2013

PINSPIRED: Five minutes to up, up and away

By Jill Keppeler
The Tonawanda News

— What child hasn’t run around the house with a towel tucked into the neck of his or her shirt, pretending to be Superman, or Batman, or Wonder Woman?

I did it. My boys do it. It’s imagination at its finest, and the superhero play has only increased since we recently watched the Disney/Pixar superhero ode, “The Incredibles.” (Although they did not take that film’s ultimate message about capes and the safety thereof to heart, apparently.)

The problem with those towel capes ... they keep falling off. Superman Jr. doesn’t look quite as cool when his cape drifts away behind him ... and Batman looks downright silly when he trips over his own cape. What’s a superhero-wannabe to do?

Pinterest to the rescue!

It was one of the first pins I ever pinned, but for some reason I never got around to it until I had Pinspired to think of. (My boys thank you, Pinspired column.) It’s one of those almost too-simple, common-sense “Why didn’t I think of that?” things.

Simple as this: Get an old T-shirt. The faded, the slightly ripped, even the stained-down-the-front. Lay it down with the back facing up. With a sharp set of scissors, cut in a straight line from the bottom right corner of the shirt to about an inch to the right of the collar of the shirt. Do the same on the left. You can use a straight edge of some sort to be sure this is perfectly in line. I didn’t bother. (OK, the line wound up a little ragged. My little superheroes didn’t care.)

From one side or the other, start where you left off and cut around the front of the shirt, leaving the collar intact, ending where the other cut left off. Remove the front and side piece of the shirt.

Voila. Superhero cape. Slip the collar of the head of your little hero and let him or her fly.

I used an extra-large shirt for the first cape we made, so there’s plenty of room for a child to take off or don the cape himself. Of course, supervision is necessary whenever there’s anything around a kid’s neck, but it’s a stretchy T-shirt collar, so I’d consider it fairly safe.

There are many ideas I’ve seen to fancy capes up, from creating a lining with another T-shirt to finishing off the edges neatly with a sewing machine to creating elaborate insignias out of felt or glitter paint. We went the self-made route: Sam pulled out his markers and decorated his own, with a big letter “S,” stars, his name, a volcano (so he said) and a smiling face that is, presumably, himself.

And then he was off and flying.

Some pins I’ve seen recommend cutting the T-shirt off only under the armpits so that there’s not just something around the neck. You can choose to do this. I judged Sam old enough and, besides, I was keeping a pretty good eye on him.

That’s generally a good idea when you have a 4-year-old who thinks he’s Superman, anyway.

Jill Keppeler is a writer for the Tonawanda News. Find us on Pinterest by searching "Tonawanda News."

•••

• WHAT: Child's superhero cape

• DIFFICULTY: Easy

• TIME: Five-10 minutes for cape; as much time as you want to decorate it.

• RESULT: It seems almost too simple, but ... pin it.