Ever since I started making 12″ custom figures, I have been doing more work with fabric. Once I got more comfortable with the materials, I started thinking about using fabric with Minimates to see how it looked. Other small action figure lines have used cloth for certain items here and there, but so far (correct me if I’m wrong), we have not seen it used on any Minimates.
I thought a cape would be a great place to start. The shape is easy to make, and it is a logical choice for a cloth accessory. I wanted it to be wired, so it could be put into some dramatic poses. I found some wired red ribbon at my local craft store. The ribbon is made of acetate, and was so thin it was slightly transparent. But I knew that it would become more opaque if I gave it more layers, which I would have to do anyways if I wanted it to be wired on both the bottom and sides. Also the material is very light, so even after a few layers, I figured it wouldn’t weigh down the Minimate like the larger plastic capes do (Moon Knight, I’m looking at you).
Since it is red, I thought Thor would be a good test subject. This would be important later when I had to decide how the cape would drape over his shoulders. But to start with, I cut one long piece of ribbon that was twice as tall as Thor, and a second piece that was a square shape. This second piece is the one that would get rotated 90° so that the wire was on the bottom. The diagram below shows how I layered it:
I started with the long piece, creased it in the middle, and made a ring of fabric glue inside it. Fabric glue is great because you have a short window of time to work with it before it becomes permanent. I added the rotated piece and then folded the long piece at the crease so that it covered the rotated piece and glue. I was able to get everything lined up and pressed together before the glue really kicked in.
At the top of the cape, I folded the two corners down, as if I was wrapping a present, and glued them into place. I made these corners relatively small, because then the cape would be wider at the top, and would drape over Thor’s shoulders in a similar look to the comics. This left an area of fabric in between the two triangles that was about as wide as a Minimate neck joint. I cut this out with a sharp scissors, then pulled the two triangles together and glued them where they met. I trimmed off any stray threads, and this was the result:
The wires worked exactly as I hoped they would, and allowed the cape to be put into all kinds of different positions. I think it helped that there were two layers of wires on the sides. The fabric is mostly opaque after 3 layers, and still light and flexible.
This project turned out much better than I expected. Working with fabric is a tricky thing, and I didn’t have high hopes for this. But after seeing the results, I want to make more capes like this.
What do you think? Is this something DST should consider? Possibly include both a plastic and a cloth cape with certain characters?