I know its been a bit quiet around here, but I have been very busy sewing up lots of things – some blouses and skirts, a dress, and a drum (!) – all of which is pattern testing and still in progress, so I can’t share it yet! But…this does mean that I have lots coming up on the next few weeks, including another giveaway, yay! If I can get a handle on Instagram I will start to share some sneak peaks there, you can follow me on Instagram here.
This week I’ve also been doing some planning for the next Kids Clothes Week Challenge which starts on 20 February 2017 – that’s only 3 days away. I will posting more details about that later…but it did get me flicking through my collection of Ottobre magazines, and I realised that I never shared this particular make from last year.
Jonathan needed a costume for book week last year, his class did a presentation of “The Very Cranky Bear”, so he needed a bear costume. I hacked an Ottobre pattern to make it, I took lots of photos along the way because it was quite a simple hack that I thought I would like to share, so here it is.
I used pattern number 22 from Ottobre Magazine Spring 1/2016 to make the hoodie. I made it up in a size 122. This is a regular hoodie, and doesn’t have any ears – so I hacked it to add them! You could use any hoodie pattern for this hack, as long as the hood itself is designed with a single centre-back seam.
This pattern worked really well for the purpose, I did have some trouble with the front placket though. There are some additional illustrated instructions included in the magazine for the construction of this placket, but I found the diagrams confusing and ended up with the placket being off-centre! Fortunately the fabric hides this fact really well, so I’m not too worried about it, but I did end up leaving out the snap fasteners, because I think they would have highlighted the error and made it look worse. Jonathan didn’t even notice though, as far as he was concerned, he has a new black bear hoodie – and that’s all that matters.
I coordinated the hoodie with pattern number 21 from the same magazine, also in a 122. These pants are a fairly basic elastic-waist, drop-crotch, slim-legged pant. I left off all the bells and whistles because they would not be visible with the furry fabric.
Adding the Ears
Step One: Preparing the Pattern Pieces
To start I drew a free-hand “ear” shape to the approximate size that I wanted, plus a seam allowance (whatever amount you are comfortable with). I traced around the ears on a hoodie that my younger daughter had. I am making a bear, so I wanted fairly small, round ears, but you can draw any sort of ears that you like – bunny, cat, basset hound…be as creative as you like!
Next, I drew a curved line from the front of the hood (where the face opening is) to the top of the centre-back seam. I really just eyeballed this, there is no science behind it, but the line will cross just in front of the top of the head i.e. where I want the ears to stick up from, in this case, I want the ears to be on top of the head, I would use the same placement for a bunny or cat, but a horse might have them further back.
Cut along this line to make the hood pattern into two separate pieces. Now, because this is an Ottobre pattern, the seam allowances are not included in the pattern pieces, I don’t draw the seam allowance onto my pattern pieces (although many people do – its a matter of personal preference), so both of these new pattern pieces are fine for me. If you like to have the seam allowance included in your pattern piece, then you would need to add it along each side of where you have just cut.
Its a good idea to clearly mark the smaller of the hood pieces, it can be tricky to work out which direction it goes in otherwise!
Step Two: Cutting the Fabric
Cut out the following:
* Cut two mirrored pairs of ears – 4 pieces in total
* Cut one mirrored pair of the hood – 2 pieces in total
* Cut one of the front/top piece with the top of the hood (where you marked it) on the fold – 1 piece in total
It is easy to see this in the picture below, because you can see where I have cut out seam allowance around all the cut edges – but obviously, not on the fold.
Step Three: Stitching
The next step is to pin and stitch the ears together in pairs, and join the centre-back seam of the hood.
Trim the seam allowances if you need to and turn the ears to the right-side out.
Step Four: Joining
Open the hood out flat with the right side facing and the raw edge – the one that you added – at the top. Pin the ears either side of the centre-back seam making sure that the raw edges of the ears are aligned with the raw edge of the hood, until you are happy with their placement. This hoodie is going to be a ‘bear’ so I have the ears sitting quite high on the head.
Baste the ears in place. Take the front/top part of the hood and pin it, right sides together, to the main part of the hood, sandwiching the ears in between. This can be a bit tricky because you will be pinning a curve to a (nearly) straight line – but it will fit, trust me.
Stitch along where you have pinned.
Turn the hood right side out and check that you have caught all the raw edges of your ears neatly.
If you want to you can embellish the centre-front panel with eyes and a nose – its a blank canvas! I did not for this one, although if I were to make it again I might like to use some of these machine embroidery designs from Urban Threads – they would work really well for this project.
So, now the hood has ears! Continue making up the hoodie as per the instructions for your particular pattern. Make sure that you don’t catch your ears into any of your stitching, especially if your ears are long enough to reach past the face of the hood.
Jonathan wanted to be a black bear – he was very specific about that. Fortunately I found this fabric at Spotlight and it was perfect. Spotlight calls it ‘nursery fleece’, and yes it would make the most delightfully soft baby blankets – but it would need to be very well pre-washed and certainly have all the raw edges bound expertly. This fabric shed fibres absolutely everywhere whilst simultaneously picking up every other thread in the sewing room like it was some sort of magical thread magnet! I made sure to overlock all my seams and raw edges, but even thought I pre-washed and tumble-dried, it still attracts all the other fluff within its reach.
I managed to capture these photos on the day that Jonathan wore the outfit for his book week class presentation. He wasn’t really into having pictures taken that morning, but he does love the outfit, so I consider it a huge success.
Thanks for reading!