When the call-out hit my inbox for a pattern hack theme on the Curvy Sewing Collective, I instantly knew I’d want to mess about with hoodies. Hardly a week goes by I don’t sew up a hoodie of some sort; this last two weeks; I put together three. One a satin-lined no-wale corduroy jacket; the other two a pair of sportswear bamboo french terry beauties. For each, I used the same fabric line – Nature’s Fabrics’ bamboo stretch french terry. I use it for almost all my hoodies because the colors are gorgeous, and the fabrics feel wonderful and wear beautifully.
Knowing I wanted to write about hoodies, the question was therefore – what to write? I’ve made more hoodie types than most people you know. I’ve made sheer hoodies, velour hoodies, colorblocked hoodies, and hand-stenciled hoodies. I’ve made unicorn and pegasus and tiger-striped alicorn hoodies. I’ve made squid, yeti, axolotl and platypus hoodies. I’ve made angler fish hoodies with a real glowing lure. I’ve made finned hoodies, eared hoodies, double hoodies (“It’s gonna get weird… TWO hoods“). And a billion baby hoodies and basic hoodies, at that.
I guess what I’m saying is, I like to make these suckers!
But in thinking about this post, one thing I thought might be helpful is a brief demo on how to create a hood given a t-shirt pattern. Then, I thought – for fun – I’d throw in my method for creating a long knotted hood, as well as my method for inserting simple ears in a hood.
So let’s do our basic draft-a-hood bit first!
Keep in mind there are a limitless number of hood shapes you can create, and there are also many different ways to draft. This is my quick-and-dirty draft, and I’ve always been happy with the results. We will have a larger-volume hood as a result, without significant center front overlap.
So below, I have a tried-and-true block for a fitted long sleeved shirt, with a 1/2″ seam allowance. To save paper, I have my front and back pieces combined. Note, this is a rather deep neck tee. You can always bring the deep neck up into a crew neckline, if you like. But the whole point of my tutorial is to show you how to draft the hood to the neckline you have. The goal is we have enough volume in your hood it will look good, and won’t pull.
Below, I have marked the stitching lines on both the front and back, in red and green resp. I have also measured the exact distances of the stitching lines – at 4 1/2″ for the back, and 10 1/8″ for the front. Note I have stopped short 1/2” because that is the stitch line at the shoulder.
So if you think about it, 2(10 1/8″) + 2(4 1/2″) will equal the exact distance of the hood stitching line. That isn’t enough information, however, to draft a hood. We also need the vertical drop from the inner shoulder point, to the center front stitching line. I’ve placed a pen along this line, to show you the distance I mean (7 3/4″ here); I’m going to call this my center depth.
There is one more measurement you need to take – on your body. Holding a flexible tape measure from the neck – just below your ear, at top of the shoulder – to the center of your head. I will call this the head/neck height. In my case, I measured 12 1/2″.
So we have our:
Front stitching distance (10 1/8″)
Back stitching line (4 1/2″)
Center depth (7 3/4″)
Head/neck height (12 1/2″)
You may want to print the below diagram out. The process isn’t as tricky as it looks, but when describing it, it can sound complicated!
So first, I make a cross in the middle of my paper. The center of this intersection, is point 0. Point 0 will represent the shoulder notch – right where the hood crosses the shoulder seam. Now, it’s time to add point 1. This point will be placed the back stitching line distance (4 1/2″) from point 0.
Next, draw a line parallel to 0-1, the center drop distance away from this line (7 3/4″ in my example). The intersection of this line to the vertical line, is point 2. You now have three lines and three points on your paper (upper right diagram).
We will now take our front stitching line distance – 10 1/8″ in my example – and measure out from point zero, angling to the left to intersect with the lower line. This intersection is point 3 (middle left on the diagram).
Now, we measure UP line 0-2, from point 0 to our head/neck height, plus at least 1″. The more distance you measure up here, the more volume to your hood so the more the hood will rest on your shoulders even after you put it up. I added 2″, which means my point 4 is 14 1/2″ from my point 0 (diagram not to scale, obv).
Now, we get to draw our hood (the bottom set of drawings below)! I’m going to write about how to do that, below the diagram.
So, the hood stitchine lines have to intersect at points 0, 1, 3, and 4. The red line at lower left, represents the shape I drafted in. You can keep the front edge of the hood straight if you like – I add a subtle concave curve. If you notice, too, I like to bring down the back center seam of the hood a bit – it makes for more of a cowl effect. You can drop this point an inch or so; just measure from point 0 to the bottom center back of the hood, to make sure this distance is equal to the back stitching line (4 1/2″). Correct as needed using a french curve or a flexible tape measure.
The hood can dip back (to the right) as far as you like, or essentially extend straight up from point 1; your call. Again, I like to add a generous curve as I have a large head and also like a voluminous hood.
Finally – add seam allowances (lower right) – and you’re good! Reminder: the leading edge of the hood needs enough allowance for a hem (or lining).
A few more considerations: before you cut: eyelets. If you want an eyelet for a drawstring, just consider you want it centered in the folded-back front edge allowance, and mark accordingly.
After stitching the (lined or unlined) hood together, and finishing that front edge, pin – marking your shoulder notch (point 0).
These necks two hacks are “for fun and for free”, as we say. Just goofin’. New boot goofin’. And easier than the above demo, I might add.
First, I’m going to demonstrate a knotted hood. Every time I make a knotted hood, my oldest child calls it a “sneaky hoodie”. So, I like that. Here’s a sneaky hoodie. Shown below: the awesome Tami Revolution Double Hoodie from New Horizons Designs (used here with permission).
Here is the basic premise, from our hood (the pattern includes seam allowances, below). We are adding a long “tail”. You will want the straightaway of the tail to be no shorter than 12″ (these hood hacks eat up yardage – but I’ll talk about that in a moment!). The thinner your tail, the more distinct the knot will be. A thicker tail, results in a kind of gathered look. Which is cool, too.
As you can see below, I like a curved seam here. I finish it as gorgeously as I can, because I prefer to leave large hoods unlined if possible.
Stitch the hood halves together, turn and gently press the tail, and continue as per the pattern.
I should add, too – I untie my knot when I launder, and only re-tie it when the garment is fully dry. I think that keeps the knot looking “fresh”!
And now – it’s time for my final entry – adding ears to a hood.
Please keep in mind that if you have very long or large ears, they will not stand up when the hood is employed unless you use wire or some other structure – I’ve written a tutorial or two on that. But here, I am using just a couple little cat ears.
In general, I place the ears about 3″ away from the finished edge of the hood (dashed line at upper left, below). As for the distance down from the hood center seam, that too depends on what kind of look you’re going for. I am doing cat ears here, so I wanted the ears up a little higher! I chose a 5″ span from the inner junction of one ear, to the other.
Shown here, the Two-Pocket Jacket with Draped Hood, from Bootstrap. Note the front of the hood is on the straight of grain. But even if the hood front is curved, you will be marking and cutting right along the vertical grainline. You could of course do a curved line here but it’s easier to draft and cut and stitch a straight one, so that’s what I’m demonstrating.
Then go ahead and make up your ears! Below you see the ear my child drew for me (the bottom curved ear, is exactly that 2″ that is marked on the master pattern above); then my traced version with seam allowance added:
Add seam allowances, to the slashed line your created from the hood:
It is super-satisfying to sew up little ears (I usually interface mine before cutting, as you can see). Stitch, clip and grade, turn and press. Then affix them to the hood and baste, before joining the two hood slashed pieces together.
(Egregious topstitching photo, because I can!)
So there you have it! Check out my smiling hoodie ladies!
And note how gorgeously the drafted hood sits in the deep neckline (and how lovely my friend Andrea is!):
So – happy hoodie sewing! For those of us in the northern hemisphere, the time is right!
And what about you? Do you like hoodies? Do you like a full hood, or a smaller one? Do you wear them up – or (like me) enjoy the feeling of them resting on your shoulders? Dish!