Many years ago I made Dragon Hoodies for my small business and they were very successful. I wanted to share this awesome easy hack for any sweatshirt or hoodie pattern you have. It's very simple and you don't necessarily need a specific pattern or even a hood, you could adapt your favourite kids sweatshirt or Hoodie pattern for this just using the simple methods I show here.
In my example I'm using the FREE Brindle and Twig Hoodie pattern to show you how it's done. If you want to follow along you can easily download and print out the size you'd like. I've used a 122cm size (6-7 years). I have made mine using the gorgeous quality soft French Terry from OTY Fabric NZ. I totally recommend using that if you want to sew one of these FREE Dragon Hoodies.
What You'll Need:
Cotton Spandex Knit for the hood lining
Ribbing for the cuffs and hemband
A hoodie or sweatshirt pattern of your choice
Sewing Machine and Overlocker
Pins and/or wonder clips
Paper, pen and ruler
Recommended: flexible measuring tape if doing the hooded version
Optional: HTV or Iron On Dragon or Dinosaur (I get mine over at OTY Fabric NZ as well)
How to Make the Hoodies:
We will start with your sleeve pattern piece. If its a full pattern piece fold in half to create a centre seam. Draw a line down the centre and measure the length. In my example I took 6cm from the top of the shoulder and the same up from the bottom of the sleeves. I placed a marker at each point, and measured the length between the two marks. I measured 36cm on my size 122cm/7Y sleeve. If you have a half sleeve pattern piece you can just mark the same marks and measure along the Centre sleeve fold as I have said above.
Grab a scrap of paper and draw a rectangle 6cm wide by the length between the two markers you made in the first step. Using the length you measured in the first step (between the two markers) divide it by 6 (or more if your sleeve is quite long). My length was 36cm and I divided it by 6 to get 6 squares along my rectangle.
Freehand draw some 'scales' in each square. I originally drew them quite rounded but really wanted them triangular, so redrew them as you'll see later on in the tutorial.
Place your folded sleeve pattern onto a folded piece of the Sweatshirting. Cut 2 x Back sleeve pieces (with approximately 1.5cm seam allowance along that fold line) and 2 x Front Sleeve pieces (again with 1.5cm seam allowance along the fold) - see photos for details.
Place chalk or iron away markers on your right side Back pattern piece as per your modified pattern in the first step.
You will also need to cut 6 pieces of the scales pattern strip you made in the earlier steps. So 2 Front and Back pieces of the scales strip. Only cut 2 if you are making a sweatshirt without the hood.
Also cut out your 2 hood pieces (omit if not making a hoodie), Front and Back, hood lining pieces, cuffs and hemband, as per your pattern instructions for the chosen pattern.
Place the scale pieces right side to right side and pin together (see photo) using a straight stitch sew along the scales leaving a 1cm seam. You'll note I start down at the seam allowance on the scale strip as this will be attached to your sleeve pieces, you don't want any raw edges showing, so make sure you start fairly low on your scales pieces when sewing them together. Continue with all your scales strips until you have 3 strips sewn together.
Trim seam allowances along each tip, and snip to each inner triangle/join of the scales. Turn right side out and press. (these don't require topstitching but you can if you would like) - you'll notice I have also trimmed away some of the seam allowance on my scales strips as I felt they were too wide. Up to you if you want to do the same.
Grab the two Back sleeve pieces and pin or clip each scales strip to the centre seam, matching to the markers you did in the earlier step.
Using a long straight stitch on your sewing machine, baste the scales strip to the centre seam of the Back sleeve pieces.
Lay your Front Sleeve pieces over the Back Sleeve pieces sandwiching the basted scales strip between the two, Right Side to Right Side. Pin or Clip and overlock (or small zig-zag stitch) the centre sleeve seam. You now have a sleeve with the scales strip running down the centre. Repeat for the second sleeve.
For your hood (omit if not doing a hoodie) measure about 6cm along the centre seam from the front top edge and place a marker on the pattern and measure the length you measured in the first step with the sleeves (this was 36cm for my example). Place another marker at that measurement. Transfer those marks to your cut out outer hood pieces.
Clip the last scale strip between the two markers on one Hood piece.
Baste the scale strip using a long running straight stitch on your sewing machine.
Clip the hood pieces together sandwiching the scale strip between. Stitch together using an overlocker or small zig-zag on a standard sewing machine.
turn and press the outer hood. You have now made all the modified pieces of your Hoodie.
Continue to sew up the hoodie as per the pattern instructions treating each sleeve and hood as you would normally. Take care when sewing the hood lining to the outer hood that you don't catch the scale strip. There is enough clearance for this not to happen but just in case ;-).
When you have finished you can iron on the optional HTV (Iron on Vinyl) like I did or just leave it as it is and admire your handiwork. With luck your kid will instantly want to wear it and parade around roaring like a dragon LOL.
Don't feel you have to use the plain French Terry/Sweatshirting like I did, mix it up a bit, colour block it with whatever colours you have on hand, add a dragon or dinosaur print to the front or back. Do whatever you like! I would love to see what you make so don't forget to share it in our OTY Fabrics Share Group on Facebook or tag me on Instagram @picklefishproductsnz