making of the dragon hoodie

I thought I’d put together a process of how I made my hoodie, in case people want ideas on how to make their own.  I’d suggest reading it once through before trying anything on your own, and please ask questions and point out where I’m not clear.  🙂

Step one was to obtain a hoodie to make a pattern off of.  My mom took me to a thrift store where I found mine, so that only cost about $4.

Next, I lay my new hoodie out on some packing paper and drew out what I wanted the finished silhouette of the spines to be.  Then I took tracing paper and made individual patterns for all the spines.  After that I drew out the pattern for the wings.  Something important to remember at this point is that you need  to add to the edges of your pattern to allow for a seam.  If you don’t do this, your pieces will come out too small.

I thought I had pictures of the previous steps, but I guess I forgot or lost the images somewhere, but I have pics for the rest.


Cutting out all the pieces. Since my spines are 3D, I need four of each piece in fabric and two in interfacing to give the fabric some stability. Waltz likes to help… as in run off with my pin cushion any chance he gets. Right now he’s just investigating my awesome scissors.

Remember to stay organized!

Then we start stitching things together. Attach the interfacing to the outside sets of spine fabric, then sew the pieces outside-sides together along the curve of the spine with a 1/4″ seam. Set aside and sew the inside pieces outside-side together with a 1/2″ seam along the same curve. Do this for all the spines. Also attach interfacing to one side for each of the wings.

They're starting to come together!

After we have the spine curve stitched on all the pieces, we start putting them together. Put the inside and outside parts together with the outsides facing in. Sew a 1/2″ seam all the way around, leaving a space on one of the short flat sides open so you can turn the spine right-side-out. Then after they’re sewn, turn the pieces.

Looking good!

Don’t forget to finish making the wings. Get an interfaced and non-interfaced piece and put them outside sides together and sew a 1/2″ seam around all the sides except for where you need to leave a hole to turn the wings right-side out. Turn the wings, and stuff to desired level of stuffed-ness. Leave the part you will attach to the hoodie unstuffed.

Waltz has to stay involved.

Once all the spines are made and turned, we can pin them on. I started with the top and bottom and worked my way to the middle to make sure the spacing stayed right. Then I stitched the spines on one by one from the bottom since they needed to overlap from the top.  I drew in a triangle on the bottoms of the spines in the original pattern so I had a good foundation to stitch onto the hoodie.  I should have stopped to take more pictures of the in-between, but I got in the zone and forgot.

Some important things to remember:

1. Tuck in the edges of the holes you left when you needed to turn things the right-way-out.  Make that edge look nice like all the other edges and that it will catch in the edge seam you will put on the spines while attaching them to the hoodie.  That way your spines end up completely closed and beautiful.  Do the same with your wings, unless you left your hole somewhere else and it needs to be hand-stitched shut with a slip stitch.

2. When you get to where the spines overlap, like on the hood, you might want to switch to a jean fabric needle.  Those are heavy and can handle almost anything.  I broke a few needles before switching, and I wish I’d switched sooner.  The heavy needle worked like a dream where I’d been fighting before.

Once you have the spines attached, lay the hoodie on the ground and figure out where you want the wings to lay.  Attach the wings the same way you did the spines, but the work’s not over yet.  The wings are heavy and will hang down all sad, dragging your hoodie off your head if you stop there.  The last step is to find a good spot to hand stitch the wings to a point higher on the shoulders.  Get a small piece of interfacing, put it on the inside of the hoodie to help strengthen the fabric, then stitch a good inch or so square of the hoodie to the body of the wing.  Now the wings will stay up and pretty and you have a fantastic looking hoodie.

Hopefully the end result looks something like this:


Good luck and happy stitching!

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