I hope you are all doing well and feeling rested over the festive holidays. I’m back today with the final post on my raincoat – So far I’ve drafted a lining and added 3D pockets – this time it’s all about the hood…
I’d planned to get this post out the week before Christmas, but I’m pleased to say (in direct contrast to last year…) I was too busy! – I feel relieved and just a little proud to have made it to the end of the working year without any dramatic incidents. I was going to hold-off from posting it over Christmas, but as I got time to relax I realised that there is a big drop off in blog posts over the holidays… so I figured I’d post it now in case anyone fancied a little escape from the festivities. Grab a mulled wine, put your feet up, here’s some sewing chatter…!
The original hood pattern has two pieces which curve together to cover the head from side to side. The benefit of this shape is that it sits really neatly on your back when you’re not wearing it. The downside, for me, was that I thought it looked like a mushroom on my head! Probably not helped by my two sturdy fabrics, it was also clear that it would need some adjustment to fit me better – I needed to lengthen the neck part and add more coverage and shape to the front part. As I wasn’t particularly enamoured by the shape of the original, rather than make the adjustments, I decided to draft a new hood from scratch.
I’ve made a few hoods before (… but not for quite a while…) and they have all been three-piece patterns. I had a good idea of the shape I needed and decided to give it a go. Now, if you’re trying this yourself do it in scrap fabric first, this isn’t a masterclass…! It’s just how I did it (… and it worked out well for me, hopefully it will for you too!)
First I measured accurately around the neckline (at the stitching line, not the cutting line). On the pattern there are notches at the front to line up the hood edges, I measured from these to the centre back (remembering to remove the seam allowance at the shoulders). If you don’t have these points, aim for approximately 3 – 5cm back from the centre front. I used the front and back pattern pieces to take this measurement. Mine measures at 21cm (that’s the half measurement) Later I’m going to draft a 10cm wide strip in the centre of this hood, so I can immediately take half that (5cm) off this measurement and call it 16cm or A.
Next I measure loosely from the centre back, over my head to my eyebrows. It helped to wear the shell of the jacket here to find the right start point. This measured 49cm and I’ll call it B.
I measured from the shoulder point of the neckline over the top of my head to the other side, I kept this loose too, adding ease as I went. This was 68cm. Later when I’m drafting I’ll need this measurement in half (34cm) and minus the 5cm measurement of half-the-centre-strip which, for me equals 29cm and I’ll call it C.
Lastly, I measured from the front points (from the hood attachment marks near centre front) in a loose arc around my face, with the peak of the arc at my eyebrows. This measured 66cm and like the last measurement it needs to be halved and then minus 5cm for the centre strip which makes 28cm or D.
Measurements recap …
Bear in mind that these measurements fit my coat and my head – you’ll need to take your own measurements for yours to fit properly.
- A – Half neckline minus 5cm = 16cm
- B – Back to front = 49cm
- C – Half shoulder to shoulder minus 5cm = 29cm
- D – Half opening minus 5cm = 28cm
This will be a three panel hood and, as I said, the centre panel will be 10cm wide, so the first piece I draft is a rectangle, 10cm wide by B. I also add a 3cm facing to the front. To mark the cutting line for the lining, I measure 3cm back from the front edge, later I need to remember to add a seam allowance to the outside of this marking.
- To draft the sides, I take measurement A, this is the width of the side piece so I draw a horizontal line near the bottom of my paper at this length.
- For the front opening I draw a line vertically up from one end of A using measurement D.
- About halfway along line A, I use measurement C to mark the crown of the hood.
- Next I take measurement B and create the shape over the top of the hood.
- Start at the top of line D – at the eyebrows – skim the top of line C, arc around and (maybe…) slightly in, to meet up with the end of line A at the back of the neck.
Hopefully the diagram below will help explain what I mean…!
If you’re freehand drawing isn’t great, you could use a flexible ruler to create the shape, or play around with the curves on your pattern ruler until you find your favourite combination. Once you’re happy with the shape you could add some seam allowance and make a toile out of scrap fabric and check it fits. I did, but I didn’t take a photo, sorry! Once you’re happy it fits, then you can draft the pattern pieces.
To draft the pattern pieces we’ll need to add facings and seam allowance. I want my main fabric to turn back to the inside of the hood by 3cm, so I mark a parallel line on the outside of line A at this distance. The lining will need to be shorter by this distance, so I mark another parallel line on the inside of line A at 3cm. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to do the same to the front of the centre strip.
Add seam allowance all the way around the larger (outer) pieces, and around the smaller (lining) pieces then trace them separately to finish your pattern pieces.
Cut out your pieces: Two sides and one centre from both outer fabric and lining. Unless you want to constantly change threads (like me!) sew the outer and lining up at the same time. Stitch the centre band to the sides at the top curve. For a neat finish, trim and topstitch the seams.
Next sew the front edges together. Turn it right side out and fold the facing back to fit the lining snugly into the hood. If you’re not adding a drawstring, edgestitch the front and it’s ready. If you’re adding a drawstring, you’ll need to put the eyelets in now – I’ve got a few in my stash, so I use them, but if you haven’t got eyelets, you could make buttonholes instead.
Once the eyelets are in, I topstitch a channel around the opening of the hood, 3cm from the edge. I’m planning on feeding a shoelace through here eventually, but the lucky-lace is yet to be selected… my eyelets lay fallow for now…!
So all I had left to do was sew the hood to the neckline….
Thankfully, luck was on my side and it’s turned out to be a great fitting hood! I’ve been really excited to wear this coat. What I wasn’t looking forward to as much was setting in the sleeves – this rubbery fabric takes no prisoners and there were a few puckers along the way, but I’m not going to get hung up on that.
In fact, the sleeves redeemed themselves with the addition of ‘storm-cuffs’ – I cut the jersey pieces wider at the hem, so as to not scrunch up the coat on the outside – and tucked them in between the outer and lining cuff edges. It’s not too tricky a hack, and adds a really nice touch (as well as keeping the cold out).
Well, it’s finally finished and I got to wear it on Christmas Day. MrA & I took Eloise for a walk around the local Christmas trees and here we are at Trafalgar Square – Eloise is transfixed by the countdown timer on my phone!
As you can see, quite a damp, grey day… but I was dressed for it!
The big pockets are perfect for dog treats, poo-bags, hand gel… everything you could need. My phone fits safely in the top pocket and the bonus inside pocket is roomy too. I fitted a two-way zip so I can come down from the top & up from the bottom. And there is an eyelet and small crampon fitted into one of the pockets to hold my keys safe. Needless to say, it holds the wind and rain out admirably too!
I haven’t done a ‘big-make’ for a while and, although it’s not perfect, I’m really pleased with how well this has turned out. With all the extra processes, it’s one of the most advanced things I’ve sewn, and the neatest bagged-out lining I have made… ever!
Now we have rain forecast for a week, and I couldn’t be happier!
I hope all your sewing plans are going well. I wish you all the very best for the new year.
Until next time,
Notes to self:
- Always make a muslin when winging-it!
- Remember to put the eyelets in before sewing the channel down.
- I say it to myself all the time, but: Try to plan ahead – you know you’ll need a warm raincoat in the winter, so make it in August!