Sunday, 6 January 2013

Tutorial: Turning the Hoodie into a Wolf Suit

Yes yes. Calling it a tutorial might be a little bit rich, but we'll take a bit of a liberty.

So here's the lovely Melchie modelling the prototype wolf suit: 

Rawr, innit?
For ease of finishing, the suit is made from felt. This means you don't need to worry about hemming edges and other fiddly stuff.

To make your own wolf suit, you will need: 
  • The MakieLab hoodie pattern and instructions, which you can get here. You will be using the FRONT, SLEEVE and HOOD pieces only. We will not be attaching the hood casing. I only use one of each piece and cut out with my fabric doubled. 
  • Some A4 paper
  • Pens and a ruler
  • Fabric marking pencil
  • Felt fabric measuring about 40 x 30 cm
  • Felt scraps to make ears and a tail. You don't have to do a wolf! 
  • Snaps or velcro to close
  • Thread and needles. Although I used a sewing machine, you could do this entirely by hand
  • Scissors
Are we ready? Let's go!

Print off and cut out your hoodie pattern, making sure you've got the right scale.

Take the FRONT hoodie piece, cut it in half along the centre front line.  Reconstruct the pieces on your piece of A4 paper, but with a 1cm gap between them: 

I find a bit of double-sided sticky helps to keep these in place whilst you draw the rest of the pattern.

Using your pens and a ruler, you now need to draw around your pattern pieces to make one piece that looks like the shape in this picture: 

The TAIL goes on the back piece, the OPENING goes on the front piece.
To find the mid point, measure along the original bottom edge, then use this to work out where the rest of the lines go. 
You'll note I'm only using the front piece of the hoodie pattern. The original is slightly asymmetrical, in that the back is narrower and the sleeve edge a little differently shaped, but I find you need the width in a non-stretchy fabric and the sleeves fit just fine.
Cut out your trouser legs. The gap in mine measures 1cm in width at the ankles.

Next, take your hood piece. Draw a line where you'll be attaching your ears. I did mine 6cm back from the upper point of the hood.

I get sharpie EVERYWHERE when I use it. 
Then take your sleeve piece...
Nice to know, isn't it? 
Once you've got your pattern pieces, read all these instructions three times before proceeding. I used 0.5cm seam allowances throughout my construction, and the fit is pretty good.
  • Cut two of every piece from your fabric. Remember that if you're cutting on a single layer, you'll have to flip your hood pieces so you get two opposite-shaped pieces (alternatively use both of the hood pieces from the original MakieLab pattern). 
  • Mark your front opening, tail slit and ear slits on the fabric pieces using a chalk pencil.
  • Snip the inverted 'Y' shape on the front piece. Fold the raw edges to the inside and topstich along the opening in a 'U' shape. This gives you an easy way to get the Makie in and out of the suit.  
  • Snip along the tail slit opening on the back piece. Make your tail, insert it into the opening on the right side. 
  • Fold the back piece in half, right sides together, sandwiching the tail, and sew the opening closed 0.5cm away from the edge. 

Insert the tail from the right side, then fold the whole piece in half along the line of the slit.
Sew to close the gap and fix the tail
  • Snip the ear slits and insert the ears in the same way as the tail. If your ears have contrasting 'inner' bits, make sure they're facing the right way before you sew!

Make sure your contrasting inner ear bits are facing forwards, towards the hood opening.
Fold the hood piece in half along the line of the slit, like you did for the back piece. 
Sew across the base of the ear to close the opening.
Repeat in exactly the same way on the other hood piece :) 

Once the ears are inserted...
  • Follow the MakieLab instructions for sewing the sleeves to your front and back pieces.
  • When you get to sewing the underarm seam, simply continue along the side seam down to the bottom of the trousers. 
  • Sew the inner leg seam and turn the suit the right way out. 
  • Sew the hood pieces together as per MakieLab instructions. DO NOT SEW THE BOTTOM EDGE OF THE HOOD INTO A RING, leave it open. 
  • Pin the hood to the suit with right sides together, leaving an equal gap at each edge. I find this is easier if you find the midpoint of the back piece and pin this to the hood seam, then attach everything equally
Blue arrow shows the midpoint of the back piece.
Match this up with the hood seam to place your hood in the middle.
This is the point where you try on to your Makie. Trim the sleeves and trousers to a good length (this is part of the beauty of using felt to make this costume; you don't have to worry about hems and cuffs!), and trim the hood edge away from the face if you need to. 

Once you're happy with the fit...
  • Attach your snaps or velcro to the front openings. 
  • Pose.
  • Prowl. 

If you want, you could extend the sleeves over the hands and attach claws.
Eyes and a nose on the hood could look cute.
Why not attach a row of teeth around the hood opening! 
Taadaa! We're done. Have a cup of tea! Oh, and take photos and share them!

If there are any bits you're not sure on, chuck a question in the comments and I'll do my best to help.  

1 comment:

  1. I'd love to try this but I'm having difficulty finding a link to the actual hoodie pattern to alter... do you have a link to where I can find it??