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Sew your Own FREE Dragon Hoodie

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:

  • Some French Terry or similar sweatshirting with body and some stretch (I got mine from OTY Fabric NZ)

  • 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

  • Thread

  • Scissors

  • Pins and/or wonder clips

  • Pattern weights

  • 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:

Draw a centre fold line on your sleeve pattern piece

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.

Draw a rectangle the length you measured by 6cm wide

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.

Do your best to freehand draw scales into each square you drew

Cut your sleeve pattern pieces adding a seam allowance to the centre fold

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.

Add markers along your centre sleeve seam on the right side

Place chalk or iron away markers on your right side Back pattern piece as per your modified pattern in the first step.

Cut your scales strip pattern adding seam allowances

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.

Cut out all your pattern pieces in fabric

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.

Sew up each scale strip together

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 and clip scale strip and turn right side out. Press.

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.

If you feel seam allowance is too wide on the scale strips trim away like I did.

Attach scale strip to sleeve between the markers

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.

Baste scale strip to each Back sleeve piece

Using a long straight stitch on your sewing machine, baste the scales strip to the centre seam of the Back sleeve pieces.

Sew the front sleeve piece to the back piece sandwiching the scale strip between

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.

Your Finished sleeve should look like this

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.

You can add the HTV (Iron On Vinyl) to the front before sewing.

Enjoy your finished handiwork !

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

Happy Sewing!



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