I am excited to finally share this tutorial with you. Janna has been testing the finished result for about a month and we both love it.
You see, I decided to make Janna a fleece poncho when the weather was getting colder because I don’t put her jacket on her while she is in her carseat. So, every time we would get out somewhere I would have to put her little arms in a jacket, zip it up, and then take it off again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. several times a day while running errands and we were both getting tired of the process.
So, I decided, after 5 children, to make life simpler and figure out how to make her a hooded poncho that was easy to get on and off. Here’s the finished product.
Now, I know Janna is cute, but look at the poncho, too. 😉
Here’s what you will need to make a poncho for a toddler or preschooler. I haven’t tested this with larger sizes, but I just bought some fleece this morning to make one for Julia so I will let you know how that turns out.
- 1 yard of Fleece
- Sewing Machine
- Rotary Cutter & Mat (optional)
- Fold Over Elastic (optional)
1. Fold the fleece into fourths and cut it to a size of 36 inches by 36 inches for preschoolers or 36 inches by 32 inches for toddlers. (Note: I would advise cutting it a little on the big side and then cutting it smaller if necessary. You can always take away fleece, but you can’t add more.)
Update: Basically, you want the unfolded dimensions to be 36 inches by 36 inches. I fold it into fourths to more easily cut it. So, it would be 18 by 18 folded.
2. Curve the fleece at the corner like in the picture below, or leave it straight if you prefer. I personally like the rounded edge look.
3. Cut the neck opening. You will be cutting where the four layers of fabric meet, folded, at the corner (not the raw edges-that is what you cut in Step 2).
For preschoolers you will cut the opening at 3 inches, curving it as you go. This is where the cutting mat comes in handy because you can just cut from the 3 inch mark on the bottom to the 3 inch mark at the side.
For toddlers you will cut the opening at 2 1/2 inches.
The picture below really is a good guide for cutting the main part of the poncho.
4. Cut a piece of fleece for the hood that is 16 inches by 12 inches or 16 inches by 11 inches for a toddler.
5. Fold the fleece in half, right sides together, so that it is 8 inches by 12 inches for a preschooler or 8 inches by 11 for a toddler .
6. Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew the one 8 inch side together.
There are actually two 8 inch sides once you fold the material, but you only need to sew one.
Here is another picture to help you better see the folding and sewing process using a piece of paper.
7. Turn the hood fabric so that the seam line you just stitched in Step 5 is on the inside.
Here is a picture of what the hood will look like when you have sewn one 8 inch side together and then turned it right side out.
8. Pin the hood evenly to the poncho. Match the seam on the hood with the center back of the poncho. The short sides of the poncho should be going from left to right.
You want the long part of the poncho to be in the front and back to cover the most length. This is kind of a big deal because if you pin the hood on so that the longest part of the poncho is on the sides your child will never be able to find her arms and there might not be enough length.
9. Stich around the raw edge of the hood using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
You can call the poncho done at this point…
If your opening is too big that really isn’t a problem. Grab some fold over elastic and you will be able to fix the opening and make the poncho even cuter.
10. To add fold over elastic you will need to open up the elastic around the entire opening of the poncho. You will enclose the raw edges of the poncho and hood in the elastic.
I don’t pin it on, but simply tack it down at the back with a zig-zag stitch. Then, I set my machine to the three step zig-zag stick but a regular zig-zag stick or even a straight stitch will work.
As I sew, I gently pull on the elastic so that it is taught but not too tight. When I get back to the beginning I fold the raw edge in and cover the spot where I started.
I am sorry that I forgot to take pictures of this step, but you can check out this post for more details.
There, that’s better. Actually, I am kind of glad I cut the opening too big and added the fold over elastic because I think it really finishes off the poncho nicely.
To finish the poncho even more you could add more fold over elastic around the front of the hood. I would suggest not pulling it tight but treating it more like bias tape.
We are loving this poncho and Janna even likes to wear it around the house sometimes. Who wouldn’t love wearing a fleece blanket that doesn’t fall off?
If you have any questions please let me know. I will be sure to update this post when I make Julia’s poncho. I wasn’t sure she would want one, but she surprised me by asking me to make her a poncho, too. You never know with 13 year olds.