Penny Pinafore Hoodie Hack


Don't you love it when you think, "I'd really like to have X garment," and then realize you can easily hack X garment from an existing pattern. I had this happen this month while laying in bed thinking that I'd like a princess line/hooded/zip front sweat shirt.  What? Don't pretend you don't get that specific with your garment plans. These things are way more important than sleep anyway. ;) Maybe not as important as dreaming about Hugh Jackman, but the man is busy and can't show up every night.

Anywho, it struck me that the Kitschy Coo Penny Pinafore had all the bones I needed to hack it into a rip front hoodie.  Bonus, I knew the pattern would fit me well since I'd made it up already. Double bonus round - the stash held navy fleece, bought from, and navy ribbing, bought from Kitschy Coo. All this project needed was the purchase of a 24" zipper and a little elbow grease.

With just a little tweak to the neck line......
and a little tweak to the hem.....
then inserting a zipper while praying to the sewing goddess for this to work......
and Voila! Zip front hoodie with princess line seams.
To spice up the plain navy fleece I did some faux flat lock in a contrasting color. The princess line seams were serged with wrong sides together.  I pressed them and then used my edge stitch foot on the sewing machine to stitch the overlocked seam down.  Since sweat shirt fleece is a stable knit, there was no trouble feeding it through the sewing machine.  I did get a little waviness to the seam after top-stitching it.  Thankfully some vigorous steaming on a ham took care of that.
This finish was done to the princess line seams, front and back, as well as the center seam of the hood.  All other seams where serged normally with matching navy thread.
Here's the hoodie in action, urrgh work those 3lb weights. More reps, MOAR reps!  God, Froggie is a hard personal trainer.
So are you convinced that you need one of these hoodies yet?  If so you're in luck cause I've done a tutorial with all the tweaks.  You will be changing the neckline depth, adding seam allowance for a zipper and drafting a hood.  I promise that drafting a hood isn't too hard, I'm pretty sure that Froggie can do it.
Pattern Hacking Instructions
Size up at least 1 size from the one recommended for your measurements.  This will give you a little extra ease for layering. For reference I'm using size 5, the green size. To determine how long I wanted the sweat shirt I used the oh so scientific method of holding the pattern in front of my body.  My version is 24" from the highest part of the shoulder to the hem band seam.  The hem band is 2 1/4" inches for a combined length of 26 1/4".  This made the CF 24" which meant I didn't have to shorten a standard 24" long plastic zipper.

1.  Trace the center front, center back, side front and side back pieces to the length you desire. I stopped about 5 1/2" before the tunic line.  You probably want to remove some of the hip flare on the side seam since you are not making a dress.  Just flatten the curved line to a straight one for now. The sleeve and cuff can be traced without changes.  Make sure to leave plenty of paper in the neckline area so that neckline changes can be drafted on.
2. We will need to fill in the neckline on both the front and the back to make it a crew neck style. All measurements here are a suggestion.  You can also use an existing crew neck pattern as a guide line if you have one that you like.

3. Starting with the Center front. I've extended the CF line upwards 4 1/4" and extended the shoulder seam in towards the neck 1".
4. Use a french curve to draw in a new neckline.
Finished neckline will look something like this.
5. On to filling the Center Back neck. I've extended the CB line upwards 1 1/2" and extended the shoulder seam in towards the neck 1".
6. Use a french curve to draw in a new neckline.
Finished neckline will look something like this. I tweaked the shape of mine which is why you see two lines.
7. Next change is to add seam allowance to the CF for the zipper.  I added a full 5/8".

8. Your CF and CB pieces are now done and can be cut out.  Draw in the seam allowance on the neck and shoulders for when you draft the hood.
9. Optional Hem band. Draft a rectangle  4 1/2" wide by the combined hem sweep of all the body pieces minus 1".  If you are using self fabric this should be fine.  If using ribbing you'll need to shorten both the hem band and the cuffs.  The general rule of thumb is that ribbing should be 1/3" shorter than the edge it is being attached to.  If your ribbing has lycra added it, it will have more stretch recovery and the bands will need less length removed.  My ribbing was very firm with good recovery, so I only removed 1" of width on the cuffs and about 2" from the hem band.

The quick and dirty method of getting hood measurements.
- For hood height place a ruler on your shoulder and place the other hand flat on the top of your head. Grab the ruler with your fingers to measure the hood height.
- For hood depth stand against a wall and place the ruler up on the side of your head so that the end touches the wall. Place your other hand on the ruler around where your forehead is to measure hood depth.
To draft a knit hood. (Knit hoods have no darts, woven hoods do.)
1. Take the CF and CB pieces and place them in this configuration with seam allowances overlapping.
Close up of seam allowances - you want the seam lines touching. You can secure them with a bit of scotch tape while you are tracing.
2. Lay a large square of trace paper over the CF/CB.  Trace the CF shoulder seam line and extend it out to the CB shoulder seam line. This will be your shoulder seam notch.  Then trace the neck seam line on both the front and back pieces.
3. Trace the CB line and extend the CF line up on the other side. Now you can remove the pattern pieces from underneath.
4. Measure out the hood height on the CB line and mark. Mine was about 13" up from the base of the neck.
5. Square across on the hood height mark to the CF vertical line so that you now have a rectangular box.  This rectangle is the rough dimensions of your hood. On the CF line add seam allowance for finishing the hood edge.  I added 1 1/2" here but it can be any seam allowance you wish.
6. Measure the hood rectangle width to see that it is close to the hood depth measurement taken on your head. It's good if the width is more than that measurement, you just don't want it to be less. If the hood rectangle looks too shallow you can add a little more to the back edge. I decided to add 2" cause I wanted just a little bit more depth.  I marked a guide line 2" out from the CB line towards the top.
7. Use a combination of the straight ruler and french curve to draw the back of the hood.  If you don't want more depth to the hood use the CB as the back of your hood and only curve the edge at the top of your hood rectangle.  If you added more depth, curve out a line from the neck base to the guide line then curve the top edge like I've done here.
8. You can always go back and futz with the hood curve if you don't like the shape of it.  I flattened out the back a little more.  When you are happy with the shape add seam allowance to the neck and outer hood edge.  Now your hood is finished and will fit into your neckline.
Cut out all your new pieces and mock up a muslin to check that you like the shape of the hood in the back and the length. You might also want to take in the side seams a bit of they flare too much. To assemble the hoodie follow this order of steps...

Sewing Steps
1. Sew princess seams on front and back pieces.
2. Sew shoulder seams together.
3. Set in sleeves flat.
4. Sew up sleeve and side seams.
5. Sew together cuffs and attach to sleeve.
6. Sew on hem band/hem bottom.
7. Install zipper.  I recommend fusing some interfacing into the SA before sewing in the zipper to cut down on the waviness.
8. Sew back hood seam.
9. Hem hood edge.
10. Attach hood to neckline.
11. Top stitch along edge of zipper to keep it from flipping out and you're finished.

If you like the look of your muslin, then break out the real sweat shirt fleece and go to town. When you're done you can dance around cause you're warm and not currently working out. Wheeeee!
Happy Hacking peeps but be careful, it's addicting. :)


  1. Look at you, Sporty Spice! What a fun pattern hack! I love the way your flatlocking looks- what an awesome detail!

  2. You look terrific in this! Great pattern hack. And thank you for taking all the time and effort to explain and show the mods...

  3. I love this hack!
    My dreams are pretty detailed too, unfortunately when I wake up to create the details are gone.
    I will be imitating your faux flatlock stitching. I've been attempting true flatlock, but I think my machine can't do them despite what the manual says. Or, is it me?

  4. Hi Heather,

    Love the finished hoodie, and thanks for the great tutorial. I'll definately have to try it out. You are looking great too, skinnie minnie!

  5. Dang! You are pro! It looks awesome. I'll be bookmarking this one to read through again.

  6. Sweet! Love the pretty pop of color! :-)

  7. This is on my to-do list now!

  8. fancy you with the faux flatlock! i never would have guessed it wasn't the real deal. i'll have to steal that idea... and i LOVE this hoodie version. thanks for letting us in on your pattern hacking secrets!

  9. Fun fun, you write up some great tutorials! Love the flat locking!

  10. You are a goddess! Does Froggie know that? ;-)

  11. You are such a cleaver bee! I love what you've done to get the contrast seam - brilliant! I must have one!

  12. Very nice and you look like you've lost a lot of weight! Guess Frog is one kick butt personal trainer.

  13. You are the tutorial queen these days, Heather (thanks!). I still think a workout video might have been called for :)

  14. LOL, I'm finally a spice girl! I have been laughing at myself about how much sports wear that I suddenly want to make.

  15. You have coined the term fauxlock and I love it. It will forever be referred as that in this house.

  16. Thanks K-line, I really like this hack and thought other's should do it too. :)

  17. Thanks Annette, I've also had no luck with true flatlock on my machine. It just looks like a dogs breakfast, but it could be user error on my part. Not the best at reading manual instructions.

  18. Thank you Maeve, I'm pleased with my weight loss so far. I hope you do try out the tutorial, you know in all your "spare" time. ;)

  19. Thanks Margo, I got to give Amanda at Kitschy Coo props for giving me a good base to start with.

  20. Frog helps on both fronts, he tells you to do more reps while stealing all your cookies. I think he's found his true calling in life.

  21. Why thank you, I waaaaas gonna do hot pink. Maybe another time.

  22. Excellent, I hope your pattern hacking goes well.

  23. Soooo fancy. LOL. Glad you like it Lisa and I can't wait to see you make one.

  24. Thanks Em, I'm glad the tutorial looks good to you. We all need hoodies until spring comes.

  25. Haa haa! Froggie does think I'm pretty good on the baking side. I think he's independently wealthy so he must like me well enough to hang out here,

  26. Thanks Sandra, I think you would look smashing in one of these. I hope you put it on your sewing list. :)

  27. Woooo Hooo Wendy has crowned me pattern hacking Queen. I shall wear this sash with honor. Froggie says he's probably the "face" of the operation but that doesn't mean he doesn't have brains too. ;)

  28. Thanks Andrea. Maybe my workout video can feature me lifting large boxes of fabric. Another purpose for the stash!

  29. This is suuper flattering! Even I might work out if I had a sweatshirt like this!

  30. Thanks Morgan. You could always make your own too. I've seen your pattern drafting skills. ( I've already got crud all over the hoodie cause I won't take it off.)

  31. Yes, now that you are Queen, you should probably get some Crown Jewels as well!

  32. This is quite fabulous. Thanks for sharing the tutorial!

  33. No problem Laura. It was too simple not to share. :)

  34. Great pattern hack, great post, great tutorial! I'm so going to copy your hoodie!!! Thx so much!

  35. Thank you Abigail, I hope you love your hoodie as much as I do.


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