I've been wanting to make this one for awhile now. The temperatures here in ND are chilly, and I mean chilly. We hit 10 degrees today and practically broke out the shorts and flip flops! I thought this poncho would add some extra warmth without adding a lot of bulk, which is an important consideration for tots in car seats. With the poncho, you can lift up the back of the poncho so the kid's back is against the car seat, and lift up the front to do the buckles. When you put the front back down, there is no part of the poncho under the seatbelt straps!
I give the directions for a toddler-sized poncho, but you could modify it to make a bigger or smaller one. I think this one could work for a range of ages, maybe 1-5 or so. Seams are 1/4 in.
1 1/2 yds. fleece (to make the hood and poncho the same color)
1 1/4 yds. fleece for poncho and 1/3 yd. fleece for hood
sewing machine or serger, pins, scissors, etc.
Let's begin! Lay your fleece out on a flat surface. Shoo all small children and cats off the fleece. You need a perfect square, so fold down one corner so one side matches up to the bottom side to make a triangle. Cut off the extra fleece so you have your square.
Fold the square in half diagonally, then in half again so you have a 4 layered triangle. The "point" of the triangle will always be the point (because it is the center of the fabric). Continue to fold in half in this manner until you have a very long skinny triangle:
Next, you'll make a cruved line along the bottom of the triangle. By cutting off the corners this way, when you open the fabric you will have a circle. You might have to undo a fold to cut through a few layers of fabric at a time:
There's the cut triangle. The point is on the left, and the cut side on the right.
A basic circle. If you will not be serging your edge (there's no need, since fleece doesn't unravel), trim the edge to make it more perfect.
I had Sprite try on this bowl to get a good idea of how big I need to make the center hole. Fleece stretches, you don't need as big a hole as you might think. The bowl is 7 in. in diameter, but I reccomend using soemthing 6 in. in diameter. My hole was a little bigger than I would have liked.
Trace your 6 in. bowl in the center:
Cut out the hole:
Fold your hood fabric in half so you will be cutting through 2 layers of fabric.
Make your hood pattern. The bottom should be about 11 inches across, and the height about 13 in. (I made my hood big, so a hat could fit underneath and the hood would still be loose. If you want a more snug fitting hood, don't make it as tall). This is not an exact science, so freehand something that has the above measurements and looks like this:
You could also choose to not round the top back corner for a pointy, elvish kind of look :-)
Time to sew! With right sides together, sew the hood pieces together from the forehead to the back of the neck.
Now we'll finish the edge that goes around the face. Fold the edge to the inside 1/4 inch, and sew along the fold as shown:
Pin the hood to the poncho, right sides together, starting in the back and working around to the front (I apologize for not getting a picture of the fabric pinned). Depending on how much your fabric stretches, the frond ends of the hood may or may not touch in the center. If they do touch, allow them to overlap. If not, I will explain what to do in a minute.
Sew the hood to the poncho.
Next, topstitch around the hood, sewing the seam down towards the poncho. If edges of your hood did not meet in the front center (as mine did not) fold the edge of the poncho in and continue your topstich right over it.
Because my center hole was a little too big, you can see how there is a big space in front between the sides of the hood:
If you like, serge around the bottom (I did, but only because I love my serger and I like how it looks. It's not necessary).
Voila! A nice, warm poncho!