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With the ‘winter’ LARP season now officially here, I thought it might be an idea to talk a little about making hoods to add an extra layer of warmth over the coming season. I’ve got a couple of ways I make hoods – one using a commercial pattern I have adapted to my needs over the years, and the other using a tutorial made from historical observations. There are so many tutorials out there about making hoods you are sure to find something that will peak your interest or suit your character!

Adapting a commercial pattern

For regular readers of the blog you will know that I use Simplicity 5840 a lot – for my robes, my over robes and as a basis for my hoods. I find that the hood and capelet combo on its own lends itself really well to making a simple hood and given it’s a pattern I’ve used a lot I can usually sort out a hood relatively quickly to suit my needs.

Sometimes I’ll make a lined hood, sometimes I’ll line the capelet too if I want some weight or additional warmth, but mostly I just follow the pattern.

Working with the pattern

From the Simplicity 5840 pattern, you’ll need pattern pieces #3 (Capelet – A), #4 (Hood – A,B) and #5 (Neck Binding – A,B) and follow the pattern instructions from step 10 to step 22 (if you’re including a closure for your hood), ignoring step 12 as you’ll be sewing the capelet to the hood rather than to the robe. I won’t be copying out the instructions word for word as these are commercial patterns that I have no rights to.

Sometimes I avoid cutting the neck binding and use bias binding instead; or sew the hood outer to the capelet, trim and press the seams up into the hood itself, before sewing down the folded edge of the lining around the neckline. It all depends on how much material I have / the look I want of the finished item / how much hand-sewing I want to do.


Tweaking the pattern


Because the capelet is no longer going to be sewn onto the robe, a form of closure needs to be added. In the past I’ve added lacing points like I might on the robe, but you could use a brooch or run a drawstring around the neckline to tie into a bow. I’ve also sewn the front together rather than folding the raw edge under, as per the instructions, after the fashion of the Skjoldehamn hood. When I did this I did leave about an inch of this front seam open to allow the wearer to pull the hood on. I’ve also made loops out of thread and crochet wool to thread cord through to make a lace up front, and riveted loops of leather at intervals to form a channel for a cord to be laced through.

In short – close it as you will. Go wild, get creative, make this hood your own!


I like to line my hoods as it can give an interesting visual contrast and can add some weight to help the hood stay up or fall nicely when worn down, especially if I’m using a lightweight material or stash busting. Linings can be added at the time of making the hood or added later and just involves cutting another layer of cloth using the hood pattern.

~ If adding at the time of making – I sew the lining and outer together along the front opening of the hood and turn the whole piece right sides outwards and press the lining back into the hood. Sometimes I sew the opening at the bottom of the hood closed with a narrow seam that will get included in the seam sewing the hood to the capelet, or sometimes I just leave it open and sew the capelet, lining and hood outer together in one go. I then enclose the raw edges using either the neck binding or slip stitching the lining over the raw neck seams.

~ If adding at a later date –  I unpick the collar of the hood if there is one and unpick the folded hem at the front of the hood. If this is not possible then I fold the hood lining front seam allowance back in place, press it into a crisp edge then slip stitch the lining into the front hem of the hood. I also press the bottom edge of the lining and slip stitch this around the neck seam and pop a couple of stitches into the pointy end of the hood to tie the outer and lining loosely together. Then I press the heck out of the front edge of the hood to get the lining to behave and keep folded back into the hood rather than floating free.


16113159_10158066934640258_7523128911584989569_o-e1538916325375.jpgPhoto taken by my OH, January 2017

I adapted the pattern for use with a self drafted capelet for winter (mentioned in 2016’s project round up, by including a strip of fleece at the front instead of using faux fur to create a snuggly warm hood.

To do this I cut out the hood in the outer and lining materials, and cut a wide strip of fleece the length of the hood opening. After sewing the darts in the lining and outer hood fabric as per the instructions I then treated the fleece piece as a facing for the hood lining and sewed it to the lining with a narrow seam allowance along the open front. Looking back I could have sewn this slightly differently rather than straight stitching the fleece selvage onto the lining (I could have folded the fleece over and sewn the rear seam before catching the open edges in the narrow seam) but it worked! I then sewed the modified lining to the hood outer along the front opening, turned the whole thing right sides out and attached the hood to the capelet. I enclosed the raw seams by slip stitching the lining around the neckline.


Using a more historic-based source

Here is a link to a tutorial written by Handcrafted History (please note that this tutorial is in Swedish and Bing / Google translate is your friend) that I’ve used to make more traditional ‘viking’ style hoods. These get pulled on over your head rather than closed around the throat with a buckle or laces. The pattern itself is based on the hood found in the Skjoldehamn find in Norway, and there is quite a bit of literature and research online that examines the artefacts and garments found.

Here is the hood that I’ve made following this tutorial for my OH. Mine will be similar but with some decorative ribbon trim.

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