Friday, November 9, 2012

No-Sew Two Layer Fleece Poncho

With or without hood!  It's super simple!

Items needed for this super simple poncho:
~Fleece (how much will depend on the size of poncho you're making, and if it's going to have a hood or not.  For this tutorial, I used 1.5 yards of each fleece.)
~Measuring tape (I seem to have misplaced mine... I just used ribbon instead!  I didn't need to know what the measurements were as I was making it, I just needed to know where to cut!)
~Marker or fabric pen
~Piece of paper (Which I forgot to add to the picture...)
~Floor space, or large table

STEP 1- Measure your poncho recipient.

You want to start measuring from the neck, drape it across the shoulder, and then down however far you want the poncho to go.

After deciding where the poncho should stop, fold your ribbon (or measuring tape) in half from that point, to double your measurement.  Then add about 4-6 inches more than that, and cut the ribbon.  (I wouldn't recommend cutting your measuring tape! ;-)  Making a note of the measurement will suffice!)  I measured my ribbon afterwards, and for my fairly short two year old, I cut my ribbon to about 45 inches.  I wanted her poncho to reach somewhere around her knees.

Then fold the ribbon in half, and mark the middle.  (22.5 inches, for my 45inch ribbon)

STEP 2- Cutting out the Poncho Body

Lay out one of the layers of fleece.  Lay out your ribbon across the fleece.

Make a mark at the ends of the ribbon.

Make a mark where the middle of the ribbon is.

Move the ribbon around to make a few more marks.  Make sure you keep the middle of the ribbon in the middle of the fleece (where you marked it).  First, lay the ribbon perpendicular to where you first marked it, mark you ends, and then lay the ribbon in the spaces between the mark.  I made a total of 8 marks.  If you want more reference points, add as many as you feel comfortable with.

Connect your marks to make a circle.  It doesn't need to be pretty, or be an exact circle, I promise it will turn out pretty anyways!  One of the wonderful things about this poncho-- precision is not needed!  For someone like me, that is very important!  Cut out your circle after you sketch it.

Lay out the other layer of fleece, and trace the bottom layer on top of it.  Then cut out the other fleece circle.  (If you want, you can lay out both layers at the same time and cut them out together.  I prefer to pick up the fleece to cut it so that doesn't work for me, but if you can cut it while it's laid out, that will save you some time.)

Once both layers of fleece are cut, lay them out together and make sure they're smooth.  (I flipped up the one end of my pink layer for the pic... smooth them out all the way!) ;-)

STEP 3- Making the neck hole

I made a template for the neck hole.  I used the ribbon to measure the widest part of my daughters head, and then I drew out a circle that was the same circumference.  I made marks about half an inch apart all around the circle, and I cut out the center of it.  Then I positioned the cut out part of the circle in the center of the fleece and marked it. 

Cut out the little piece of fleece in the center of both pieces of fleece.

Make marks around the template onto the fleece.  These will be your reference points for cutting out your "tabs" of fabric that will hem up the neck hole.

Cut from the center hole out to each mark on both pieces of fleece.

Lots of little tabs...

STEP 4-  Making the Hood.  If you don't want a hood on your poncho, jump ahead to step 5.

Use the ribbon to get an idea on how big you need the hood.  Measure from just above the child's head to just past their shoulders.

Add a couple inches on top from where you measured, to make extra room for tying.  (I forgot to take a pic of the rectangle when I first cut out it, but you can see the measurements here... Just cut out a rectangle and lightly curve one corner.)

I also measured from my daughter's forehead to just past the back of her head, so I would know how deep to make the hood.  (with a couple extra inches added for tying)

This is your template for the hood.  Cut out two pieces of each piece of fleece.

All four hood pieces...

Stack the four pieces together.  Pattern on the bottom, two pink layers in the middle, pattern on top)

Cut tabs around the top and back of the hood (Around the rounded edge)  Leaving about 2-3 inches at the bottom not cut.

Tie the tabs together.  I found it works best to tie the "left" piece of pink to the "right" piece of pattern, and then the "right" piece of pink to the "left piece of the pattern.  They'll cross over each other  and hold well together.  Don't forget to double tie each knot, or they will slip loose.

You can see it all ties together, with the couple of inches left at the bottom.

Cut off the back piece that is hanging off the back, and then cut tabs in the bottom of the hood.  These will attach the hood to the poncho body.

This is what the hood will look like opened up.

**If you would like, you can tie the two layers together around the face.  I've found that since the fleece layers kind of "stick" to each other, with the rest of the tying, it's not really needed.  Personal preference.** 

STEP 5- Attaching the hood/ hemming the neck hole.

Fold up the top layer of fleece, so you can access the neck hole.  Fold the tabs of fleece to the inside.  You're going to tie up the neck hole from the inside, so the child won't have the little tabs all around their neck.

Tie the two layers together.  Remember to double knot!  If you're going hoodless, just tie all the pieces around the neck together now!

If you're adding a hood, put the hood on the top layer of fleece with the sides laid out.  Tuck the tabs of the bottom of the hood in between the two layers of the poncho body.

Tie the pieces of the body together, while putting a tab of the hood (pink two layers) in between each knot as you go.

Once you get two sections of the hood's tabs in between knots of the body, then tie the hood tabs together.  They'll tie across the body's knot, so that they can't slip out.  I tied the patterned tabs to the other pattern tabs, and the pink to the pink, but you can tie the opposite pieces to each other if you want.
Again, make sure to double knot!

You'll probably have a couple tabs left for the neck hole after you finish attaching the hood.  If so, that's fine, just finish tying them together.  This will now be the front of the poncho.  This time, I ended up with five extra tabs at the front...

This is the seam on the outside of the hood.

The front of the hood, where the extra tabs were.

STEP 6- Finishing up!

Lay out the poncho as flat as you can.  It won't be perfect (which I've said before-- is okay!!) attaching the hood makes it bunch up a little in different places.  Not a problem! 

Cut out tabs all along the edge of the poncho.

Tie them all together, and it's finished!

Johannah is extremely happy with her new poncho!

And it's completely reversible, too!


  1. My wife saw this post and made one of these for my daughter. It looks AMAZING! Thanks for the tip. We're going to make another one for my other daughter now.

  2. Out of curiosity, how big was the neck hole circle you cut? I am making this for my 2 year old daughter and I feel like I am doing something wrong because the neck hole I have measured out looks enormous!

  3. Great tutorial! Now I'm wishing I was making one of these!

  4. Just found this tutorial through pinterest and definitely going to try this!! It looks so cute and you could make this so inexpensively. Thanks for sharing your creativity!

  5. I'm a little confused how to make the neck whole so the ties are on the inside? Can't wait to make this for my daughter I struggle to keep her warm without a jacket.

  6. Well I made this last night and it turned out OK except the head hole ended up way too big and I don't know how to fix it now. It falls down my daughter's shoulders and can end up down her body and off. Ugh. The directions weren't exactly clear with the head hole maybe edit this so it doesn't turn out like this for others? I measured around her forehead (17"). Then after placing that on the fleece I realized that would be way too big. So I folded ribbon in half and got 8.5". Still huge. So I halved it AGAIN and created a circle 4.25" and now I'm thinking it should have been a 2 " circle. You told us the measurements for your fleece body part, maybe in an edit give a rough estimate of the head hole? I don't sew, so I hope I didn't just waste $30 of fleece and 3 hours of time on something we can't even use. :(

    1. I also did not make the hood. That probably would have been helpful in keeping poncho up even with botched head hole. My daughter is 4 and pretty tall so I didn't end up with enough fleece after body was cut to construct a hood. I am so sad.

    2. Perhaps, untie the head hole section and knot it closer to the center?

  7. You could add a yoke, (to know what a yoke is, or for other instructions Google sewing a yoke). To make a circle of fleece to fill in the hole (2layer or one layer of fabric, either will work) you will need the new little circle to overlap past your Paper Cut Out or you won't have enough fleece for tying! If you already tied your knots in your poncho you SHOULDN'T need to untie them. And if you threw out your paper trace a new paper with the hole you made. Find a crochet hook, or latch hook to grab the tabs you cut on your yoke and pull them to the side with the knots, tie the yoke tabs around your knots. Now you have fabric in the middle again to make a hole for your kid's head. Pro tip, make the neck hole and then install the yoke, this means less wasted work if the hole is too big again. Second pro tip, fleece sometimes stretches (and by pro tip, I mean I messed it up before, ha!)

  8. I don't quite understand how you attack the hood to the poncho while winding up with all the tabs on the inside. Any tips?

    1. I'm trying to figure this out too! Did you get it?

  9. I used your tutorial two years ago (the hood was a disaster, but I just put my daughter in a hooded t-shirt, or add a winter hat instead) As a Child Passenger Safety Technician I have been sending this link to EVERYONE over the last two years. Thank you for the fabulous instructions!

  10. I made this poncho for my son last night. To answer some of the questions, my son has a 20 inch circumference head. I made a mark in the center of a piece of paper and measured out 3 inches, I then made a mark. I put the tape at the middle mark again, this time pointing up, measured 3 inches and made a mark. I continued in this fashion until I made a circle. The neck opening was the perfect size without a hood, but when I added the hood, it was top small. To fix this, I made a small V slit in the front of the poncho to allow it to stretch over his head, but its small enough to fit comfortably on his shoulders.

  11. I've been searching for this everywhere since I saw a kid with one in a coffee shop! We are moving to Alaska so this is perfect! thank you!!