Many states are getting hit hard with extreme weather lately. Homeless shelters are full and many homeless are without shelter or warm clothing. My husband has chronic anemia and has been asking me to make him poncho to stay warm. While we were designing this hooded blanket we were thinking of ways to make it functional for the homeless. I know there are many non-profit organizations who have volunteers that make quilts for the homeless, however I do not know what type of quilts they make, or what types of fabric and batting they use. What you see is a proto type of what we made. I say this because this is the first one we made without a pattern and the construction is not perfect; I am new at designing patterns.
We were both pleased with the design, functionality and the warmth of this blanket but the next time I make one of these I will probably hand stitch some parts because there was not enough room to twist and turn the heavy fabric to achieve quality craftsmanship with my sewing machine. My brother gave me some felt but he did not know what the blend of fibers were. It was perfect for this project because it did not cost me anything; had a similar weight and feel of wool felt and it was washable / dryable.
Making this hooded blanket with a high wool fiber would help keep the homeless dryer and warmer during the winter months. Lets face it wool blankets are not cheap. I believe non profit organizations would have great success receiving donations from companies who process wool, textile companies, tailors, and fabric stores. I know some airlines discard their blankets if they are stained or torn but I am not sure if they have wool blankets.
A person could piece together felted wool sweaters; attach hoods from hoodies and probably make this hooded blanket in less time than a quilt. There is a downside to using a wool blanket outdoors, some bugs love wool, but the good news is if you allow smoke from a fire to get on the wool it will keep the bugs away. If an organization knew where they could find smoke damaged wool blankets, it might be worth it to ask for donations.
A wool blanket is great for outdoor camping however; sticks, thorns, and grass will stick to them. If I were making a wool blanket for the outdoors I would line it with a sheet and when there is a chance of this happening I would wear the lined side out. Wool blankets are much safer to use next to a fire because they do not flame as much as other fabrics. Follow through and I will show you how we made this warm hooded blanket with pockets, belt, blanket pin, and the different ways it can be worn for functionality in cold weather.
Step 1: Tools and Supplies
What you will need for the body of the blanket:
1 whole fabric piece preferably wool approximately 58 1/2 inches wide and as long as a king quilt or longer, depending on purpose or you may piece together clothing scraps such as wool sweaters or small blankets.
I recommend making the blanket very long so a homeless person can double some of the layers to stay warm. It is important to have a barrier between your body and where you are sleeping to stay warm outside. To shorten the blanket the extra fabric can be folded over at the waist and use a belt to keep it in place
Thread, sewing needle, sewing machine (optional), scissors, seam ripper, tape measure, yard stick, sewing pins, marker, buttons optional , safety pin optional , cording optional, chop stick optional
You may remove a hood from a sweatshirt and sew it to the blanket. This is the easiest way.
Or you can make a pattern off the hood of a vest by marking around the hood onto a scrap of cloth.
Our hood was made using 3 layers of fabric. We used the wool inside for extra warmth.
Tools are shown in the picture, we did not use all of them but you can tell how we just bent the wire into this shape using some of the tools and we cut the ring with a bolt cutter (not shown) .
A metal clothes hanger or something slightly smaller but not too soft because you need it strong enough to go through 2 layers of felt.
Metal ring as shown or a shower curtain ring would work for this and you would not need to cut it.
Step 2: Something to Consider
I recently purchased some raw wool and cleaned it. I think a non- profit organization might be able to receive donations from mills and they could felt the wool to make a few wool hooded blankets for some of the older homeless people. They could use the wool between fabric layers like a quilt. I read woman have been using wool like this that they felted and placed the felt between layers of cheesecloth and used it for quilt batting. That is what I got this for.
Step 3: Folding and Cutting the Blanket
Fold the blanket for the front.
My husband is very tall so we folded the blanket about 31 1/2 inches in the front.
Mark center of the neckline using a marker.
Then mark a 4 inch neck line as shown and cut the neck sparingly as we will trim it more later.
Step 4: Cutting Out the Hood
We removed the hood from a sweat shirt and used it for a pattern as shown. We made a yoke by marking the hood as shown.
We placed the pattern over the doubled fabric and cut 2 pieces for the lining and 2 pieces for the hood and cut 2 wool pieces for the batting. We did this because the felt was a little scratchy. The extra layers were nice and toasty.
Please note: don't get confused later when we sew the hood. I had to make this two times. So when I show the pictures of the brown fabric it is the 2nd hood that I made.
Step 5: Cutting the Loops Belt and Pocket
Cut three belt loops to desired size.
Cut 2 pieces of wool for the pockets as shown. You may cut one but 2 makes them much warmer.
Ours measured 18 1/2 X 12 and my husband said they were very comfortable and warm.
Cut fabric for a belt or you can use an old belt and save the time in making one.
Step 6: Marking and Cutting the Neckline
We marked the center front of the blanket and cut a small neckline, then we made this shape from the hood pattern and cut it out.
Step 7: Sewing Small Pieces
Please follow the pictures because they pretty much show how it is done. If you have any questions please leave a comment.
Sew the belt loops, trim threads and turn right side out, I used a chop stick to turn them, and it helps to press them.
Press the belt fabric as shown and fold it over lengthwise and press, then stitch along the open side as shown.
Step 8: Making the Blanket Pin
My husband grabbed some tools and made the needle before I could take pictures of how he did it. I think you can get an idea by looking at the simple design. The blanket pin works great although I think he should have used a smaller wire for it to be more functional. He used a tomato plant wire from the cage. A blanket pin comes in handy to convert a blanket into a sleeping bag ( 3-4 needed ) or to close the opening of the blanket to stay warm.
Step 9: Sewing the Hood
We discussed making the hood and I decided that if a person was making this for someone they did not know, it was better to make one with a hood than without because you can make it removable or separate and if the receiver uses hoodies all the time then they can remove the hoodie. The first two pictures show the red hoodie I made first. It will give you an idea of the shape and how you can make one with a yoke if you like the style. It may be sewn in permanently or you can make it separate and add buttons to secure it.
Stitch around the back of the head area as shown and clip loose threads and the curves, on the hoodie, lining, and the batting of all the pieces.
Layer all three together and pin as shown and sew them together.
Turn right side out and press.
You can hem the bottom of the hoodie separately, Use buttons to secure it to the neck of the blanket, or sew it permanently to the neckline.
If you want a pull string; sew around the top as shown in the last picture so you can thread cording through there using a safety pin. My hubby did not want to do this. He wanted me to mention people should tie a knot in the end of the cording close to the opening of the hoodie because the dangling cord can get caught in a lot of things. He never wears a neck tie because of this.
Step 10: Sewing the Neckline
I used bias tape around the neckline to keep its shape. You just place the center of the bias tape over the edge of the neckline and stich close to the opened edge as shown.
Step 11: Cutting and Sewing the Pocket
Place the 2 layers of pocket pieces on top of each other and center it on the front of the blanket.
Sew the two layers to the blanket as shown.
Step 12: Sewing the Belt Loops
Sew the belt loops to the blanket if desired.
Step 13: Different Ways to Wear the Hooded Blanket
Here are ways you can wear this blanket and carry it.
One way shows it very short in case you are walking through a mud puddle or something.
Another way is for carrying stuff.
Staying warm sitting under extra layers.
Ways to use the blanket pin.
Using it to just keep you legs warm.
Extra large pockets for carrying things.
Step 14: Sunshiines Final Thoughts
My husband has not complained about being cold now that he has a hooded blanket. He says it is very toasty. I hope this instructable will benefit those who make quilts for the homeless and it would be great to hear feedback if the homeless like the design. I also hope some of you happy campers might make one of these to keep warm.
This instructable will be entered into a couple of contest. If you like it, please click on the orange vote button above. I will greatly appreciate your vote, thanks.
I wish to thank Instructables and contributors for making this a delightful place to share. Thanks for stopping by and be safe and warm this winter!