Intro: Plush Krampus Hood
All I want for Christmas is a cozy winter wearable that will also strike fear into the hearts of children.
I mean, isn't that on everyone's list?
This fantastic hood is based on Krampus, a beast from European folklore who basically gets a copy of Santa's naughty list and cart blanche to terrorize those who are on it. If you're looking for a twisted and unique X-mas project that will also keep you toasty, this is IT!
Step 1: Kramp-spiration
For those unfamiliar with Krampus: Krampus is a character found in Germanic, Croatian, and Romanian folklore, just to name a few. He's sometimes referred to as "the Christmas Devil" and is essentially the anti-Santa, even though they work on the same holiday. Whereas Santa rewards well behaved children with gifts, Krampus hunts down bad little girls and boys and stuffs them into his sack. Clearly, parents centuries ago agreed that fear was a much better motivator than positive reinforcement. While most historical depictions show Krampus with black or brown fur, I'm seeing more and more modern interpretations in which he is white, sort of like an abominable snowman. I went with black and red for a classic, unmistakably menacing look.
Step 2: You Will Need...
Faux Fur --Your choice of color and length. While I think shagginess is good for this character, I would avoid anything especially long or thick, as it may clog up your sewing machine. I chose a shorter grain black fur for the hood because it would run through the machine more easily, and a shaggy black fur for the ears, to maximize the ragged. evil look of the character.
Lining Fabric --I used mink for its light weight and pleasant texture. Flannel would be another good choice.
Brown (or other horn color) Polar Fleece-- Polar fleece has just the right amount of body for the horns. It will self-support without the help of wires as long as you keep your length and shape reasonable.
Sharpie marker and/ or light colored Gel Pen for dark fabrics.
Needle and Thread
Brown (or horn color) Ribbon
Hat Pattern Base --I altered the basic hat pattern in this Simplicity animal costume pack, #0213A.
Sewing Machine with basic functions
Yarn (optional...for tie tassels)
Step 3: Pattern Making
Find your pattern base. If you need to re-trace and cut a smaller size, do that now.
Using removable tape, attach a sheet of tracing paper to the bottom of your hat pattern. I wanted to extend the bottom edge of the hat to tough my shoulders, for a mane-like look. Make sure you are using REMOVABLE tape, otherwise you risk ruing your pattern for later. Removable tape rolls will always have a light blue plastic track, whereas regular invisible tape rolls are clear.
With a Sharpie, trace your extension n the paper. Cut when you are satisfied with your shape.
I started by tracing the tip of an existing ear template from the Simplicity pack. If you buy this package, you'll get ears shapes for a cat, bear, and fox. For Krampus, we want a more oblong, goat's ear shape. Using the tip of the fox ear as a starting point, I then sketched out a new shape. I made sure my ear template was symmetrical by cutting out half of it, folding over, the tracing and cutting again.
Krampus can be depicted with all sorts of crazy curved and spiraled horns, but to be successful we need to acknowledge the limitations of our plush medium and reign it in. I drew a simple, curved goat-type horn, about a foot long. If this is your first try, I wouldn't go much longer than this.
Step 4: Tracing on to Fabric
Trace your pattern pieces on to their respective fabrics.
Remember that you need 2 halves of a hat, so your pieces should mirror each other. Trace, then flip the pattern and trace again.
(2) Faux Fur Hood Pieces
(2) Lining Hood Pieces
(2) Faux Fur Outer Ears -- I opted to use a shaggier fur for the ears.
(2) Lining Inner Ears
(4) Horns --2 left, 2 right
I highly recommend pinning your pattern to your fabric before tracing. This will ensure you do not accidentally scoot the pattern and end up with wonky fabric pieces.
Use a light colored gel pen to trace onto dark fabrics.
Cut out your pieces using fabric scissors. You will find that your faux fur shed a lot along your trim lines (2nd pic). Pick the edges to gather loose fur before moving on with the project. It'll save you a ton of mess in your other work areas later.
Step 5: Ear Assembly
Pin your inner and outer ears shapes together "good" sides facing inward.
You can run your ear through a sewing machine if you wish. I chose to hand sew because of the thicker fur (and because I was in the middle of a movie and didn't want to leave the tv).
A simple running stitch, pulled snug, will do fine. Leave the bottom of your ear (where it attaches to the head) open.
Clip the corner of your ear shape. This will make a cleaner pointed end when you turn the ears right side out.
Turn the ears out, so the fur and lining are correct. You may wish to go around the edge with a pin or needle and "pick" the seams. This means you will gently fluff out the fur that has been trapped by your stitches.
If you see a need to trim your fur at all, do it now. I trimmed my right ear fur to match the left, snipping gently with the scissors perpendicular to the fur. This will create a natural, ragged edge, rather than a blunt and choppy one.
Step 6: Horn Assembly
Pin your horn shapes together, 2 and 2. Face whatever your "right" side is inward. I used the smoother side of the fleece since this is supposed to be a horn.
Run through your sewing machine, leaving the flat base of the horns open.
As you get to the tip of the horn, you may need to lift your presser foot and rotate your fabric and few times to keep a smooth, rounded edge.
When your horn halves are sewn together, "clip the curves". For those unfamiliar with sewing terms, this means you will use your scissors to snip a few notches from your fabric around any curved side, always staying outside your stitching. Do this around your curved horn tip, and up and down the convex and concave sides. This will give you a cleaner shape when the piece is inverted.
Turn the horns right side out. Use a chopstick or capped pen to help you, if needed (5th pic). Be gentle.
Set horns aside for later.
Step 7: Main Hood Assembly
Take one half of your faux fur hat, right side up.
Pin an ear, right side up, at the bottom of the notch (seam on top of your head).
Fold the right half of the hat over to meet the left. The peaks will match up.
Pull the end of the ear through that gap about .5 inch.Re-pin it in place and pin that seam together.
Run this through the sewing machine. If your fur it very thick, you may want to loosen your thread tension.
Turn it right side out and you'll see you have half a hat! Repeat these steps with the mirror half until you have two (5th photo)
Once you have your two halves, turn them inside out and pin together along the middle seam. This is the line that would run up the back of your neck and over the top of your head.
When you turn it out and try it on, you'll see you're well on your way.
Step 8: Repeat With Lining
Repeat the hood steps with your lining fabric, only this time you don't have to worry about any ear shapes.
Step 9: Attache Lining to Hood
Pin your Lining and Fur hood shapes together, "good" sides facing in. That means your ears will be inside where you can't see them.
To ensure proper alignment, I like to start at the seam right in the front-center of the head. Match up your lining seam and fur seam, then secure with pins. Work your way around the hat.
You want to leave a few inches open in the back, so that you can turn it right side out later. I like to mark this section with vertical pins so that I know exactly where to start and stop.
Step 10: Optional Yarn Ties
I have a small head so sometimes its a good idea to have ties on a hood. Also, I thought having some rustic yarn pieces draping down might be a nice touch on a character from folklore. I found this yarn and metal bangle belt-thingy(?) in my craft closet. I have no idea what it really is or where it came from, but the metal bits gave a nice ominous jingle. It seemed like too great a match to pass up.
I cut the belt in half, then held it up to my hat shape to make sure I was happy with the length and placement.
You could re-purpose something you have as ties, or you could construct something similar out of yarn. Just group strands together and bind, or do long braids. You could add little metal bells to get some sound as well.
Once you're sure of the placement, remove the nearest pin from the hood.
Tuck the yarn tie inside the hat (between the lining and fur halves),starting with the end tassel first. Make sure to keep the yarn clear of your edges so you don't actually sew it into a seam. Shake the hat around a little if you need to.
Leave the last inch of your yarn ties sticking out, then re-pin. This is where your stitching will grab hold.
Step 11: Sew Sew SEW!
Now you can join your halves!
Start sewing at one of your vertical pins on the back.
Run through your machine all the way around the edge of the hat, until you reach the other vertical pin.
Turn it right side out.
Locate the opening you left in the back of the hat.Roll the edges of the fabrics inward, then secure with a pin. Do a quick hand stitch to seal the deal!
Now is a great time to do a quick selfie. You worked hard to get to this point. Enjoy your fiendish glory!
Step 12: Install Horns
Stuff your horns with poly fill. It may be helpful to start with small pieces, rolling them between your hands to create loose ball shapes. Work into the tip with your finger, or with the aid of a chopstick/ capped pen. You want the horn shapes to be firm, but not so densely packed that they're going to weigh down. If anything, pack more densely near the base to ensure stability. Continue to stuff until you reach .75 inch from the base.
Roll the edge of the fleece inward. It does a pretty good job of staying here without pins.
Pin the horns to the hood. I positioned mine just behind the mid-seam of the top of the head. This will probably take 3-4 pins, and you may very well poke yourself at this point because its hard to see pin tips in black fur.
Try on the hood to check out your positioning and symmetry. It may look fine in your hands, but you'll spot wonkiness once its on your head. Adjust based on your observations.
Secure with hand stitching, taking care to grab the faux fur layer and polar fleece WITHOUT poking through to your lining layer. I just doubling up on your tread for this part. Gently pull your stitches snug so that they help support the horns and lock them right where you want them.
Repeat hand sewing with the second horn.
Step 13: Final Touch-Horn Spirals
If you wish, you can spiral ribbon up the horns to give it the look of natural growth rings. I felt like this really finished off the character nicely.
Pin the ribbon at the base of one horn.
Wind it up and around the shape, pinning as you go. End at the tip and cut the ribbon.
Repeat on the other side, mirroring your spiral as best you can.
When you are satisfied with the look, secure using fabric glue.I used a toothpick to skim under the ribbon, applying adhesive without moving things around much. I did find that I got a little excess glue on the fleece by doing it this way, though you don't really notice it when dry. You may prefer to apply adhesive as you wind the ribbon up, pinning and gluing as you go.
Step 14: Merry Muthaf*kin' Xmas, Boys and Girls!
Its DONE! You're ready to crash through a European village and throw some jerk kids into sacks! Or, simply be the biggest bad ass at your office's santa hat and christmas sweater party. Personally, I'm considering going to the official Krampus Los Angeles to join the rest of the horned beasties in the holiday joys of heavy metal and German beer.
Happy Holidays, and remember to behave yourself!
Second Prize in the
Winter Wearables Contest