Sunday, 2 December 2012

Abakhan Projects on a Budget

 Hello, I'm Ange from Heart of Charnwood, and when Lynne asked me to do the Abakhan Challenge with my reversible fleece poncho idea, I was both pleased and terrified, all at once!  Thx to the guys at Abakhan for the opportunity, and well, here goes...

 This is a super-warm reversible fleece Poncho, with pocket and collar, made from Anti pil Micro Fleece, £6.95 per metre, and Anti Pil Polar Fleece, £5.95 per metre available from Abakhan,which is really easy to work with, and all completed for the bargain price of £12.90.

Fleece- preferably non-directional fabric i.e see the Elephant, some are upside down or sideways, so you can cut from any angle.
Sewing Machine
Matching Thread
Tape Measure
Large Newspaper (UK Broadsheet)

Preparing The Template
1. Measure the recipient from the tips of their outstretched fingers to the base of the neck, in my daughter's case, 20 inches, then add 5 inches to account for seams plus a little extra for head space, so 25 inches total.

2. To make your template get 3 pieces of  newspaper, and tape them together as shown in the picture (across the long edges- you made need to add extra paper for a bigger person/template).

3. Fold in half across the width of the newspapers,
and mark the 25 inches across from left hand corner, and down from left hand corner.

4. Get your string and tie it around your pencil/marker, stretch string from corner to the 25 inch marked point and mark across to the other 25 inch mark in a quarter circle, see this tutorial if you're unsure how.
Cut along the mark made.

4. Mark 5 inches from the corner across the fold, and 5 inches down the side, make small quarter circle in same style as previous step, and cut out (please note, this is for a 4 year old, for a younger child make a smaller size, and for an older person, you made need a slightly larger size- if in doubt cut it small and you can adjust this later).

Your template should now look like this (still folded).

Cutting The Fabric
5. Now prepare your fleece by folding crossways down the length of your fabric and attach the template, still folded along the fold i.e fold on template and fold on fleece together.  Cut round the template, and you will end up with this shaped piece

Making The Pocket.
6. For pocket, cut piece of fleece 12 inches x 12 inches.
  Fold right sides together across the width and sew with a 1/2 inch seam across the raw edges.

7. Turn right side out, and place the seam across the back of the pocket half way down (this will be the inside of the pocket). 

Fold the raw ends in by 1/2 an inch either side and sew shut with a 1/4 inch seam.  You will now have a double sided pocket with a seam across the back/middle.

8. To position the pocket, fold it in half  from top to bottom, and match this fold with the fold on the main body of the poncho, about 2 and a half inches up from the bottom- pin it in place.

9. Sew the pocket onto the poncho body, ensuring the seam is hidden on the inside of the pocket, and it is level.

Complete The Poncho Body
10. Right sides together, sew the 2 back seams of the poncho body with a 1/2 inch seam- you now have the main poncho shape completed- double check the fit by trying it on the recipient, it does need to have a little extra space for the collar, but should be snug (without being too tight), if it is too tight trim the neck space a little along the line already cut- remembering that the fleece does have a bit of stretch in it.

If you want the Poncho to be reversible, complete another Poncho body and pocket according to steps 5-10.

Cutting the Collar
10. Measure round the collar space
21 inches in my case, plus add 1 inch for a seam allowance, equalling 22 inches. Cut out a piece of Elephant Fleece the 22 inches across by 4 1/2 inches down.  Also cut a piece of Strawberry Fleece to the same measurements.

11. Join 2 pieces together, right sides together (the same way up) using a 1/2 inch seam along the bottom, then open it up as below

12. Put the 2 short ends together (right sides together) and sew 1/2 inch seam, turn the collar out and put the raw edges together (see picture below).

Collar to Poncho Body
13. To attach the collar to the poncho body, put the Elephant Fleece Poncho Body RIGHT SIDE OUT.  Place the collar with raw edges UP and Elephant print on the OUTSIDE.  Then place the Strawberry Fleece with right side IN- matching all 4 raw edges to one another and pin together. 
You must ensure that the collar seams line up with the seams at the back of the ponchos, i.e all 4 back seams line up together.

14. Sew a 1/2 inch seam all of the way round the collar ensuring the 4 back seams (1 on each poncho body, and 2 on the collar) match up.  I suggest you start and stop sewing at the back seams to secure this.  A longer stitch length will help to get through the extra layers around the collar, and once you've secured it and are happy it is all lined up, you can re-sew to doubly secure the collar with a shorter stitch length if desired.

Finishing Up.
15. Now push the whole of the Strawberry Fleece through the collar space
now it's just the bottom of both Poncho sides, which will need to be secured to one another. 

Double check this is all correct, you should have the outside of Elephant Fleece with the collar of Elephant fabric when it is folded over, and if it has a directional pattern, this should be up the right way, i.e not upside down!  When you turn the strawberry to the outside, this should have the Strawberry collar on the outside once it's folded over, and they should be up the right way on the collar.
Any issues, now is the time to change it (if you've put the collar on the wrong way, easily done!)

16. To secure the base of the Poncho, I chose to turn both seams in 1/2 inch all of the way round, and secured them together with a 1/4 inch seam- to ensure all raw edges are secured inside.

17. Topstitch round the join between the two fabrics on the collar to get it to hold its shape, and away you go!

*Remember that as an adult you would want to make a larger pocket, and may even want to add a little more than 5 inches to the measurement from fingers to the base of the neck, to ensure your hands are kept warm in the winter months. 

And as my mini-monster refused to pose for a pretty picture, it was time to bring out my old friend Tigger who is always keen to try on new clothes, so here he is, keeping his hands warm!

If you have any queries or questions, feel free to contact me, and I will try to help you out. 

Ange @ Heart of Charnwood  : )


  1. Wouldn't mind one of this myself...

  2. Thx, and you could easily upsize it for an adult- I'm guessing you wouldn't go for the elephants, and there are some lovely navy mini dots at Abakhan, and i was tempted to make one for myself instead, but i think my little one might have objected! : )

  3. I could certainly use one of these here today. We woke up to snow this morning.

    Great tutorial!


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