I love whimsical clothing. Hats with ears? Adorable. Bunny slippers? Love 'em. Animal-style accents on wearable items make everyday feel so much more fun. Especially on kids - they look extra cute as a little critter. And if they're not bold enough to wear them everyday, these items make comfy & easy costumes too. So when my little guy outgrew his old fleece jacket, I thought it was time to make a more fun one - the "Just A Giraffe" Fleece Coat was born.
Using anti-pill fleece makes it nice & cuddly and since it's fully lined it's great for all seasons when there's some coolness in the air. This coat has everything for making a kid-sized giraffe come to life. For starters, he's got some built-in horns and cuddly ears:
Fuzzy kangaroo (or should I say giraffe?) pockets that blend right into his spots:
Even a swishy tail at the back so it'll look like the real deal:
It's a costume, it's a coat, it's.....jungle animal camouflage!
How I made it:
I started with a basic fleece jacket pattern: Simplicity 5362 & some giraffe print fleece from the fabric store. The pattern is ideal because it's an easy to sew design (and includes kids & adults sizes) for a standard zip-front hooded fleece jacket. My main departure was to line the entire thing. I always prefer to replace the facing pieces on a project with a full lining whenever I can. It gives a nicer finish inside and is a lot less fiddly than working with a bunch of small, curved pieces that are just for hiding raw edges. Except I made two jackets - one from the giraffe print fleece, one from solid cream fleece for the lining. Then I made my own giraffe details.
To make the horns I sewed up some rectangle "tubes" from some tan fleece and left one short end open. I turned them right side out and slipped a piece of ultra firm stabilizer inside each one (this is what makes them stand up). Then I clipped a small line on either side of the hood the width of each horn and inserted them in. I stitched across the opening to close it and sandwich the hood & horn layers together. The tips are small pompoms I hand stitched on top.
I used the same technique to make the ears (reusing a pattern piece I'd drafted for my wolf hat ages ago).
The tail was created by sandwiching some brown fleece between the tail layers before stitching them together and leaving a small gap on one side. After turning right side out, I cut the brown piece into a fringe, hand stitched the opening closed and attached the tail to the coat's back with a slipstitch:
To put the coat together, I sewed the lining and outer together around the front, hood and bottom edges, leaving a few inch gap at the bottom to turn right side out. Then I topstitched all the way around. I folded in the raw edges of the cuffs and stitched those together too. I deliberately made the sleeves a little long, so we could roll up the cuffs and get some extra wear time as he grows.
We get so many big smiles and comments when he's wearing this out out and about. I plan to make some more animal styles after the summer, since my little miss has nearly outgrown her fleece jacket. I'll be looking forward to it!
I'm also sharing this project with my FAVE LINK PARTIES.
Click HERE to check them out!