Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chompapotamus Hoodie

Ladies and gentlemen, a fearsome beast of legend! Behold, from the mists of antiquity and beyond the furthest shores of foreign lands, a creature so dangerous that until now no specimen has been brought before you. Do not listen to fakers and frauds who claim that such a beast has never walked the earth, for the comfort of their so-called "facts" will permit not the quaking terror that would assail them were they to admit the truth. What truth, ladies and gentlemen? Before you now, on this very website, proof of the Terrible Chompapotamus!

Do you have a small terror that needs an upgrade to prehistoric status? Then why don't you equip them with this fine reptilian garment.  NOTE: With Our Powers Combined is not responsible for dinosaur noises, dragon bites, or crocodilean death-rolls that may result from giving this to your or someone else's child.

You'll Need:
  • Small hoodie, the size of your target or perhaps a size larger so they grow to full size (ours was green, 4T)
  • Felt, 1/2 yard (yellow)
  • Sewing machine, matching thread, scissors or rotary cutter
  • Cardstock for spike template
For the Chompapotamus Hoodie (or Raptor Jacket, Gator Coat, or Croco-Breaker, as you may prefer), begin by cutting a 6.5 or 7" strip of felt and fold it in half. Make yourself a triangular template 3" wide at the base and 3" tall out of cardstock. Should you want flatter ridges or longer spikes, feel free to adjust to suit your needs.

Lay the base of your template along the fold and cut out a dozen or more diamonds of felt. Mark a line down the back of the hoodie with washable pencil or tailor's chalk and begin laying your diamonds down the spine. We found that pinning them didn't work because the felt and knit of the hoodie stretched so differently that we laid them in one at a time, sewed down the middle with our machine, and placed the next by hand as we went. Be careful as you sew that you don't pull the belly of the hoodie or the inner lining of the hood into your seam as you go.
Well, there's your problem. Some kinda lizard got all up in your machine.
We got all the way up the back of the neck and onto the hood before we admitted defeat, backstitched our last spine, and hand applied the remaining three or four spikes. The lining of our hood was cut differently than the outer shell, and so it would have puckered strangely if fed through the machine. Take your time, space your spines, and sew carefully just through the outer layer if you wish to avoid that inner weirdness. When you finish, you'll have this:
You may notice this is hardly fearsome. Fold each point flat and stitch down each edge to lock the points down. They should mostly stand up on their own at this point. You'll have converted your hoodie to this:
But wait, there's more than this smashing and comically over-sized hand puppet! Lay your hoodie down and measure across the belly. Don't go too wide or the belly part will tuck up under their arms. We found 10" to be sufficient. Similarly, 11" tall worked for us as it covered the chest but didn't tuck under the neck too much. Cut the rectangle at 11" x 10", fold in half vertically and mark an arc down from the top corner very lightly in pencil with a compass or the old string-and-pencil trick. Cut it out and pin it in place on the belly of the hoodie. Stitch around the perimeter of the belly plate and hold it all down. To keep the center from sagging as you wash it or roll around in the dirt, you'll want to stitch across the belly at regular intervals. We measured up from the bottom an inch-and-a-half and laid a strip of scotch tape as a removable place-marker.
From this angle, it seems kind of foreboding.
Move the tape and stitch every 1.5" inches until you run out of belly. Trim up all your loose ends and you've got your very own Chompapotamus Hoodie. By switching colors, you can easily do the full spectrum of chromatic dragons from D&D, or your favorite dinosaur from The Land Before Time. Here in a little bit we'll be updating this page with shots of an actual small thing in this outfit, but until then, imagine this garment in terrifying 3D.

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