My daughter has never liked hoods. I kept trying, hoping one winter she’d realize how great they are for keeping your neck warm. But this year, I threw in the towel and took the hood off her newest car seat poncho, and added a neckband instead. She loves it so much better!
So, for those of you out there with kids that prefer hats too, OR those with bitty babies who don’t have enough head control for a hood (and might turn their face into the side), here is a tutorial for adding a neck band to the Snuggle Bunny Poncho (or any other cape with a neck hole in the middle).
I started with the cape pictured below – it used to have a hood, but I removed it. I made it with the zipper feature from the Bunny Bundle Add-on for the Snuggle Bunny Poncho. You can use the FREE Snuggle Bunny Poncho pattern to make the cape (with or without the zipper modification from the Bunny Bundle Add-on) – just skip the hood, but still cut the neck hole to the same size that you would if you were adding a hood.
After you have made your cape, measure the circumference of the neck hole. Then cut your band to the following dimensions:
HEIGHT – Take your desired band depth (I wanted mine to be 1″), add seam allowance (if using the Snuggle Bunny cape, the neck hole includes 3/8″ seam allowance), and then multiply the number by 2. So my band height was 2.75″ (1″ plus 3/8″ times 2).
WIDTH – Take your neck hole circumference and multiply by 80-90%. Lower for fabrics with lots of stretch, higher for fabrics with less stretch. You want at least 50% stretch and excellent recovery (I recommend using a fabric with spandex/lycra in it). Add your preferred seam allowance to this number.
Fold your neckband so the short ends are right sides together, and sew or serge (using the seam allowance you added to the width).
Fold the neckband loop wrong sides together, and divide it into four even quarters (starting with the seam), marking it with pins or clips.
Insert the neckband into the neckhole and pin/clip it to the right side of the cape. Start with the pin/clip at the seam, and place it at the back of the neck hole. Then place the opposite pin/clip at the front of the neck hole, and the remaining pins/clips at the sides. Make sure they are evenly distributed around the neck hole.
Sew or serge the neckband to the neck hole (using the seam allowance you added to the height), stretching it gently to match the size of the neck hole as you sew.
An extra advantage to the neckband (instead of a hood) on the zippered cape, is that you can spin it around after doing the buckles, so it easily drapes to either side of the car seat, instead of needing to flip the back up over the car seat!