A Blog for the Perpetually Frustrated Home Sewist

Throwback: University of Houston Cougar Hood: Simplicity 1795 Pattern Review

Some past sewing projects are better left in the past. But a few projects are worth revisiting and exploring once more. This week's post is one such project. In December 2013, when I was a student at the University of Houston, I decided to tackle faux fur for the first time. Spirit hoods were popular at the time, and with the release of this pattern, I thought it would be a great idea to make a UH themed spirit hood of the cougar mascot. Because this blog is a place for recording my sewing journey, I think its okay to post a couple older projects.

Warning: this post contains old photos! 

Sorry for the dirty mirror- this isn't the best picture! 


For the main fabric, I used a brown faux fur from Hancock Fabrics (RIP- I miss them so much!). For the lining, I used a red satin I had in my stash. The pattern recommends fleece or plush felt for the lining, but I found the satin worked perfectly fine. I used red for the UH school colors. It's worth noting that I didn't need to applique any pieces to the red satin, because I used iron on letters and materials instead. The satin may have puckered or wrinkled more if I had appliqued to it (but it also might've worked just fine). More about the iron on letters below! 

The Pattern

Simplicity 1795 features a few variations of animal hoods, as well as leg and arm warmers. The pattern lists the animal options available as a bear, cheetah, fox, and wolf. These, of course, could be modified a bit for different animals. I used the cheetah ears to work for a cougar hood. So, I made View D.

The pattern also comes in three sizes: S, M, and L. There isn't really a guide included in the pattern for the sizing, but it appears that each size corresponds to a head circumference (please correct me if I'm wrong). A size large (described as 23") is safest for adults, and the sizing only changes around the hood part (at least for View D). There is also a shorten/lengthen line. I added about 4 inches in length to the hanging hood gloves. I have long arms, but I think the extra length could be beneficial to others. All in all, the pattern is not really that complex; it's possible to determine sizing simply by looking at the pattern and holding it up to your body.

Other than that, the pattern wasn't difficult to understand or work with. This was my first time sewing with faux fur, and the guide included made it quite a bit easier. The guide quickly explained how to trim fur out of seam allowances and how to pound seam allowances open.

The Process

I made a few variations to the pattern. First, I moved the pocket to the outside. So, rather than place the paw print onto the pocket, I just placed it onto the lining. Then, I cut a second pocket piece out of the faux fur and lined it, and put it on the outside, on the visible part of the hood. I did this simply because I thought it looked better that way. 

The second major change I made to the pattern was to add letters. I purchased some basic iron on letters at Hobby Lobby to spell out "Cougars" on the long parts of the hood. I also bought some of the blank iron on material to cut out the paw print shape (so they matched the letters!) It was a little hard to make sure the paw print shapes were cut out smoothly and without ridges, but it worked out alright.

One other thing I chose to do was use the red satin for the ear lining rather than do a full faux fur ear. This wasn't a real change, but I felt it connected the hood a bit more.


Overall, I would recommend this project as a great first project for anyone looking to sew with faux fur. Fit won't be an issue, and there aren't too many pattern pieces involved. It's a great pattern to dive in on! 

Thanks for reading this far! To see more of my Simplicity pattern reviews, click here. Let me know if you have any questions down below. 

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