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How DO you make those Animal Costumes? (Fursuits)
Make your own Balaclava Pattern! *UPDATED WITH HOW-TO!* 
5th-Jan-2008 01:56 am
Cloudy Yote

I promised that I would make a pattern regarding how to make your own balaclava from scratch so here it is! Please let me know if anything is confusing to anyone so I can explain it more thoroughly. Alright here we go!

I attempted to color code the parts that are supposed to be sewn together. Where there is the color black, there is no sewing, as this will be the neck-hole for your balaclava. With this type of balaclava, the seams will be present on the sides and top of the head, away from the face because you will need that room to later add customized eye, mouth, and/or nose holes. Depending on the size of your noggin, you may have to make the pattern slightly smaller or larger than what is provided, so be sure to take measurements and adjust it accordingly. Also, do not forget to add seam allowance before cutting!

This pattern is best used with 2-way stretch material. If you are intending to use this for fursuit head construction, I would also recommend something that breathes well like stretch-cotton blends or lycra.

For your convenience I have attempted to provide four separate pieces of the above pattern so that it may be printed out and pieced together. You can find them here:
Quadrant 1
Quadrant 2
Quadrant 3
Quadrant 4

For best results, attempt to print them out fitted to a normal 8.5"x11" sheet of printer paper on the maximum printable area of the page. Piece them together with tape or staples until it looks roughly the same as the composite pictured above.  Adjust the size of the pattern to your own measurements and do not forget to add seam allowance.

After you have transfered your pattern to the fabric, it is time to cut out the pieces. You will need to cut out two identical pieces for your balaclava.  The fabric I have used is cased, so I cut out both pieces at the same time and one piece is on top of the other.

Now that your fabric pieces have been cut out, take one piece and fold it along the middle vertically.  Sew together the two middle pieces (red colored on the pattern) so that a seam emerged along the folded side. Your piece should now look like the second picture below.

Next, fold the two outer segments inward so that your piece resembles what is shown below.  Sew horizontally along the upper seam.

Your piece should now look like this:

Fold your piece in half vertically once again and sew the remaining seam.  Your piece should now look like this:

Repeat these above steps for your second piece until both pieces look like this and are ready to be combined:

Combine them together to form a balloon-like shape and try it on to make sure it fits!

At this point your balaclava will not possess holes for your eyes, nose, or mouth, so it is up to you to decide what size of holes located where will best suit you. A technique I use to find out where I need to cut holes is to put the balaclava on straight and then mark the corners of the areas I need to cut into (I.E. Outer corners of the eyes, upper and lower edges of eyes, outer corners of the mouth). It may help to have a friend assist you. For safety reasons, I suggest that you only cut the balaclava when you have fully removed it from your head. ;)

Here is an example of a possible hole configuration and how it looks once it has been cut out:

After cutting the holes, you may want to sew back the edges to prevent fraying and make the balaclava more "professional"

Congratulations!  You now have your own, homemade balaclava!  Have fun! ;)

If you have any questions feel free to ask! 
Special thanks goes out to my lovely boyfriend for agreeing to model the balaclava for me.  Thanks babe! ;D
5th-Jan-2008 09:59 am (UTC)
I love you <3 Thank you soooo much for this.
5th-Jan-2008 10:04 am (UTC)
Haha I love you too. Thanks for helpin me tweak this. =)
5th-Jan-2008 11:18 am (UTC)
Got any pics of this made? I'm having a hard time piecing it together in my head, and it seems excessive for a simple base for a fursuit head.
5th-Jan-2008 11:41 am (UTC)
I don't have a photograph of the actual product yet (I forgot to take one before I covered my last one with foam and fur) but I will be making one and taking pictures of the process tomorrow. Here's a quick mock up with some of the seam colors:

I am in no way a skilled seamstress yet and I will admit that I have a lot to learn, so if you know any way to trim down any "excessive" seams or anything that I've overlooked (I'd hate to be giving myself more work than I need to if there's an easier way!) please do say something. I'd help me learn and I'd really appreciate it.
5th-Jan-2008 02:19 pm (UTC)
thank you! I was just on my way out to Canadian tire to spend $5 to $10 on a balaclava but heck, now I'll stay home and sew one out of the left over cotten I have. Thanks!
5th-Jan-2008 07:37 pm (UTC)
see if you have something strechy... I have a feeling it would work better than a non-stretchy cotton.
5th-Jan-2008 04:00 pm (UTC)
How did you know!?
This is an instant add to memories for me too!
5th-Jan-2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
that's a cute drawing ^_^ I'm soo adding this to memory's. thank you!
5th-Jan-2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
someone add this to the community's memories! go go go! :D
5th-Jan-2008 06:09 pm (UTC)
6th-Jan-2008 02:51 am (UTC)
thank you for the time and effort you put in to this..it will help, a lot.
6th-Jan-2008 08:21 am (UTC)
Hey, I asked about this a while back! I tried to make some on my own but it was majorly unsuccessful. Thank you so much!
6th-Jan-2008 10:58 am (UTC)
I know a few people showed interest in a tutorial/pattern, so here it is! And I know the feeling of trial and error with balaclavas. It took me many tries to get it right. Many "simple" suggestions that I have been given for them did not work for me. So I guess it was about time for me to contribute something *I* learned. =)
6th-Jan-2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
I'm going to use this to help me make my own balaclava some time ^_^ I'll let you know how it turns out, thanks!
6th-Jan-2008 08:08 pm (UTC)
Do you use a special stitching to keep the strechyness of the material or are your seams placed so that they don't obstruct the streching so much?

Because I don't have a sewing maching and so I can't hand-do the special strechy seam... : /
6th-Jan-2008 08:24 pm (UTC)
I do use a stretch stitch on a sewing machine, but as long as you adjust the pattern to your measurements and use a stretchy material, you should be able to use a regular hand stitch just fine without any problems. =)

The pattern was made so that the head area would fit even without a stretchy fabric, but because the neck area is smaller than the head I recommend a stretchy material so you can stretch the neck over the larger area of the head for taking the balaclava on and off. Does that make sense? = /
6th-Sep-2008 08:45 pm (UTC)
i am having a hard time trying to understand how you did all that.
1st-Jul-2009 02:10 am (UTC)
Thanks for this! now i dont have to buy one!! and if i have any troubles I have Grandma on my side ;D
15th-Jan-2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
Just an FYI, quad 2 is 404'ing.
15th-Jan-2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
Not sure if I even have the files any more, but you can just use a reversed version of quadrant 1 in replacement.
12th-Sep-2012 10:59 am (UTC)
Please anyone help me... how to combine the two pieces?
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