A hood is an easy addition to a suit and is the primary distinguishing factor that turns a catsuit into a zentai. It's probably worth trying unless you have a strong aversion to having your face covered, because it's easy to unpick and replace with a normal neckline.
What to do
If you haven't already made a standard suit you should at least familiarise yourself with the instructions for it, or this page will make little sense.
- Measure all the way around your head, just above your ears as if you were wearing glasses.
- From that circumference, measure vertically down to your jawline.
- Measure your neck height from jaw to base.
- Measure the width of your chin, and from there to the corner of your jaw.
- You already have your neck circumference from the suit.
- If you're feeling dedicated you can measure over the top of your head from ear to ear, but that's normally about half your head's circumference.
Plot your measurements
You probably want to reduce your measurements to 90-95%, but no more unless you enjoy having your nose squashed. Consider reducing the neck circumference to 95% - a hood works differently to a collar, and you won't want wrinkles.
- Start with a rectangle half your head circumference wide and as high as your neck height plus your jaw-to-temple height plus a quarter of your head circumference. (blue shaded box)
- Draw horizontals for the neck height (yellow and green) and jaw-to-temple height (yellow 'temple height') all the way across the rectangle, and write 'FOLD' along one one of the 'height' edges.
- Measure along the neck height line from the 'FOLD' line for half the width of the chin and mark that (short yellow).
- Measure along the neck height line from the chin mark for the jaw length, and mark that (green).
- Drop a vertical (pale blue) from the jaw length mark to the base, and cut off the resulting rectangle.
- Measure along the neck height line from the jaw length mark by a third of the neck circumference, and mark that point. Drop a vertical (green) from there to the base, but do not cut this off yet. Call this line the 'centre back neck seam'.
- Divide the temple-height line into three, and mark verticals (red) to the top.
- Draw horizontals (blue) for a third, a half, and two thirds up from the temple line to the top of the head.
- Measure along from the FOLD line and on either side of the more distant
vertical, and mark, as follows:
- For the third-up horizontal, measure 0.144 times the head circumference.
- For the half-up horizontal, measure 0.118 times the head circumference.
- For the two-thirds-up horizontal, measure 0.0833 times the head circumference.
- Maths fans: These are cos30, cos45, and cos60, times the head circumference, divided by 6.
- Join these marks up (green, pink, and uncoloured curves). At the peak of each curve, the angle between the curve and the vertical line should be 60 degrees. (For a total of 360 degrees to make a full circle.)
- Draw a final curve that joins the back of the head to the 'centre back neck seam'. You can draw this freehand to look like a flattened version of the head curves (freehand curve).
- Add seam allowance to all edges of the hood, and cut alignment notches.
- For maths fans: you can feel superior by fiddling about multiplying the horizontal distance from the 'centre back neck seam' and the back of the head by cos30, cos45, and cos60 and plot those at the third, half, and two-thirds heights, instead of using the freehand method.
Note: This has the head divided into thirds. You can divide it into quarters by using 0.108, 0.088, and 0.0625. (For maths fans, that's cos30, cos45, and cos60, times the head circumference, divided by 8.)
- The chin piece starts as a rectangle (shaded red box) one sixth the circumference of the neck in width, and as high as the jaw length plus the neck height.
- Mark one long edge 'FOLD'.
- Draw a horizontal for the neck height from the base all the way across the rectangle (red).
- Draw a vertical for half the chin width from the 'FOLD' line all the way down the rectangle (blue).
- Pivot a ruler around the point where the neck height meets the edge of the rectangle, until you measure the jaw length between the pivot point and anywhere along the chin width line. Mark this diagonal (green).
- Mark a horizontal (short yellow) from where the jaw length diagonal meets the chin line to the 'FOLD' line.
- The jaw diagonal and new chin horizontal are the new edges of the piece.
- Add seam allowance all the way around the chin piece, and cut alignment notches.
Obviously, cut the pieces on the fold.
- Pin and sew each curve on either side of the FOLD line to their corresponding curves behind to begin to form the hood shape. (That is, sew the green curves to the pink curves.)
- Pin the chin piece to the mask (yellow to yellow, green to green, pale blue to pale blue), taking care to align the centre notches (on the folds) and the corners carefully, then sew slowly, optionally using single loops of thread sewn through the fabric to keep it pulled into position as the needle passes.
- (Corners like these are as tricky to sew as the crotch of the bodysuit, so I'm thinking about how to improve this.)
- For a hood without a zip, sew the back seam closed and sew the base of the neck into the suit, where you would have installed a collar.
- For a hood with a zip, sew the base of the neck into the neckline of the suit, where you would have installed a collar, then tack the zip in (until you're sure you like hoods). Tack the loose ribbon ends of the zip-from-below and the hood zip together on either side, so they reinforce the join and stay out of the way.