Split Applique Hoodie

A hoodie is a pretty simple thing. From chilly fall days to cool summer nights, it’s easy to throw on over anything, and always cozy. A hoodie is also endlessly customizable with embroidery. But sometimes, like a simple hoodie, you just want a simple way to bring it to life. Well, now there’s a super simple way that even gets around that pesky zipper. With this split skully applique design!

This split skully is very quick to stitch, but it requires a couple of special tricks to get him to stitch right where we want him. The key with this super simple look is to get your applique design to line up right on the zipper, so when you zip it up, it all becomes one design again! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Zip-up hoodie (I know, who saw that coming?)
  • Sheer mesh cutaway stabilizer such as Sulky Soft 'n' Sheer or Floriani No Show Mesh (this stuff's great for light designs on clothes)
  • Split applique embroidery design
  • Scissors
  • Tape and pen
  • Felt or other non-fraying fabric
  • Printed dielines (here's how)


So, the name of the game here is alignment. And believe it or not, those printed dieline templates you’re going to use to cut out your fabric are also going to be the key to getting this perfectly aligned.

So, start with one of your templates. You’ll want to trim the side that’s going up against the zipper right to the edge of the dieline. Then, place that edge right up along the edge of the zipper, like shown. I know, it’s going to seem too close to the zipper, but there’s a 1/4 inch seam allowance built into the design. So it’s all cool. Only the fabric will get the close to the edge, not the stitches.

We want to make sure we get our design placed just right. Now, on a light colored hoodie, you could just use a fabric pen, but this tape and pen method works on anything. Place pieces of tape under the four edges of your template crosshairs, and mark them on the tape like shown.



Next you’re going to want to mark the very middle of your design. Place a piece of tape roughly underneath the center crosshairs, and then poke through the paper template with a pen to leave a mark on the tape. Once you have your dot, I like to turn it into a little crosshairs so it’s easy to tell its alignment.

With your hoodie zipped up (this is important! You can’t guess alignment with it unzipped) place your other template on the other side, so the skull pieces match up. Then mark it just the same as you did with the first piece.



There! Now we have our markings on our hoodie, ready to guide us for hooping.

Now those same templates can be used to cut out your applique fabric. Lightly spray the back of the paper template and place it on some felt or other non-fraying fabric, and carefully cut out your two skully pieces. Keep those templates around, though! They’re awfully handy.



So, place your templates on your fabric, and see how they look. Neato! We’re ready to start hooping.

Use those marked guides on the tape to carefully hoop up your hoodie with your sheer mesh cutaway stabilizer underneath. The marks will ensure the hoop is straight, and the center dot will tell you just where to center your design. I also liked placing my template right under the machine before sewing, so I could really see how it was lining up under the needle.



Once you’re ready, remove your template and your tape guides, and start sewing! The first thing that stitches is your dieline. I stitched mine black on black, so I highlighted it here in white so you can see it more easily. You’ll notice it’s an outline of your skull will little spokes of stitches now and then. These stitches are guides, telling you they should be completely covered with your fabric when you place it down.

Spray the back of your felt piece with adhesive, and place it carefully over those guidelines. Take care to notice those little spoke stitches, and see that your fabric covers all of them. Once you’re ready, your design will start stitching. It may seem scary at first, with your fabric right up to that zipper edge, but the seam will actually stitch 1/4 inch in from that edge, which is the standard width of most zipper seams.



Your first side is done! Now, I know we measured carefully, but it’s always good to check your previous markings still line up with where this skull half stitched. Place your template back down to make sure it’s still all good. Once it’s ready (with any minor adjustments) repeat the process!

My second skully piece stitches. What’s nice is that after all the fuss of marking and hooping, these things stitch out in a flash.



Once it’s done, trim away the excess stabilizer, zip it up, and watch your hard work come together. Literally!

A plain old hoodie gets a quick and stylin' update with minimal stitches and bulk, and even looks chic around that zipper. Rock on with your bad self, you crafty wizard you.


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