Warm Your Noggin with a Smile
January 22, 2012
When winter's crazy weather gets you down, what do you do? Hibernate? Zone out on the couch? This winter, to overcome the cold-weather doldrums, I am making ridiculous hats that keep me warm AND make me smile. I like to run in my hats, so I make skull-cap style fleece headgear that I then add ears and other details to. This ensures a snug fit that stays put when I'm in motion. Here's the how-to:
First, you need a salad plate to make your pattern. Mine is 8" in diameter. I trace half of the plate, ending at the widest part of the circle.
Then, extend the line from the semi-circle down 2" on either side from the widest point, and connect the two resulting dots. This is the pattern for the sides of your hat. Cut two so the fabric stretches along the straight bottom edge.
You'll also need to cut a strip 5" wide by 15.75" long, so the fabric stretches across the 5" width.
The assembly is quick! Just use the long strip to join the two curved side pieces together with a 1/2" seam allowance. Try it on to check for any needed adjustments and to see how deep you want your hem. I just use a simple fold-up hem, and stretch the fleece very slightly while I sew to give it a little stretch.
You now a basic skull cap.
If you're not into whimsical animal hats, you can call it done. (I have about a dozen of these plain hats rolling around my house, for the record.) But come on! You want animal fun!
I like to just start cutting animal ears freehand,
but if you want some help with shapes, check out our Halloween ears and tails post for a few sample ear patterns. Unlike some of the patterns made for headband use, you want to leave the bottom edge of the ears open for this project.
Once your ears are cut and assembled (just a matter of stitching them together right sides together and then turn them right side out), you may want to shape them a little and baste any folds into place before you stitch them into your hat.
To place your ears, put your hat on (or on your model) and see where you like your ears. I like to mark mine with a small dot or two using a permanent marker.
Once the hat is off your model or self, use the width of your animal ear at its base to mark out a cutting line.
Snip your hat open along the line, then make the same cut on the opposite side.
Insert each ear into its opening and stitch it into place. Make sure to taper the edges of your seam into the curve of the hat, and check your stitching to make sure your ear is securely in place.
Flip your hat right side out, and get ready to model your toasty, cozy animal side!
This is a very, very simple hat, which means it's great for experimenting. Add eyes and a nose if you want a full animal face on your hat. Make a dozen different animals so you have one to match any outfit. This version is for a medium-sized adult head, but this method of making a hat is so simple that you could easily scale it down for a child. Just start with a smaller semi-circle, and measure your resulting side pieces to determine the length of your center strip. You'll also want to adjust the width of the center strip for smaller heads.
Here are a few samples of variations on this hat:
Kermit, just for giggles.
This last example is a hat I made a while back to mimic a
character from a video game. It's a little more involved, but it's all fairly simple applique.
Recreating your favorite animal is as simple as looking at pictures to determine the right ear shape, and then experimenting with your scissors and your creativity. Have at it! It's cold outside!
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