Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Sewing cosy hats ~ use those oddments!

I've discovered that cosy hats can easily be made from knit or other stretch fabric - even a favourite old jersey can be transformed and given fresh life in this way!  In the photo below the one on the left was made from just one such: the jersey was full of holes but the back was still in quite good order.  Rewi needed a new hat, so I measured around his head and then across the back of the pullover and decided I had enough, at least to give it a go.  It was either that or make it into a hottie cover!  The knit fabric was easy to cut into shape and I then secured the edges by zigzag-stitching along them so that they wouldn't unravel.  The result was surprisingly successful.  It encouraged me to experiment further with some polar fleece remnants and I share the results here. 

The one made from the pullover was made out of a single piece and the other was made from four pieces, but the principle is the same: the sides curve inwards to meet at the crown of the head in four parts:

Basically one starts with a pattern piece that looks like Gothic window.  The hat shown above on the right is made up from four identical pieces.

The pattern piece shown here is sized to fit adults.  The top part with the curved sides is 12cms in height; the middle section, which covers ones ears, is 8cms; and then the lower band is the part that turns back, and measures the same amount.  The width of the lower edge is the circumference of the head where it will cover the ears, plus the seam allowances.

I've experimented with sizing and have found that too small felt tight, and a loose fit was just annoying - a snug fit feels most comfortable.   

The following measurements will make it easy to get the sizing about right for anyone you choose to sew for: 

  • Measure from the crown of the head to the middle of an eye-brow, and then from the crown of the head to the bottom of an ear lobe.  These measurements are likely to be the same.  That is your basic measurement for the depth of the hat.    
  • If you want a fold-back decide how deep you want it to be.  I like mine to be about 8cm / three inches. 
  • Add these two figures together.  This is your total single thickness measurement in length.
  • If you want your hat to be fully 'self-lined' in the same fabric double that total.
  • If you want your hat to be only half self-lined decide how much.  You might want to add only half again and leave it at that, or you may wish to line the inside of the top in another fabric.
Circumference and width:
  • Measure around the head taking the tape around where you want the finished lower edge of the hat to sit.   
  • Add seam allowances.  I allow about a quarter of an inch, which is about three quarters of a centimetre.
    • If cutting the hat from a single piece add the seam allowance twice.
    • If cutting the hat from four pieces add the seam allowance eight times.  
  • Add these figures together to get your total and then divide by the number of pieces used. Since your fabric has a bit of stretch in it, this will give a snug fit.
If you're unsure what sort of fit will suit you, make your pattern piece larger rather than smaller as you can always unpick and re-cut it.  

Cutting out:
  • To fully self-line your hat in the same fabric, double your fabric over and place your pattern piece on the fold.  This will give you a piece that looks like this:
  • Check your fabric for any obvious 'nap' (surface sheen or pile that lies particularly in one direction) or pattern and adapt the layout of your pattern pieces accordingly.
  • Cut four of them.
Sewing the hat:
  • Lay the pieces with right sides together, having again checked that any nap is lying in the same direction, and pin the four seams.  
  • Stitch the seams, leaving an opening in one of them of about five to six centimetres on the upper end of one of the straight parts: this is where you pull the hat inside out.  
  • Note: I sewed each of my seams in two parts, starting from somewhere in the middle of the length of the seam as this made it easier to get the end of the second seam to match the other pieces where they meet in a point - make sure that you stop your seam leaving the seam allowance for the other side clear, which will give you a nice clean finish.  If this sounds confusing I'm sure that it will make sense when you are actually doing it on the machine!  I hope so anyway!  

Now you can reverse your hat through the hole.  Here is it right side out, looking rather like a deflated rugby ball:

Now push one end inside the other, turn the edge back and voilĂ !

It took me a while to work out how to get the sizing right, but having done so I found these quick and easy to make - less than an hour each, and if you have suitable fabrics in your scrap bag as I did it costs nothing at all.  Now I call that economical!

Link to another article about sewing polar fleece:

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