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Friday, January 18, 2008
Patternless Fleece Hat Tutorial
Yesterday I went through several projects-worth of fleece scraps and used what I could to make winter hats. Through trial and error, I developed a nearly fool-proof way to make fleece hats using the head measurements of the person the hat is intended for. The hat is made from one rectangle of fleece. It is fairly simple, and so it is quite possible that I am not the only person who has discovered this style of hat. It would make a good gift, and can be very inexpensive depending on the fabric used. It would be a good donation to charities such as homeless shelters in the wintertime. The double layer of cloth over the ears makes it warmer and more wind-proof.
I estimate that one yard of inexpensive fleece ($3 to $10 at a discount store, or you could buy fleece blankets in good condition from a thrift store) would make up to 6 adult hats, and more than that if you were making hats for children. Once the basic style is mastered, it lends itself easily to variations such as color blocking and stripes.
If you are not confident marking the measurements directly onto your fleece and cutting, you can draw them onto newspaper and pin that paper pattern to your fabric, just as you would use a store-bought pattern.
Materials Needed: measuring tape, ruler, chalk, adequate amount of fleece for the project (a rectangle approx. 12" by 22" should be enough for most sizes), scissors, sewing machine, thread, and a hand sewing needle
Step 1: Measure around your head, or the head of the intended recipient of the hat. If you do not know their head measurement, I have found that a small adult's head is around 21 inches, and a large adult's head is around 23 inches. This measurement will henceforth be referred to as H.
Step 2: Subtract 1 from H and add 1/2 (H - 1 + 1/2). We will call this measurement W. This is the width of the fabric piece for the hat.
Step 3: Using chalk, mark out a rectangle on your fleece fabric, with a height of 12" (children's hats should have a height of 10", or the approximate distance from the center of the top of the head to the bottom of the ear, plus 2.75") and a width of W. Please ensure that W is laid across the stretchiest grain, whether crosswise or lengthwise, so that the most stretch goes around the head.
Step 4: Fold the rectangle in half right sides together. This should give you a rectangle measuring 12" by 1/2W". Using a 1/4" seam, sew along the open 12" side and one of the 1/2W sides with a straight stitch, leaving one side open. This is the head opening of the hat, the bottom hem.
Step 5: Fold up 2 and 3/4 inches along the bottom hem. Sew using a zig-zag or three-step zig-zag stitch.
Step 6: Turn the hat right side out. Now you have what is essentially a square hat. If nothing is done to shape it to the head, it will stick up like cat ears. Quit here if you like that look.
Step 7: Head shaping: Take each of the top corners and bring them together in the middle. Sew the corners together by hand with needle and thread.