This hat that I sewed for my 3 year old grandson was made based on the Urban Wabbit Hunting Cap (“wabbit” is not a typo) in this One Yard Wonders book of sewing projects. It is my first project from this book. To begin, here is a summary of the deviations I made from the materials and instructions in the book:
- I downsized the height (narrower aspect) of the side band and the ear flap in addition to the designer’s downsizing guidelines.
- I used polar fleece for the lining and a thin wale corduroy for the outside.
- I lined the crown of the hat also.
- I used a piece of thin plastic to stiffen the brim.
- I encased the earflap in the seam of the side band and side band lining.
- I did a more topstitching than directed.
- I attached the brim by overlapping, without covering the seam with lining.
I am not going to give all of the sewing instructions, because they are in the book. However, I will mention what I need to in order to explain how I altered my process.
The original pattern is listed as for a head circumference of 22 – 24 inches. The photos were of a young lady wearing a finished cap. My grandson’s head circumference was 22 inches. I decided to downsize for a more secure fit for him. Besides adjusting the circumference, per pattern instructions, I estimated that his head was also a tad shorter shorter than an adult head. So, I cut the band pieces ¼ inch narrower, as well as 1.5 inches shorter. The size of the side bands I cut for him was 23 inches by 4.5 inches.
I cut the ear flaps down similarly, 1.5 inches the long way, but ½ inch the short way (I think of the short way as the height of the earflap, since that is the direction it will be when worn.) Thus, the finished earflap pattern pieces were 14 inches by 3.5 inches, with the two corners rounded per book instructions with a small drinking glass for a template.
To resize the crown, I tried to use a measured piece of string because I thought it would be easier to lay in place than a tape measure. It probably was easier than that, but next time I will remember to use my flexible ruler. The string kept wanting to go back to it’s previously crumpled shape, but I taped it in place and that helped.
Polar fleece lining and corduroy outer shell:
The whole idea was to make a very warm hat. And I was partial to using some of my polar fleece scraps to line it. Realizing that this added bulk was not part of the original design, I decided it was best to only line the hat with the polar fleece and use a thinner fabric for the outer shell. The original pattern shows the outer shell and lining all cut from the same fabric, but there was obviously no reason I couldn’t cut them from different fabrics.
Lining the crown:
I could not see making a hat that was soft and warm everywhere except on top! I cut one crown piece out of corduroy and one out of polar fleece. (click on any photo to enlarge)
Keeping the brim in shape:
One of my goals, and time constraints, was only using materials on hand. I did not have any interfacing near stiff enough to make the brim. Allowing the hat to be washable was a priority, so that ruled out things like cardboard. I finally settled on cutting the clear plastic sleeve off of an old notebook. I then placed the clear plastic over the pattern piece and traced the seam lines with a marker. I cut this out with my Cutco scissors, NOT my sewing scissors!
Once the brim pieces were sewn at the outside curve, turned, and top stitched, the plastic piece was just slipped inside, between the two layers. This is a good place to mention that I topstitched 2 narrow rows around the outer curve of the brim to make it lay extra neat and flat. When I was putting the brim together and sewing it to the hat, I found I needed to trim another ⅜ inch or so off of the concave part (the part that gets sewn onto the hat). Otherwise, there was not enough fabric allowance to work with. I didn’t want to be trying to sew through the plastic and I didn’t want it sticking out painfully anywhere.
I am definitely going to have to see where I might buy some similar plastic for future hats, but might recommend not putting it in the dryer.
Sewing in the side band lining:
Because I was going to encase the earflap raw edges in the seam when sewing the 2 circles on one edge, I made sure the earflap was ready now. Then I basted it to one long edge of the outer shell circle according to markings, raw edges even and “right” sides, or like fabrics, together. It probably doesn’t matter which one you baste it to, outer or lining, but in this case the outer shell fabric was less prone to any undesirable stretching, so I chose it. I just wanted to end up with the outer shell all facing out and the polar fleece lining facing the inside, unless the earflap was folded up, of course.
I find it helps polar fleece to lay more cleanly at such seams when I under stitch as much as possible. Thus, after stitching the polar fleece lining to the outer shell corduroy RIGHT sides together, I now folded the seam allowance toward the polar fleece and, keeping the corduroy and earflap FREE, under stitched about ⅛ inch from seam. This is like top stitching, but just doesn’t include all layers.
Attaching the crown:
Here, I found it worked best to first sew the crown to only the corduroy side band. After reinforcing that seam with a zigzag stitch just inside the seam allowance, trimming it close to the zigzag, and top stitching the seam allowances to the side band, I pulled the polar fleece lining up and pinned it to hold it positioned evenly around the crown. The next step takes a little faith and blind fingering, but really wasn’t difficult. Turning the hat right sides (corduroy side) out, I stitched “in the ditch” of the crown-side band seam to FLAT FELL the polar fleece lining as I attached it. Since polar fleece does not unravel and the edges are soft, I saw no reason to create bulk there with more folding.
Attaching the brim:
Since the inner edge of the brim was not going to be covered by the lining, I worked at making its edges as neat and trim as I could. It would be soft, because of the polar fleece. I did the reinforcing zigzag inside the seam allowance, trimmed it to about ¼ inch, and parred down the far end tips of the curve, as they were not helping anything. With the brim pinned so that its edge was about ⅜ inch slipped under the front edge of the front section of the side bands, I top stitched it in 2 rows about ⅛ inch apart. I made one of these rows of top stitching right on top of the top stitching that was already there.
The hat was a hit with everyone. It sort of fits one of my college age daughters, although she said it would definitely be better with the completely larger dimensions. I told my daughter-in-law that if my grandson has any trouble with it falling off, I could easily add some ties for under the chin.
The hat could be made as a summer cap with lighter weight fabric and leaving off the earflap, assuming it wasn’t wanted for sun protection. I see many hats in my future using this pattern!