The lovely unexpected sunny weather we were having last weekend (shorts and t shirts in October) reminded me of all the sunhats I made this summer. I was inspired by Toni-Maree from Sew Jereli’s post about making 6 sunhats from the free Oliver and S downloadable bucket hat pattern.
I was only planning on making 3 hats, not 6 (although as they’re reversible you sort of make 2 hats for each one made so that’s kind of 6), but I got a little obsessed…
This was the first time I’d downloaded pattern and I had to go round to my mum’s to use her printer, but other than that it was quite straightforward. Although it had just 3 fairly small pattern pieces. Printing it out at 100% yielded the test 2″ square too small (Possible US to UK conversion issues? I didn’t check if it was set to letter or A4. I probably should’ve delved around in the print option menu), but printing it out at 120% was spot on, and only a little of the corners of the pattern was missing, easy to reconstruct. I printed it out at 140% too, as my son has inherited my big head and part of the reason for making him a hat was that shop bought age 4-6 didn’t fit him and there are less choices in larger sizes.
My main frustration was trying to work out if the pattern included the seam allowance mentioned in the instructions or if I had to add it on. I eventually found out that it was included, maybe that should’ve been obvious to me but it wasn’t and that 1/2 inch both sides of the hat would’ve made for a very different fit, so I wanted to be sure before I started.
Like Toni I used Jessica from A Little Gray’s construction method of making the inner and outer hat and joining them round the brim, leaving a little hole to turn them the right way around, rather than the method in the instructions. Having read several accounts from people who had trouble with fitting the pieces at least one of whom worried it was due to stretched fabric pieces, I stay stitched each piece before construction the first time, but I didn’t do it subsequent times and I don’t think it made any difference.
And how was fitting the curved crown to the straighter sides? Well, it’s not straight forward, but I found it worked just fine for me with patience. I cut triangular notches (just snips like I think Toni did from her photo didn’t work for me). I found they had to be about 1cm apart, that’s a lot of notches. Then I pinned the four points where the pattern indicates to line it up. Then I stretched and pinned between two sets of these points at a time. Often it wasn’t quite right on the first pin, so I unpinned and re did it. Sometimes 2 or 3 times. But it paid off, there were no unsightly folds or bumps in my seams.
Be careful if you pin in line with your sewing like me (rather than at right angles) when taking the pins out as you go, not to take them out too soon as the fabric pings out of place. And when you come to do the brim it feels so easy as the curve is flatter. (This is a pattern where the bigger sizes are easier to make as the curve is not so tight.)
Of course, you still need to pay attention or you can make really stupid mistakes….
Apart from the pinning of the seam round the crown, this pattern makes up really quickly, and I love the nice crisp effect when you press and topstitch the crown seam.
As the size 4-6 fit my 5 year old, I wanted a bigger size for her getting on for 7 year old brother. So I overlaid the printed too big and printed correctly oval crown pieces to work out the approximatw sizes of my “too big” pieces. The smaller sizes on my “too big” print out fell half way between larger sizes on the correct one and then I guestimated. (I have some inkling of hard the mathematics of ellipses (ovals) is so this seemed by far the easiest solution.) I had to fill in some missing curves where the print didn’t fit on the paper but that was pretty straight forward.
His hat I wanted to make in the pirate fabric, like his shirt, but what to put on the other side? I was inspired by a post by Dana on Dana Made It on customising fabric for boys and decided to make a red lining to match the buttons on his shirt, with a logo on the front. The logo was a circle of denim with a star (traced from a sticker) machine stitched onto it. I didn’t finish the edges of the circle, leaving them to fray. Later when the boy was home from school, he instructed me to topstitch on the brim in a spiral shape (rather than concentric circles) in gold thread. The spiral isn’t noiciably different (but it is quicker) and the gold thread rocks, I wish I’d used it for the star.
In the end we both preferred the red side to the pirate side and it gets worn much more that way. I’m so glad I did this rather than buy another print. I find it easy to pick out patterns when shopping for fabric (or clothes) and to overlook plain things. Must try and remember than plain is good!
The third hat was a present for a 5 year old friend who likes pretty dresses and football and was having a Pirate Princess party (I think she’s pretty cool). I forgot to take a photo but it doesn’t really matter as one side matched the flowerey side of my daughters and the other the pirate side of my sons. My two really liked that it matched both of theirs and I hope it helped her be confident wearing pirate things after she’d taken a pirate umbrella to school and had been told by a friend it was a boys umbrella. Plus I liked the contrast.
So, did I stop at 3? With such a easy pattern that dosn’t take much fabric. Of course not…
Then I was asked to make one for a newborn boy. I wanted to avoid pale blue and light brown that my son’s wardrobe was overwhelmed with at that age. So I searched my stash and put my thinking cap on.
A small piece of fleece and some basic machine embroidery seemed to work ok….
Finally I wanted to make one for me, after all I struggle to get hats to fit too. I found an old favourite t shirt from when I was about 19! It had brown stains from careless use of photography developing fluid (and a slight odour), but I thought I could try and reuse the print. There wasn’t enough to make a whole hat, just the sides, plus I don’t like to wear a lot of white, so I paired it with a turquoise t shirt that had a kind of mottled body that I used for the crown and swirly arms that looked vaguely wave like that I used for the brim, as water and penguins go together. I just used a regular needle and straight stitch for my fabric, as I didn’t have the right kit for sewing knits and I didn’t think that the seams would work in zig zag. I think the fabric I was upcycling something that I’d forgotten I had gave me the confidence as it didn’t matter if it went wrong. As it was it sewed just fine.
I think it worked, it may be a little quirky but then it’s reversible. I was worried how the black lines from the frame on the original t shirt would look, but as the side pieces are curved they make a cool looking almost triangle on each side which I rather like. I’m pleased with my penguin placement, nearly all of them are whole on the finished hat.
I didn’t think that knitted t shirt fabric was firm enough on it’s own for a hat, so on the reverse I used a stretchy red denim fabric that I had lying about to add some structure and also because I like it. I think the slight stretchyness helped me match it to the t shirt fabric. This was definitely a slightly harder hat to construct than the ones in polycotton. I emulated his hat by adding a blue circle of t shirt fabric with a spiral logo. Rather than sewing it on around the circumfrence of the circle like before, I zig zagged around the spiral arms and continued it out freehand to the hat. I rather like the effect.
The problem is, with all these spirally brim bits I wasn’t quite sure how to topstitch the brim together, so it’s looking a little baggy and wierd. As summer was nearly over by the time I got around to making mine, I’ve just left it for now and I hope that a solution will come to me by next summer. It is also, amazingly, a little bit big, first time ever!
Phew, that was a lot of hats (and ramblings about them).