Monday, November 24, 2008

Making Your Own Personal Magical Hat

Today I made a magical hat. Seriously. Details? you ask.

1. Cheap.
2. Easy.
3. Fast.
4. Fits both me and my son. Magic, I tell ya.

Once upon a time, in a library very close to my home, while trying to browse for inspiration and at the same time prevent one child from using the rolling step stool as a vehicle which careens down aisles at the speed of light as well as prevent the other smaller child from pulling off the shelves every single book within reach, I stumbled upon a book called Super Crafty. And in this magic book was a magic project... the sweater hat. Now, I feel okey-dokey about presenting the directions for this project here because my sweater hat took a drastic turn in design from the original hat presented in this magical book. It was definitely the inspiration, though, so here's another shout-out to Super Crafty.

All righty... here's what you need.

1. Sweater with ribbed bottom edge- can be wool, cotton, whatever. Practically any size will work.
2. Sewing machine
3. General sewing stuff... scissors and thread.

And where, you ask, did I purchase my lovely sweaters? Why, that would be at the lovely thrift store down the street where clothes go on sale for $1. Yes, that's ONE DOLLAR. Now, the sweaters I bought aren't super duper cute or anything... frankly, they were right at home in the thrift store. But, I know that one of these days I am going to come across the perfect little striped Gap sweater that is in the wrong size for me to wear but the perfect size to reincarnate into a sweater hat for myself.

So, the important thing about your sweater is that it has a ribbed bottom edge since that will be the edging for your new hat. Here are my $1 beauties...

1. Wash your sweater. Because really, people, it came from the thrift store. If you're using your own personal sweater to make this hat, then I release you from washing it again. I have germ issues, though, so hey, a little extra washing won't hurt.

2. Size your sweater to your head. In my case, I wrapped the sweater edge around the head of my not-so-excited-about-this-project son. (And that would be why there is not a picture of this step.) Anyhow, I basically just stuck the bottom edge on his head and then pinched the two sides together at what seemed to be a comfortable size to get the length; mark with a pin. Squeeze the two layers together at the top marking that with a pin.

3. Lay the sweater out flat and cut out two rectangles from the sweater. Make sure to cut the sweater larger than your pin marks as you want to leave enough for the seam allowance. In my case, I actually cut the rectangle while keeping the original side seam (on the left in the pic) still intact. In hindsight, I wouldn't do it this way again as that seam ended up being bulkier than I would have liked. I would simply cut two rectangles from the middle of the sweater.

4. Turn your sweater piece(s) inside out and sew the open side (or sides if you cut your rectangles from the middle) together. I used a straight stitch and made sure to reinforce the stitches at the starting and stopping places. (If you are concerned about the strength of the stitches or unravelling, you can do a straight stitch and then go over the edges with a zig zag stitch. Honestly, it seems strong enough to me, though.) Leave the top open. The stitched side is now on the left in the pic below.

5. Stick the little undone hat on your head and arrange it properly across your forehead. Squeeze the open sides of the hat together at the top and mark with a pin. Continue down from the crown of your head, squeezing the sides together and marking with a pin. Here is what mine looked like after doing one side of my son's head...

See the half circle of pins on the right side? I just tried to match them and eyeball the left side.

6. Stitch along the marked half-circle, being careful to try and gradually blend the stitches along the half circle into the stitches on the side of the hat. Honestly, you could simply start from the beginning by pinning out this cloche shape and stitching it all at once... I was just unsure of the fit, so I decided to split the steps.

7. Cut the extra fabric away and trim your extra threads. As you can see, eyeballing the opposite side of the hat didn't work out so well for me! Turn the hat right side out, though, and you can't tell! Ah, but that's the beauty of the magic hat... it is a hat that forgives.


You can leave your hat as is or try to tailor it a bit more for fit. I went in and added another line (a straight line this time) of stitching perpendicular to the original line across the top. This made the hat fit better along the front and back of the head.

And what makes this hat so great? Besides the fact that it is cheap, easy, and fast? It seriously does fit both me and my kid. Magic.

I have no idea how that happened, other than knits are stretchy and forgiving! So, be assured, this project doesn't require a whole lot of precision. Did you hear me? I said it is *easy*. Whole thing took me less than 20 minutes and wouldn't take as long next time. So, sum total of time for this project... 20 minutes. Sum total of monetary investment in this project... $1. Love it.

Your hat will vary based on the sweater you choose. For instance, my sweater happened to be a pretty thick knit and is wool. A lighter sweater in a finer gauge yarn and material will yield a hat with smoother seams, etc. When using a striped sweater you'll want to make sure that the stripes match up as you stitch.

I plan on making myself one of these (not to share with my lovely little one) and embellishing it up with a stitched flower with a button in the middle. I may even get adventurous and add a little microfiber liner so that I can wear it while skiing next year. Cause a girl's gotta look cute on the slopes.

By the way... this would make a brilliant last minute gift for the holidays... I'm just sayin'.




  1. WOW!!! I wanna make one RIGHT NOW...but I'm at I guess I'll wait!!!! LOL! THANKS for this idea...I LOVE IT!! are adorable in your magic hat!!!! *wink*

  2. Now that is toooo cute and I could see it being a hit around here with three grandsons.

  3. Wow what an absolutely BRILLIANT idea girl! That is the best!

  4. So cool....I am thinking right I have a sweater that would work?

  5. OK, you are too talented!!! How cute is this?????

  6. it looks so cute on his head! hehe Cute kid!

  7. Awesome hat, Jess! Lovin' this idea!!! I'll have to round some old sweaters and try one for myself. Such a cool idea!

  8. You crack me! That is a wicked CUTE cap, girl!

  9. Hi!

    Wanted you to know I posted a link to this tutorial today on my blog, PaperFriendly.

    Nancy Ward