Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tutorial: Felt Leprechaun Hat

I grew up in an Irish family, so we've always had fun celebrating St. Patrick's day. The Monkey has been looking forward to St. Patrick's day for a while, regularly asking me if it's here yet, and telling me that he's "celebrating being Irish." So I wanted to make him something fun to help him celebrate. This felt leprechaun hat was just right.

Little Leprechaun

Before you get started, figure out how big you'll need to make the hat. Measure the circumference of your (or your child's) head. This will help you figure out how big to cut your pieces. And keep the following formula in mind: circumference = pi x diameter.

In my case, The Monkey's head is ~18.5".
18.5 = 3.14 x diameter
Diameter = 18.5/3.14 = 5.89"
I rounded up to 6" to make measurements easier


Green Felt -- 3/4 yard
Black Felt -- 1/8 yard
Yellow felt -- 8 x 11 sheet
Green, Black, and Yellow thread
Basic sewing supplies

(This hat was made to fit a toddler. More yardage may be needed for a larger hat.)

1.) Start by cutting all your pieces.

From the green felt, cut:
2 x 12" diameter circles (If your head diameter is more than about 7", you'll want these circles to be a little bigger)
Cut a circle from the center of the 12" circles that is the diameter of your child's head. (Based on my calculations above, I cut my circle to be 6"). Save one of these circles to be the top of the hat.
Rectangle that is 12" x (circumference + 1" seam allowance). My rectangle was 12" x 20".

From the black felt, cut:
Strip 4" x (circumference + 1" seam allowance). My strip was 4" x 20".

From yellow felt, cut:
4" x 5.5" rectangle

2.) Make the brim

Sew the two large circles together with about a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn through the holes in the center and press seam flat. Baste center circle edges. Set the brim aside.

3). Make the buckle

Start by grabbing your yellow rectangle.

Mark cutting lines about 3/4" in from each side, and starting about 3/4" from the top and bottom. Cut slits into your rectangle along these lines.

Thread your black strip through the slits, and center the buckle on the strip.

Place the belt and buckle on your green rectangle with the bottom of the buckle about 1" up from the bottom of the rectangle, and pin in place.

Stitch the belt in place. You probably don't absolutely need to stitch the buckle down as well, but I did. I thought it would reduce the chances that it would get caught on something and rip off.

4) Now it's time to make the hat

Fold rectangle in half, right sides facing, and stitch up the side with a 1/2" seam allowance.

Turn right side out and admire your handiwork :-)

Now it's time to put the top on the hat. Begin by using a needle and thread and making a long running stitch around the edge of the top of the hat.

Once you have a running stitch all the way around, you will be able to tug on the "tails" of the thread to gather the top of the hat. The top of the hat will probably not match the circumference of the circle exactly, so this little gathering technique will allow you to adjust the size of the hat to fit the circle.

Pin the 6" circle (that you cut from the center of the brim) to the top of the hat (right sides facing) and stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Now the top of the hat is done, and is ready to be attached to the brim.

5) Attach the top of the hat to the brim

With right sides facing, pin hat to center circle of brim.

Stitch in place with 1/4" seam allowance.

6) Enjoy your hat!

The Monkey loves his new hat!

He's been wearing it everywhere, and has told me he can't wait to wear it on St. Patrick's day. And since the first attempt at this hat was too big for the Monkey, there's one for Grandma too.

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