Thursday, January 3, 2013

How to Make a Low-Sew Hat and Also Not Crap Up Your House With Your Craft Projects

In my continuing efforts to organize my house and life, I'm working on a post for Babble about doing craft projects/service projects with your kids. In other words, craft projects that will not clutter up your house because you're going to get rid of them like hot potatoes give them away to a charity or organization in your community.

I do love all things crafty. I totally suck at many crafts, but I enjoy them anyway. And some crafts, I've gotten kind of good at. I only do crafts that use up just enough brain power that I can't think about other stuff, but not so much brain power that it's stressful. For me, it's usually knitting, crochet, and sewing. Although recently I bought a hot glue gun and now I'm like HOW DID I FUNCTION WITHOUT THIS?

I started a lot of crafting with my kids because it was basically occupational therapy for them, when they had sensory issues and fine motor skill issues. We're still crafting together, because a) we don't have cable and b) it's fun.

Since I became a Brownie troop leader, I've been trying to come up with more craft projects that have a purpose. With my troop, I did a low-sew fleece hat project (low-sew for me; no-sew for them) that resulted in 37 warm fleece hats. I did the very minimal sewing involved, and the girls in the troop did all the cutting and tying of the fringe.

The girls each kept one hat for themselves, so that they'd have matching hats for our hikes, and the rest were donated to a nearby school (although not the one they attend) to be distributed by the school's social worker. The church our troop meets in already has a program in place to give things to the school, so we happily just delivered our hats to the church office. Convenient!

If you're interested in making low-sew fleece hats, below is a quick tutorial. I've never tried to make a tutorial before, so this one probably sucks. Sorry about that. You're smart, you'll probably figure it out okay anyway.

If you sew, this is a great use for scrap fleece left over from other projects. If you don't happen to have any fleece scraps the right size, check the cheapy-chip bin of remnants at your fabric store.

How to Make a Warm Fleece Hat That Looks Way More Impressive Than It Really Is:

1. Measure.
Measure out and cut some fleece. For a kid's hat, you'll need a rectangle of about 24 inches by 13 inches. You'll also need a strip of fabric about 1/2 inch by 12 inches.
By the way, fleece is usually stretchier in one direction than the other. You want it to stretch in the direction of the long side (the 24-inch side). 

2. Edge.
You only need to do this to one of the long (24-inch) sides, that's it. Along one long edge, either make a narrow hem or just serger the sucker. If this part really seems annoying, you could totally just skip it, really. Whatever.

3. Seam.
Fold the rectangle in half, right sides facing in, and seam the two shorter (13-inch) sides together. 
Related: I love my serger. It's kind of my baby.

4. Admire the tube you have made so far.
Show everyone in the house what you have made. Because you're awesome.

5. Cut fringe.
Along what is now the top edge of the hat (this is the edge that is unfinished/not hemmed/not sergered), cut fringe. To do this, make incisions about 3 inches long, about a half-inch apart. DO NOT sit there with a ruler and try to measure this. It does not need to be perfect. 
Do this all the way around the top of the hat.
Oh, but try not to cut through the seam.

6. Tie.
Turn the tube right side out and squish the fringey bits together. Remember that strip of fabric from earlier? Gather all the fringe together, and tie that strip of fabric just below where the fringe cuts are. 
If your fringe bits look really uneven, you can take some scissors and trim them up a bit. But really, don't sweat it too much. 

7. Your hat is done.
Go on Facebook and tell everyone you made a hat. Take photos, but try to make them clearer than this crappy one I took. If you're on Pinterest, you should totally put your hat on Pinterest. And then "like" your Pin on Facebook, because everyone needs to know that you made a hat.
Oh, right, also, at some point, give your kid the hat you made. 
Or, donate it so that a less fortunate mom can also have the joy of yelling at her kid to put his hat on.

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  1. Like it! Now if you could only post a tutorial about how to thread your baby serger, I could actually use the thing I bought last year [still codependent on my regular sewing machine]...

  2. A couple of things:
    1) Wouldn't you normally sew the tube with right sides together? Since you later mention turning right side out, I think that is a mistake in the text.
    2) Here's a craft I did with my Brownies. Buy remnants of rug hooking canvas and cut them into 4 or 5 inch square. Raid your fabric stash and rotary cut 1/2" strips of various fabrics. Cross-cut them into 6" lengths. Give the whole pile to the girls and have them weave the strips through the rug netting (you only need to go in one direction), leaving fringe on both sides. You have made a mug rug (coaster). The kids can play with fabric combinations or randomize them or whatever. If the ends are wonky, you might want to help them trim them more evenly. The fabric strips can be pulled through the canvas by hand, but if the kids get frustrated, have a couple of crochet hooks on hand to assist the weaving. (Note: base rug can be any size, just trim the strips to be about 1-2" longer than the base to allow for fringe and trimming. Plus longer strips are easier to handle.) Have fun.

  3. @Physicsmom -- YES -- you're right. I fixed that in my text. Thank you! Also -- cool idea!

  4. I hear ya on the glue gun. I can't sew, so basically I just use my hot glue gun for everything. Good thing I don't make the kids' clothes.

  5. Super cute! I run for the hills when I see the word "sewing" but I can glue gun like a mother.

  6. I'm fairly new to sewing and this looks pretty simple and fun, I just wasn't sure about one of the measurements... how long is the panel of fabric on the long side? the short side is the circumference around the head right? But how long is the long side? Not just the crown measurement I'm assuming. For more interesting information click here.

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