Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas 2017 Gift One: A Fleece Hat

To those who are new to the blog or haven't cared to read old posts (I can't really blame if you don't want to *laugh*) a quick introduction here.  Welcome to my yearly "Gift a Day" series where you get to read about what I am making for Christmas gifts this year! Wondering what I've made in previous years?  You can check out the other gifts I've made here.

My rules for making Christmas gifts are normally pretty simple for myself in that I TRY to keep each gift made within 24 total hours (this can take place over a week or more per gift sometimes, but I do try to stick to the 24 hour rule if I can).  This is mainly because I'm really busy any time of year, but ESPECIALLY this time of year so I try to keep my stress levels from making me curl up under the table with a cup of coffee, muttering to myself with my hair messily tied in a knot on top of my head hoping for a few moments of respite from everything because I can't find the brain capacity to figure out where my hair elastic went (the curling up under the table with the cup of coffee might or might not have something to do with looking for the hair elastic...depending on the year).  I usually have varying success rates with this way of doing things.

There are a couple of really big pros to making your own gifts.  One, it can be really cheap if you shop at garage sales and thrift/used stores for the materials to make things or can be even cheaper if you recycle something like an old sheet and use it to make gifts out of.  And two, home made gifts, to me, just mean more and I really do enjoy making them for those I love. 

So, let's get 2017's Christmas gift making season started here with my first gift of this year.  A fleece hat.  Specifically a "Fleece bomber hat" (via the pattern I worked from) or as I like to call it "A ski cap" because that is what we always seemed to call this style of hat when I was in New England growing up (mind you that was a long time ago, so I could have been screwed up about it even back then *laugh*).

My son likes to wear hats, which is good, but he HATES to wear hats over his ears because he has a hard time with the way the hat angles down the head and keeps trying to either pull the hat up so it's level and not covering his ears or he pulls the brim down to be straight and covers his eyes.  Either way...not what I, as a parent, want.  So, I've actually been trying to find a cap in this style, with the ear flaps, for a while that would fit the son's head (he's got a big head), but wasn't having much luck. 

A couple of years ago, though, at the used store, I ran across something that intrigued me and I took a chance on it.  There was a soft clear plastic zip up tote thing in the craft section that had a bunch of stuff in it from the looks of it and the tag that had been stuffed into the front of the tote (probably from whoever had donated the tote) just said, "Fleece Hats and Scarves".  The zipper part was secured shut so you couldn't open it and look around inside, but I could see just by flipping it over a couple of times that there was cut out fleece pieces for something inside, there was a lot of cut out patterns in there and some patterns in the envelopes as well.  The entire tote was 1.00.  I couldn't resist the gamble and bought it. 

The tote of stuff then got shoved into the "potential Christmas gifts for later" pile with me not really having looked at it too closely.  It then got transferred around to different areas over the last couple of years.  Well, when I was rearranging my den earlier last month I came across the tote and finally opened it to see what was inside.  I found the pattern for the above hat and found the pieces already cut out (not the ties, though, those I did from scratch) among other things (some of which are pieces that are cut out that don't go to any of the patterns in the tote, so I am going to see what I can do with the remnants of fleece instead).   There was home made directions to go with the pieces for the hat, but the pattern instructions...oooh boy those were terrible.  And I mean TERRIBLE!  Like the explanation and graphics that were drawn to explain boxing the corners on the hat?  If you had followed said directions you would have met the corners of the hat together, ended up with a glorified dunce cap and the cap would have ended up fitting a teddy bear. 

Anyway, I quickly realized that the directions were not going to work.  Which led to a lot of me sitting in my car waiting for the son at therapy appointments or waiting in the car to get the kids from school and things and just thinking of how logically the hat would have to go together.  And after about 15 times getting it wrong and ripping it out again and again, I FINALLY got everything (relatively...the top part of the hat above the band is still a bit off kilter) where it needed to be and got the hat put together.

I tried the hat on after I made it to make sure it would fit an adult and it did, but I was still worried about whether it would fit the son since it was still a bit tight on me.  I decided I would have to model it on him so I went up and made him try it on.  It was a bit tight at first, but I just stretched the fleece a few times and the hat fit perfect (fleece actually does stretch pretty smart like me now instead of being dumb like I used to be when I first started sewing and use a zig zag stitch when sewing fleece items...the zig zag stitch will hold up to the stretching of the fabric perfectly while a straight stitch will be just as likely to pop out).  The son actually stole it and ran around giggling with it on his head for a while, so I am going to call it a win.

Total time to make hat:  Once I had the methodology down on how the thing had to go together I had it sewn up in less than an hour.  I am going to add in about another hour, though, for the multiple times I had to rip the brim apart to figure out how it was supposed to be sewn together and line up...that was miserable.

Total cost to make gift:  I am going to say about .25 since there are other patterns and pieces of fleece in the kit I got.  The ties I made with some flat fancy yarn my step-mom sent me and the thread my step-mom gifted me as well.

By the way, if you notice a tremendous lack of silver tinsel in the background of the photos this year helping to make the gifts look all Christmasy...blame my son who got a hold of the tinsel and made the den look like a tinsel bomb went off in it late last year.  Kids.  Gotta love them!


  1. Fabulous job, Erika!

  2. The hat is so awesome--love the colors! It was very much worth the time to puzzle out the construction, now that you can make them easily for gifts. Everyone from kindergarteners to college kids are still wearing these in New England!

  3. PS Try making the ties from braids made of thin(ish) strips of the hat fleece!

  4. You always rock it!

  5. That is one super cute hat! Way to go!

  6. I is adorable. I love the colors. Cheryl

  7. Great job on the hat. I am making a lot of zipper pouches. There's always google and you tube for help in figuring things out.
    I really enjoy your blog.

  8. CUTE! I want one! I needed this last night when we were leaving work. It was 19 degrees outside! Winter is here.

    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry