How to Make a Kitty Hat (for Humans!)comments (7) October 5th, 2012
If you are a cat lover and a lover of wacky hats (like me!), you can use this design for yourself, but you can definitely downsize it to a kid's hat if that's more appealing to you. Make it with button eyes, appliqué nose, and embroidered mouth like I did, or mix up the techniques and make your hat your own.
- A sweater to cut up (it can be felted, but it doesn't have to be)
- Sewing machine
- Buttons, with needle and thread
- Scrap fabric for appliqué
- Embroidery floss or yarn and needle
- Any other embellishment materials you want to use
I used a sweater with only a small percentage of wool and mostly synthetic fibers, which means it does not felt. If you are using an all-animal-fiber sweater (like wool), you can felt it first to thicken it up and keep it from unraveling. Because this hat is made with the sweater bottom edge as the hat bottom edge, and the cut sides are sewn closed, you don't need to worry about nonfelted sweaters unraveling.
First, you need to cut out your rectangular hat shape. Decide how wide your hat should be-I wanted my hat to be extra wide so it would flop down on the sides, so I cut it about 12 inches wide for my 22-inch head. You'll get kitty ears from the rectangle-shaped hat whether or not it's extra wide. Remember seam allowance, and if you want a more fitted hat, then cut it a little less than your head size divided in half. And for the height, I cut it about 7 inches high, but if you're not making yours extra wide, then you should make it higher by an inch or two. One side seam of the sweater will be a side seam on the hat, so with the sweater lying flat, just cut through both layers straight up for the other side and straight across the top. You can always cut in more, so if you're not sure how big to cut it, try bigger than you think is good, hold it around your head, and trim more where needed.
Now turn it so the right sides are facing, and sew up the side and top using a zigzag stitch. Try not to stretch it at all while sewing-the more it's stretched, the more it'll ruffle!
You can leave it at that, or you can sew back over all the seams for extra security and neatness. Turn the hat right side out, open it up, and sew right on top of the seams with a zigzag stitch, so it zigzags from one side of the seam to the other side.
It's a bit tricky going over the pointy ear parts, but if you go slowly and stretch out the fabric at the ears, you can sew from the side to the top and back down the other side without stopping.
When your seams are done, poke your finger, a pen, or scissors tip into the ear points to make them nice and pointy. Now your hat base is done, so you can get started on the fun embellishing part! First, pick out your materials-I like to place all different buttons on the hat to see what looks best before committing. I also love to layer buttons for eyes to give the eyes a dimensional look-in this case, I really lucked out by coming across these black and white buttons that look like eyes! I decided to layer them on top of some plain buttons for the eye outlines. If you have a more limited supply without eye-looking buttons, you can still get cool effects with more basic layered buttons, or you could always choose to use googly eyes!
Add your kitty face embellishments in any order you want...I started by first stitching on the nose appliqué. I just used embroidery thread to stitch it on around the edges. Then I used the same orange floss to stitch the mouth. For embroidering short lines, I like to do it like this:
I find that method the easiest for stand-alone lines like the mouth, instead of doing a backstitch, because this way my floss is back where I started, to stitch the other side and/or to tie it to the other end.
By the way, you can definitely use yarn instead of embroidery floss for your hat embellishments. I often use yarn to stitch on sweater fabric. So next I stitched on my bottom layer of buttons.
Then I just stitched my shank buttons on top, through the first buttons' holes. You can use regular (non-shank) buttons for the top layer too, which will lie flat, whereas putting shank buttons on top of flat buttons make them pop out and wiggle around.
You can also add whiskers with more embroidery, machine topstitching, or whatever other techniques you like! Don't limit yourself to using the same embellishment methods that I used-check out these other versions I've made!
Or you can make a ferocious kitty by adding some felt teeth across the bottom!
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