Monday, November 21, 2011

upcycle an old sweatshirt - part 2

I recently found some old sweatshirts which I knew would never be worn again, and decided to put them to better use!  In part 1 I used the sleeves to make some mittens for my little boy (with not so little hands!)

Today is all about making a little beanie/baby hat out of the old sweatshirts.  It's great, because the fabric is already warm, soft, and stretchy!

So the first thing you'll need to do is figure out the size.  If you already have a similar hat, you can just measure that, and add some room for the seam allowances.  If not, then you'll have to measure the head of the person the hat is intended for.  

Once you have the head circumference, you'll want to divide it by 2.  So for example, if the head circumference is 18", then your magic number (we'll call it x) will be 9.  The circumference divided by two works because this gives you room for the seams, and then the fabric will stretch just a little over the head and keep it snugly in place.

I would also recommend measuring from just above the brow to the top of the head.  My first hat ended up a little too short because I kind of just eyeballed it... oops!  It kind of looks like a little sailor hat.

(And I promise my son doesn't always look like a zombie - he's watching Toy Story.  It's the only way I can get him to hold still long enough for a picture.)

So this hat was 9" across (remember, x=9), and only 5" tall.  I think a better ratio is to do about .66x tall (9 x .66 = 6)  You'll see hat #2 shortly, which fits much better.

So let's recap on the measurements:  

1. Measure the head circumference. 
2. Divide by 2 to find x.
3. x = the width of the pattern piece you will cut out
4. .66x = the height of the pattern piece you will cut out

And for those of you who hate math like I do, here are some pictures:

The pattern on the left is the good one.  The one on the right is the one used on the first hat that was too short.

Once you have your measurements, you'll need to make a pattern.  It's really pretty easy.  Use vellum or tracing paper if you have it, or just computer paper if you don't.

1. Measure out x length across the bottom of the paper.
2. Find the middle, then measure .66x up from that mid point on the base.
3. Draw a neat curve from the peak of the hat down to the brim.  You can use a large circular object to guide you if you're not confident in your own abilities.  But since you still have to sew it anyway, it doesn't have to be perfect.  To make it symmetrical, I like to draw out one side, then cut it out, fold it, and trace it on the other side.

Next you'll need to cut out your pattern pieces.

For the first hat I cut out the pieces vertically, which worked fine

But for the second, I cut them on an angle, because that was the direction the fabric was stretchiest.  So just give the sweatshirt a few tugs, and see which way it stretches most.  You'll want the base of the hat going the direction of the stretch, so it will stretch around the head.

You may also notice that both sweatshirts are missing the little stretch band at the bottom.  That's because I cut it off to use for the brim of the hats!  It works so well because it's nice and stretchy, and it's already a finished edge!  (I'm lazy like that.)
So go ahead and just cut the whole thing right off.  You can measure it out after it's cut.  You'll need approximately 2x (the head circumference).

Now you're ready to sew!

Pin the right sides of hat pieces together, and stitch around the curve with 3/8" seam allowance.

Now pin the right side of the brim piece (although really, either side could be the "right" side) to the wrong side of the hat.

Stitch the ends of the brim piece together to make a circle.

Stitch the brim onto the hat.

Turn it right side out, flip up the brim, and you're done!

  If you don't want to the brim to be able to fold back down, simply tack it in place with a few stitches.

You can add an appliqué or other decorations to the hat if you want, but it's ready to wear!  I'm contemplating adding some doggie ears and a little doggie face to this brown one.  Then it would match the little slippers I made from the sweatshirt that you'll get to see in part 3!

(Slightly less zombie-like in this picture.  Only slightly.  And this hat definitely fits better.)

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