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10 April 2010 @ 10:25 am
Witch's Hat Tutorial  
I had a request for an explanation as to how I made the hats for the fairy godmother costumes. I figure, a few people might find it useful, as witches are popular for Halloween, and even though I used a pattern (Butterick 5406, pictured left) I didn't follow the directions for how they made the hat.

So, with pictures, here is what I actually did:

1. The shape of your hat is going to be held by some super thick interfacing. It's the thickest stuff Joann's carries, at $7.99/yard, and you'll need about 2 yards, although a yard and a half might work. I don't know exactly, because I have several yards worth in my stash. The stuff I got is about 1 millimeter thick, maybe 2, and while it is iron-on, I DID NOT use it as such. I do not like the sort of armor-like quality fabric like m silk takes on when ironed to interfacing. So, knowing I was going to do everything by sewing it, I first cut out the two pattern pieces from the interfacing, then when I cut out my fabric, I made sure to add about half an inch extra around all seams. You can see here are my two layers of silk for the top and bottom of the hat brim, cut with about half an inch extra all the way around the internal strength layer of interfacing. I then serged the outside edge of those pieces of silk to one another, right sides together, although if your fabric is not the fraying kind, you could just sew it.

2. Turn your hat brim right side out, so the serged edge is to the inside, and insert the brim of interfacing. Start at one end and fit the insert to the edge nice and neat, pinning as you go, so your fabric ends up laying over it nicely top and bottom. To achieve this, I made sure my seam allowance was under the interfacing layer all the way around, instead of bunching around the edge. I used a leather needle, but any somewhat substantial sewing needle should do, and I sewed a line of stitching all the way around the inside of that pinned brim, sewing my interfacing in place. Then I serged the excess fabric off the two ends, but be careful not to actually cut any of the interfacing with your serger blade. That stuff dulls it really fast!

3. Now, stitch the hat brim "ends" together. I also stitched down my seam allowance, as you can see here. You should have a circle now, instead of an almost closed "C".

4. (Please ignore the fact that this picture was actually taken before I did step 3. This isn't an exact, adhere to the rules process, obviously.) Your fabric should be hanging over the inner circle edge of your interfacing by a bit, maybe as much as half an inch. You're going to sew a line of stitching about 5/8 - half an inch past that, as in, you should be roughly half an inch inside the inner circle edge of your interfacing, not your fabric. (I hope that makes sense!) How far inside the edge you sew this line will dictate the size of your hat, but after making three of these for three different people, I've found sizing is really freaking difficult. Our heads all measured within an inch of each other, and yet the hats fit each of us wildly differently. Mine actually sat down over my brow, fitting comfortably and exactly as you might expect a hat to, while theirs sat on top of their heads, largely held in place by pinning their hair up underneath it. Either way worked. Now, my fabric was silk, and frayed really badly without serging or otherwise finishing the edge. Since we'll be cutting this inner circle of fabric and interfacing into "tabs" serging wasn't an option. Instead, I soaked the fabric from the line of stitching we just made to the rough edge with this great stuff called Fray Check, both top and bottom.

5. This picture was taken after the hat was completed, but you can see the tabs I cut. This step is actually in the pattern directions, so you can consult those. Basically, cut tabs roughly an inch in size all the way around the inner circle of the brim, up to the line of stitching. These will be how you attach hour brim to your cone. Now, for the cone, you're going to take your triangle of interfacing, and overlap the bottom two corners. How far will depend on what size you want the base to be. I used the inner line of stitching on my brim as a guide, and my edges ended up overlapping by about 2 1/2 inches, but YMMV. I just kept pinning it and then holding it over my brim in a circle until it matched that circle of stitching. Once you have the bottom circumference figured and stitched, you'll hand stitch your way up the cone. you'll find as you move up, you can easily shape the rest of the cone, as the interfacing wants to follow the line you started. I used photoshop to highlight the first few stitches here, since it's hard to see white thread on white interfacing. There will be a little shaping as you go, but it's pretty easy, and overall doesn't take very long. Twenty minutes while you're watching a movie or TV. I did find the curved needle off the notions wall at Joann's worked easier for this than a regular straight needle, FYI. Well worth the $1 and change.

6. Take your fabric triangle, and serge the two sides together (or stitch, whatever works for you). If your fabric is the fraying kind, finish the bottom edge in some way; serging, fray check. Turn right side out, and pull this over your new cone. Around the bottom, pull excess fabric to the inside of the cone and pin in place; stitch this in place before attaching the cone to the brim. If you REALLY wanted a snazzy hat, you could make a second triangle of fabric and use it to line the inside of the cone. I didn't, because who is going to see it but me?

7. Now it's time to attach your cone to your brim. Starting from the back, line up your seams from the brim and the cone and start pinning your newly cut tabs to the inside of your cone. Once everything is pinned, it takes a little finessing to get the hat and brim underneath your sewing machine needle, but it works just fine, and is a heck of a lot faster than hand sewing it. I sewed them together by following the same line of stitching I used to sew my cone fabric to the cone, so it looks like one seam.

And now you're done! You should have a great witch's hat that will stand up to all kinds of wear and looks about 10,000 times better than the cheap cardboard versions sold at the Halloween stores.

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
medaviamedavia on April 11th, 2010 02:43 pm (UTC)
<3 thank you so much! You explained your process so well and the pictures really make it all click. Now I can't wait to make a matching pointy hat for every gown I sew up! (larper here :) hell, I dress up for DnD night too) no more wire, or stuffing, or...

thank you again, this is my favorite tutorial ever.

~rock'n pointy hats since 1985 :)