Whenever the boys and I are out, people always remark on the dinosaur hats and are almost always stunned when I tell them that I made them myself. Yet they are suprisingly easy to make. Although there are people out there who are very skilled at designing things and making patterns, I am not one of those people. The extent of my training was my mum teaching me how to use a sewing machine when I was ten. What I have discovered though (and what I’m going to share with you now) is that it is actually possible to make all sorts of things either without a pattern or with a very simple pattern that you can make yourself, even if, like me, you can’t really draw.
Anyway, I’d decided that I wanted to make dino hats for the boys and my nephew, but I didn’t want it to look like they had killed some dinosaurs and turned the heads into hats. I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I came up with this.
This is what you will need:
- Some large sheets of paper. I like to use greaseproof paper, but newspaper or A3 copier paper will do.
- A pencil and eraser
- Some tin foil
- Fleece fabric in 2 contrasting colours
- Basic sewing equipment
1. Find the head that you are making
the hat for and wrap it in tin foil.
2. Carefully remove the tin foil hat from
the head and squash it flat (the hat not the head ). Try to squash it in such a way that the squashed hat is the sideways profile of the head, with the front on the left and the back on the right.
3. Now draw round the squashed foil hat
onto the large piece of paper. Now you can be sure that the hat will fit! Draw round it again, this time allowing an extra centimetre all the way round. This is to allow for seams.
4. Now draw simply a dinosaur head on one
side and a tail on the other. If it looks wrong, rub it out and have another go. When you have something you are happy with, draw round it again allowing an extra cm. Don’t worry if it is not perfect, quirkiness is part of the appeal of handmade.
5. Now draw some spines. How many will
depend on the size of the head the hat is for. I gave my dinosaur 9 spines, 6 larger ones along the body and three smaller ones along the tail.
6. Now you need to make the pattern for
the triangles, so draw 2, one a similar size as the larger ones and the other similar in size to the smaller ones. Don’t forget to draw round them again with an extra cm!
7. The pattern’s almost done now. The last
part to draw is the little pointy pear shap that will give the dinosaur’s head a 3D shape. To make this part, draw an x on the dinosaur’s nose and another x on the back of its head. Using some thread or string, measure the distance between the two xs and cut or mark the thread.
8. Now draw a straight line the same
length as the piece of thread. Then draw a sort of teardrop shape, pointed at both ends. To get each half the same, draw one half, then fold the paper in half along the line and trace it. If you are using newspaper, cut around it roughly, fold in half and then cut it out properly, like you would make a chain of paper people
8. Now cut out the pattern pieces, pin them to the fabric and cut them out. For the main part of the hat, the stretch will need to go from left to right rather than up and down, so stretch the fabric before you pin the pattern pieces on. You will need to cut 2 of the main hat shapes and the little extra head part from the main colour, and from the contrasting fabric, 2 triangles for each spine. For my 9 spines, I cut 12 larger triangles and 6 smaller triangles.
9. Now we can get sewing! First of all the
spines. Pair the triangles up and sew them along 2 sides. Then trim the seams to avoid bulging and cut the top flat. Then turn right side out.
10. On both the main hat pieces embroider
11. With the wrong sides together, pin the
little head piece to one of the main hat pieces. The fat end needs to be at the front of the dinosaur’s head. Then sew it.
12. Now take the triangles that you have sewn
together and arrange them in a way that you like.
13. Now we’re going to make a little sandwich.
Take the main dinosaur shape that you have sewn the little head piece to and arrange the spines in the order you have decided, upside down, on the right side. The open ends of the spines will need to be lined up with the dinosaur’s back. Pin in place.
Now take the other dinosaur piece and put
it on top of the bit with the spines on, the right side of the fabric facing inwards. Match the edges up as well as you can.
Pin it together. Remember you have the
extra bit for the head. When you get to the head, pin the main piece to the little head piece like you did earlier.
Here’s a little tip: before you sew it up, make sure that the ends of the spines are poking out of the edge of the sandwich, otherwise you might find that you’ve missed a bit and you’ll have to do a repair job with a needle and thread.
14. Now sew it up. You won’t be able to sew it in one go because of the dinosaur’s head. Take your time and do it carefully to minimise the chances of holes in the seams. I’ve been there. It’s v. annoying.
15. Once it’s all sewn up, turn it out the right way. Removing as many pins as you can first will reduce the likelhood of stabbing yourself in the finger.
16. If you’ve got this far, well done!! The last
thing left to do is hem the bottom of the hat.
So there you go. One hat made from a do-it-yourself pattern. If you make a dino hat, please leave a comment and a link to a photo. I’d love to see them. Just have a go, don’t be scared!! What other kinds of hats can you make using the same basic principles? Hmm, butterflies, cats, a whole menagerie of hats!!