Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Black Wool Sweater Hat

This is not my first hat attempt.  My first attempt I will not even attempt to explain.  Compared to my first attempt, this hat is highly technical and planned out.
Ok, here's the sweater before.  You may not be able to tell, but this thing is absolutely tiny.  Back when I was still trying to wear it, the sleeves were juuuust too short, and my belly kept juuust peeking out whenever I raised my hands above waist level.  Or whenever I bent over in the slightest.  So...not fit to wear.

So I threw it in the wash on hot, then threw it in the hot dryer, and now it might fit a very chubby 5 year old...except what mother wants her 5 year old wearing something so low-cut?  Ahem, anyways, this process is called "felting for everyman."

I measured the circumference of my head and got 22". I divided this up into five sections and got four pieces of 4" and one of 6":
And then I made a mistake. You might even call it a 'fatal' mistake.

I decided that the sides of each of these pieces only needed to be as long as half the diameter of my head (nape of neck to forehead).
Let me tell you right now, don't do it this way.  But nobody told me that, and I wasn't thinking like a draper, so this is the way I did it.

I made a pattern based on these measurements (according to my screwy logic):
Notice that my pattern bulges out a bit on the sides.  This was good thinking...but...well, I'll explain in a minute.

 Then I cut four pieces just alike and one piece that was 6" at the bottom but still 8" either side.
Now my sweater looks like this:
 Ok, so here's my second mistake: there is absolutely no reason for me to have cut the pieces completely apart.  What I should have done is cut them like a chain, leaving the bottom band intact...because as it was, I had to sew them one to the other all the way through the bottom band (which is bulky and awkward and ugly):
 Anyways, I'm doing this at work, so that's why I'm doing this by hand.  If I had my serger with me, I would be doing much prettier work, I assure you.  Yeah.  That's why this thing turned out like this...
 ...because I don't have my serger.

Okay, but we're not done yet.  Because here how this fits at this point:
 Yes, that's right, you don't get a photo, you get a sketch.  See how it looks pointy?  That's because I did straight sides.  Straight sides on a lumpy head.  How much sense does that make????  Don't do that!  Those pieces should have been bulged at the base, then come to a wide point at the top...straight sides = dunce cap.

Also, that 8"?  That should have been the distance between the center of each piece to the point at the top, not the sides of the pieces themselves.

This is basic trigonometry...the upshot is, I made the legs of each triangle way too short.  So as well as being pointy, the hat at this stage is much too small.  How to fix this?  Re-cut the pieces.  But with no sweater left to use, I can't re-cut.  This is why I hate cutting fabric.

Alright, then, let's focus on something that can be fixed.  See how much of my forehead is uncovered?  About 3" worth.  We're going to cover this with a brim.  So I measure from behind one ear to behind the other:
 ...and then from the top of my eyes to the edge of the hat (again, 3"):
Now we're cutting this piece on the double (which means two pieces cut at once), so I took it from a sleeve (no pattern, just wing it, I find it works, sometimes).  I also left the straight edge intact to provide a clean edge:
 Then I stitched one layer just above the bottom band on the hat:
...then flipped that seam under and stitched (very loosely, because I was tired of it) the other layer inside the hat, covering the first seam.  End result?
The Warm Dunce Cap
What can I say?  I didn't have my serger.  And I had my hair in a bun, under the hat.  Under the point of the hat, actually.
But it looks only marginally better worn over hair that is down.  I was thinking maybe I'd put a flower on it, make it look a little less scary/wonky.  Now that it's a scary/wonky hat, I don't feel like I can donate it to charity...but it's a shame to waste such beautiful wool.  The real problem with this hat is the pointy top, and there's not really much I can do about that.  Without my serger.


I tried (twice).  At least I tried (twice).

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