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Thursday, September 8, 2011

baby pilot cap tutorial

So, no baby yet. Which means more cleaning, organizing, and yes, of course, sewing.

I realized yesterday, creating yet another pair of wooly pants, that I have probably made more than a dozen pairs for this baby. Excessive much?

Oh well. Better than languishing on the couch whining about how I can't take contractions anymore and how I want my body back (hmmm, vodka tonic) and how I NEED TO SLEEP without waking up in pain.

Oh wait. Oops. Sorry about that.

(Can you sense my state of mind this morning? It is CRABBY. Children are at each other's throats. I need to go to the grocery store but am terrified of taking them out in public right now. LORDHAVEMERCYMAKETHISBABYCOMEPLEASE.)

Okay. So. Tutorial. Right.

Yesterday I made another little hat and took pictures. It turned out okay. Then I cut up a rescued cashmere/silk Brooks Brothers turtleneck sweater from my favorite thrift store. I made two pairs of pants, of course, and the most amazing little hat. Just wait.

So here are the steps.

First, you need to create a pattern. The first hat I just winged it. It turned out terribly (wrong fabric that was too stretchy?) Then I tried just cutting the basic shape of a pilot cap from Hanna Andersson hat I had for little miss (turned out amazing) but I figured this time I would sketch out an actual pattern thus avoiding the trial and error phase.

Here is what the general shape looks like. You need to think about your baby or baby-to-be head size. I made these two for the 3-6 month range. The sweater one will go through the whole winter I think because of the stretch. Use an actual baby head to measure or another pilot cap a snug fitting hood would work well too I guess.

 You also need to think about the fit you want as you cut the pattern. The above shape, with the rounded part around the face, leads to a visor-like brim that sticks out a bit above baby's face. I didnt like how it turned out. Next time I will cut the shape to be more straight at the top part of the hat. You cant see it well but the long straight piece needs to have the flat side on a fold.

Again, with the fit, if you want it without the visor part you need to have the top of the long piece more flat than this one. It's hard to explain I guess, you need to mess around with it and trim up as you are sewing to get the right shape. (Just a few snips though, no big deal!)

Also, the long straight piece needs to be as long as the curved back part of the hat, where you will be sewing that piece on. So, better to make sure your pattern piece is the right length now than after you cut.

I decided to do a lined hat, with a lightweight jersey (old T-shirt) on the outside and a waffle weave on the inside (old sleep shirt). Think about how you can use decorative bits from shirts, or perhaps the hems. I cut the lining with the bottom of the hat pieces on the hem of the shirt so I only had to fold in the outer layer to give a nice clean edge.

(Oh my, this is all sounding very unclear and complicated. Apologies. Remember my state of mind today...)

Next step is to sew your pieces together. Just remember right sides together and you can do it. The middle piece is more narrow at the nape of the neck, in case you didnt get that from the picture. Take it slow around the edges and, I have discovered, the key to sewing with jersey is to go slow and not pull at the fabric, otherwise it will stretch and pucker.

Now, once you are done sewing, put the hat together as if it were finished, turning the inside layer inside out and fitting the layers together so that the nice sides are facing out. You know what I mean. This is to make sure your pieces fit with the seams at the same place. I had to rip out the inside layer a bit, just one side, because my middle pieces was wider than the other middle piece. Finishing the hat like this makes it reversible.

All trimmed up. This photographs really poorly but its a nice green gray color. I didnt take pics of the sewing of the hat together but here is how I did it. Turn the hat back the wrong way and sew the brim curving part of the hat for a nice clean finish. Now turn the right way out, fold in the bottom edge of the hat for the bottom seam. (OhmyGod you have no idea what I am talking about, I don't know if I do either...)

Now for the fun part. My sleep shirt had a pretty decorative edge around the neck. I simply cut it off and used it for edging the brim of the hat and then forming the ties along the bottom of the hat. You can also make ties and an edging by folding up pieces of fabric, or using ribbon or maybe some other ribbing. If you do this tuck the ends of the tie into the hem as you are sewing, along the bottom edge, this will just make it all the stronger.

I sewed the ribbon all along the brim and secured a little extra at the neckline. I was thinking about some kind of decorative touch (I usually opt to go without embellishment) but decided I would wait and do that later when we know if this is a brother or sister wiggling in my belly. (Which means it will never happen. HA.)

i just realized why i dont really like this hat. the color and the
trim look like a bra!

See what I mean about the visor brim part? It juts out too much. I don't like it much. But still, cute and warm. And easy!

Now. Here is the cute one. Isn't this orange sweater fabric lovely?

And of course, pants to match. I think these yoga fold over pants (using the turtleneck) are the best I have made so far. And they will fit baby right away! YAY.

And another in a bigger size, out of the sleeves.

So, there you have it. Please let me know if you have questions or if I can clairfy anything!

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go bang my head against the wall before seperating the hooligans from yet another playroom brawl. Come on baby, don't you WANT to join in on this craziness??


  1. i am happy to observe that in the craziness (and self-admitted crabbiness), that you have not lost your sense of humor. and, as always, your creations are so, so cool!! (like you)

  2. seriously love this. Can't wait to try. And, by the way, I hope someone asks you if your baby is wearing a bra on his or her head. Ha! Happy waiting!

  3. thanks donna :)
    and jayme, your comment had me laughing to myself for an hour. too funny. i will let you know if that happens. HA.


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