Monday, January 11, 2010

I guess it really was a good hat day even though it involved math.

Dear Donk,

I will say this, after I triumphantly decided that TEE DAH our first sewing project was going to be the Good Hat Day hat by Rebecca Malmström , I immediately regretted it.

Because I suddenly remembered that I'm lazy and this project had some seemingly complicated elements like heavyweight fusible interfacing and cutting of circles (fuck, math), two things that can confuse the simple-minded like myself.

But, not being one comfortable with flaking on my promises (or seeming like a big fat wuss), I forged ahead.

I did go to the One Yard Wonders Flickr pool seeking reinforcement from other crafters since SURELY someone had made this hat already and I'd be able to see just how great theirs came out so what was I so worried about, but, frighteningly, there was none to be had. No one had made this hat yet.

Sure, there were a million of those keyhole creatures and, LOVE YOU some people had already made my Not Ugly Car Trash bag, but no hats yet. Boo.

I was forced to go forward with no references other than the pattern and the book and, you know, lots of finger crossing and good trusty swears and by some miracle there were precious few fuck-ups that resulted in seam-ripping.

It was a miracle and I am grateful for these miracles (and my momentary ability to do math) and so I will share some things with you that I discovered while watching the Patriots lose in a most hideous game where they forgot to play football and instead fell down a lot.

Not that I'm a Patriots fan or anything, I mean, obviously, but I expected some good football out of Hotness Brady and, sadly, there was none to be seen.

Moving on to helpful tips you can use while making your Good Hat Day hat if you're making it to showcase the reverse side of the fabric, which I was. Because I think it's cuter. But if you think it's cuter to do it the other way then, whatever. You can ignore me. Also, you should know to just take my tips as you would tips from any low-grade lunatic and not equate them with The All-Knowing Truth or anything because, hello, I'm just one person and could be wrong. So, like, proceed at your own risk or whatever.

1. Sewing the band seams.
Where it says, in what I believe is Step 1, to fold your hat bands in half WRONG SIDES together and sew the short ends together, instead, fold your hat bands in half RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER and sew the short ends together. Kay?

Otherwise you'll end up with the wrong side of the seam showing on the right side (outside) of your hat. Which you don't want. That's a little *too much* wrong side on the outside for me even though you know how I love me some wrong.

Anyway, it's not the kind of wrong that I had in mind, so I had to do some mid-stream ripping and re-sewing of seams. No hard feelings, though, it took my mind away from the bloodbath on the TV (see: Patriots shit the bed, paragraph 7).

2. Measuring the circles for the top.
To measure the circles for the top part of the hat, I used this math and this method for cutting.

First, get the Diameter of your circle. Which is the Circumference you already measured (that's the inches around your noggin + 1/2") divided by 2. In my case it was 22/2 = 11.

Then, get the radius for your circle. 
For those of you who are math retards (like moi) or have been out of junior high math for a while (also like moi), the formula for that is: R = D/2 (D = Diameter, R = Radius) or 11/2=5.5. Then she says to add an inch or something, so do that and you're radius is 6.5.

Then cut a piece of string about an inch or so longer than your radius, so, let's say 7.5", and tie a knot in one end of the string. Pin that string (through the knot) down to your fabric, holding a fabric marker or chalk at the other end of the string, and draw a circle holding the string taught.

Like so:

Then double your fabric over, pin it together in the center, and cut yourself out two circles of the same size. Dandy.

3. Sewing your lid on so seams face in.
When you go to pin these top of the hat circles to your topless hat, pin the circles right sides together, and then pin them to the right side of the exterior band (that's wrong sides of the top circles TO right sides of the exterior band) so that when you turn it right side out, the raw seams will be on the inside.

4. Fuck the slipstitching of the interior band.
Y'all know I hate to handsew things and that hatred has done nothing but grow and intensify with time. I do not enjoy it, is what I'm saying. And, thankfully, I already had a similar hat on hand (made by the geniuses at Fossil) to which I could refer when debating whether it was necessary to handsew in the interior band of this hat.

My example hat, which I love very much, simply had the interior band folded upward and left unattached, a feature I'd never fully appreciated but suddenly came to love very much because it meant that TA DAH I was done.

And, you know, I left it that way and tried it on and totally dug it. So, there you have it, I don't think it's necessary. And it still looks finished inside and causes no issues from what I can tell, so you can decide whether you're willing to waste those extra minutes of your life and soul handstitching this interior band into place.

Your call.

OK, so that's all I know about the hat. I sewed it and it didn't take all day and it was pretty fun to make and I made it using all stashed items, so the whole de-stashing theme is safe with me so far. Even the heavyweight fusible interfacing was found lurking at the bottom of one of my fabric bins and the fabric I'd been coveting since Philigry so kindly swapped it to me was just waiting to become this hat so I had to make a big ZERO trips to the fabric store for this project which is YAY.

So, go on people, make yourselves a hot new hat and don't be all skerred of the math because, lord knows, if me, The Math Retard, can do it - y'all can, too.



  1. Very Cool Finny! I really like the fabrics you chose. My only suggestion: You should embrace your inner hand-sewer. Pour yourself a tall one (in your case, several tall ones and then you'll forget your handsewing hatred) and go to it.

  2. That is one FINE looking hat ... and the fabric and the picture of you wearing it almost makes me want to make it ... but I am not a hat person -- mostly because I have a huge head and even huger ears ... and hats (even custom made ones) just look plain stupid on me. And there are few others I love enough to make them something as complicated as a custom-fit hat. So sigh, I will be making the salad dressing this month!

  3. I'm scared. All this math. I'm just happy I balanced my checkbook this week. :)

  4. hi finny!
    your comments on the pattern are great, they did change a few of my instructions for clarity, so the pattern did not match the sample hat, and basically you changed them back!

    i did ZERO handstitching on the hat. so i agree with that, FOR SURE!!!!

    i'm so glad you tackled it, it's thrilling to see one in the real world :)

  5. i just have to tell you how funny you are. i know you hear this a lot but maybe it bears repeating. i don't sew, i don't watch football, and yet i enjoyed this post so go figure. maybe because i hate math too? or it's more fun to read your blog that to, you know, do actual work?

    glad your hand is healed enough to take on these projects.

    and it's a super cute hat.

  6. Anna - Um, if I were to do that, I can't imagine the mess I'd end up with. Plus, I'd probably be bleeding. This is why you'll always be my handstitching hero :)

    Sue - Well, I will say that the salad dressing is quite good. However, it doesn't look so good as a hat, so make sure it goes onto a salad or something instead. Bonus of the custom fit hat? You can make it fit over the tips of your ears. Which I do. Which is why they don't stick out and look huge in these photos. Yay.

    Sara - Yeah, when I started typing out the formula for calculating radius I realized I was going to lose some people, but, you know, sometimes you either do math or fuck up fabric, and I was in no mood to go to the fabric store, so there you go.

    And I really do like the hat :)

    Becca jo - I'm so glad I didn't fuck up your instructions too badly. I was worried when I posted the changes that you'd be all, "WTF is her problem? Just leave the pattern alone!", but thankfully, you're not a psycho. Also glad we see eye to eye on the handstitching part. Yeah, um, no.
    Isn't it a gas to see it out in the wild? I love it. That pattern's a gem. Great work!

    Melissa - You can just come here and compliment me any old time you want. Say it lots! Shout it from rooftops! I'm very self-involved and so I enjoy all forms of flattery. Glad you like the hat. I'm quite proud. :)

  7. I am super impressed! I have knit a million hats, but sewing one seems so complicated! It turned out fantastic-you look adorable. Hopefully that was your goal.

  8. circumference = 2 * pi * radius
    circumference = pi * diameter.
    Thus, to correctly get a diameter for a given circumference, divide the circumference by *3.14*.

    If that half inch you added to the noggin measurement represents seam allowance, rather than ease, then you don't want to include that in the circumference.

    I don't have the pattern, so perhaps the funny math was to get the puffiness at the top. I dunno.

  9. Fin, I am going to take your word for it. Your hat is super duper cute and reminds me of the Fidel cap you bought when we were in Portland. Love it.

  10. Adorable. You are so funny and cool. I accidentally typed 'finny' instead of 'funny' just that how you got your name? Really, though, LOVE that hat. Be proud.

  11. aw finny, thanks!!!!! i am so glad you found a way to make it work/make sense for you...and i'm SO glad you shared it! i had my mom test the pattern but you know, she's my

    the 1/2 inch added into the circumference is for a few reasons:this is meant to be a rather loose-fitting hat, and once you have two layers of fabric sitting one inside the other, if it was any smaller than that, the turn-of-cloth on the inside seams coupled with the bulk of the actual fabric itself would result in a hat that is uncomfortably tight.

    and in the pattern i submitted i had actually drawn a circle to represent the 'lid' but i think for clarity's sake they came up with the measurement instead. and i totally agree with it :)

    to make this hat look even crazier, you can make a very large circle, like the size of a pizza pie pan, and gather it. kinda holly-hobby though. HA!

    i have made this hat with raw seams showing, and it's SUPER cute. it's just a different look than the sample.

  12. I couldn't help but wonder why the hell they couldn't have included that little bit of math right there in the pattern.
    Like I just keep that crap in my head. pffft!
    {I hope my hat is half as snazzy as yours.}

  13. I stopped following the instructions at some point and did my own thing. At the end, there was a hat, albeit a little off in some parts...
    Should have visited this post before starting. :-)

  14. Ever have one of those steps in a pattern where you know it is written in English but for the love of all that is holy you can't figure it out?

    That is where I am with this hat. I am completely stymied by step 3(?)- the one about attaching the brim to the hat bands. The whole part about folding the bands in half, then aligning with the center point of the interior curve of the brim and stitching is a giant WTF for me. I cannot figure this out.

    An illustration would've helped but the book is sorely lacking in those :-(

    Any tips?

  15. Txgrrl - I can take a shot at walking you through it if you shoot me an email directly at finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom. I don't think it's too complicated, but it'd help to know what's got you hung up and I'll see if I can "translate". Also know that I do a good bit of Forcing It, so sometimes I believe in brute force.


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