September 24, 2010

Upcycled Brimmed Beanie Hat

I love hats on little boys.  It's one of my favorite things ever.  Here are my little guys to introduce today's tutorial to you.

Can't you feel the brotherly love?  Poor little guy.  Anyhow, I'm going to show you how to make these cute brimmed beanie hats from old sweaters.  I want you to think of it like making a sunday.  First I'll show you the basics of making the actual hat (like scooping up the icecream) and then I'll give you a buffet of topping choices...carmel, sprinkles, whipped cream, or whatever you like.  (Yes, I just might be hungry right now.)  I just love to embellish boy stuff.

Alright, let's get started now.  To make the actual hat you need to measure your child's noggin.  Once you've got the measurement you can get out your old sweater.  Cut two rectangles out, utilizing the bottom finished edge of the sweater.  If your sweater stretches a LOT, then make the length of the rectangle an inch or two less then your child's measurement.  If it stretches normally then use the actual measurement (the circumference of his or her head).  As for the height of the rectangle here are some estimates.  My one year old's I cut to be 6.5 inches tall and my three year old's was about 7.5 inches tall.  (Sidenote:  They both have very large noggins for their age.  Yeah, they're advanced :)

Once you have your two rectangles, divide the piece lengthwise into quarters and cut three-inch slits down from the top.

Then cut those pieces into half-football shapes.  What am I talking about?  Just look at the picture below.

Now, take one piece and sew the adjacent footballs together.  Then sew the ends together until you have a basic beanie.  Do this with the other one as well.  One will be your lining and one will be the outside of the hat.

Now we're going to make the brim.  I tried using thin plastic for the inside of the brim on this hat so it would be really washable.  However, I recommend cardboard instead (which I used on the other hat).  That's because the plastic can't be broken in, so the brim remains flat rather than rounded.  On this hat I copied the brim of a baseball cap, while the green hat has a smaller brim.  I'll finish showing you the process of the red hat, but then I'll explain the differences in the other hat and you can pick your favorite.

Cut two pieces to match your brim, but leave about 3/8 inch extra on the inside of the brim.

Put the wrong sides together and sew the outer edge.

 Invert it and slip the cardboard into it.  Put the inside seam all on one side of the brim to avoid bunching.  I sewed around the edge three times like a top stitch to keep it in place and to give it some detail.

Now it's time to sew on the brim.  (You will actually want to do all your embellishing before you sew on the brim and the lining, but I just want to show you all the sewing first.)  You'll sandwich it in between the outer hat and the lining.  I like to start in the middle of the brim and sew one side and then the other so it stays centered.  Take your time and make sure you have all three layers lined up as you go.  You want to sew as close as possible to the the plastic or cardboard insert.

After the brim is on you can sew along the bottom of the hat to join the lining and the outer hat.  Here I recommend using a zigzag stitch so the fabric will still stretch well.  Now that's all the major hat construction, but let me show you some things I did differently on the second hat.

The brim was smaller, which I liked better.  You can use my brim if you'd like.  Click HERE to download a free PDF file of it.  Because these types of hats usually have smaller brims I think this brim would work from age 1-10.  The sweater I used for this hat was a lot more stretchy and loosely woven.  When I made the brim I cut the pieces to be much larger than needed so that I could sew the edge and zigzag it so nothing would unweave. 

Then I trimmed off the excess and inserted the brim.

I did not make a lining for this hat, since it was a heavier sweater and because it was for my youngest son who is constantly sweaty.  When sewing on the brim, I obviously didn't have two layers to sandwich it in between, so I flipped up the brim and sewed it on the outside of the hat as shown.  I let it climb up the hat a bit, which worked out really well.  That way the brim sits a little higher and doesn't cover his eyes too much.  I followed up with a zigzag stitch and trimmed off the extra.

Now here comes the fun part.  And, if you don't sew you can buy a hat and add some fun stuff to it.  Here are your toppings:

1) Freezer paper stenciling.  I love doing this.  If you've never tried it you can go HERE to watch my in depth video tutorial.  While I usually create a stencil and then paint it, this time I filled it in with fabric markers instead.  (I thought it would be funny to put established followed by his birth year.)

2) Premade stencils.  I used this Tulip Graffiti stencil up the side of the hat for a fun, tough look.  (It comes in a pack with other great stencils.)

3) Make your own patch.  I stenciled a number or letter on fabric, cut it out and sewed it on.

4) Use existing graphics from old clothing.  I cut out these cute little motorcycles from an old shirt and sewed them on.

5) Don't forget to floss.  I love to use embroidery floss to do some random, messy stitiching here and there.  (Like on the red hat.) 

Thanks for reading.


  1. These turned out so awesome! I love that you used sweaters :)

  2. You are so creative and amazing! Great tutorial!

  3. Love it! I featured you on my feature favorites friday... come by and take a look!

  4. There just isn't enough good boy stuff out there! You never cease to amaze me with your trendy boy crafts. I used your embroidery stitching idea on my son's b-day shirt, you can see it here :
    Thanks for being inspiring. I can't wait to see what you do next!

    Cantaloupe Corner

  5. Thanks for this. My boys have been short changed this week with Hand Crafted by mommy Items

  6. I will make now! and it will be me only me...thanks

  7. I think little boys look so cute in hats! Definitely going to have to make some of these for my boys before it turns off cold :0)

  8. Cheri I LOVE these!!!! Super cute! I am definitely making one for my little guy. Thank you!!

  9. Holy Cow! These are dang cute!(Great tutorial too!)
    Funny (maybe slightly creepy) story: When I first saw these I shouted "SHE IS SOOOO STINKIN CREATIVE!!" to which my husband replied "who? cheri?"
    You're famous in our house!(and our ward hee hee) :)

  10. Adorable, the hats are too! :) When I see this kind of stuff it makes it hard to get rid of any clothing I don't need anymore!!! Love it!

  11. These hats are everywhere! I've always admired them on little boys but never thought to make some of my own. I really love the green one! So cute!
    When my little guy is older he will have one of these hats for sure. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Nice job! Very very cool. I have made hats with a plastic bill cut from sour cream containers. The plastic is already a bit rounded and is a bit flexible so you can shape it a little bit if you want to.

    Now I just have to perfect that football shape for my hats. Still working on it....:)

  13. So, I was about to make one of these for my little man and found that when I click on the link to get the pattern again from Ucreate, it doesn't show up?! Is it just me or do I need to find the pattern somewhere else? Help!

  14. I guess with your cute boys hat patterns you don't have to splurge as often to buy them hats!

    I love these hats and will have to try to make one for my son... upcycled and handmade is so much better than store bought anyway :)

  15. LOVE these, they are on my project list. love your blog, thanks for sharing!

  16. Great tutorial, Cheri! I'm including this in my handmade gifts for boys. Your boys are darling!!


  17. what a great tutorial! thank you! I've shared it here:

  18. My Mom was very creative and used to do so many types of crafts. If you want them to be washable and use a plastic insert for the brim, you may try cutting up a bleach bottle. The plastic is durable, already bent, and not brittle. She used bleach bottles for lots of things! I remember a headband with bunny ears that the bleach bottle served as the stiffener for all of it with fabric/felt sewn over.

    Thanks for the terrific idea!



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