Thursday, November 5, 2009

How to Make a Gnome Hat For a Young Child

You need very basic sewing skills to make this hat. Without the options, it has only one seam and is an excellent beginner's project.

Begin with a felted thrift-store wool pullover sweater. To felt a sweater, throw it in the washing machine on warm. Keep an eye on it. Some sweaters shrink a lot more than others. The fibers will grab one another and make a dense fabric which is lovely to work with and very warm, and which hides sewing imperfections very well.

If you are like me, you want to start RIGHT NOW. But it would be best if you read the instructions through first.

Start by making a pattern with some newsprint or other inexpensive paper. Adjust the face measurement to suit your child. The face measurement goes from below the jaw, straight over the top of the head, and down the other side to the matching spot below the jaw. The 9 and a quarter inch measurement shown above is half the total face measurement, because you are going to cut the fabric on the fold, and of course the neck measurement is also halved.

Place your pattern on the pullover. The pointy peak should be nestled under the arm. The top of the head runs down the side seam of the sweater. The face goes along the finished bottom edge of the sweater. Now boldly cut the sweater.

This sweater has a very deep ribbing at the bottom of the sweater, so I folded it back before placing my pattern.

This sweater feels a little scratchy, so I decided to make a cotton flannel lining which will go from the front edge to behind the ear. The lining is optional.

Machine sew the hems on the long sides.

Now pin it onto the opened-up hat, wrong sides together. I have folded the ribbing out so that I won't sew through it. You want to position the lining all the way to the front of the hat. Now machine sew it. Trim the edges of the lining fabric. You can leave them raw, because they will be covered by bias tape. Do not sew down the back seam of the lining. Keep it loose. I realize I didn't give you a measurement for the lining. As you can see it goes from the front of the hat and ends before the back seam.

Now get out your bias tape to finish the raw edge at the bottom of the hat. This is also optional. (Supposedly, felted wool will not unravel.) I'm going to use the periwinkle. The bias tape is deeper on one side than on the other. That is so that when you sew it on the narrower side, you won't miss sewing the tape on the inside of the hat.

Stop! Before you put on the bias tape, try the hat on your child and make sure you are happy with the fit. You can still trim the bottom edge, and shape it around the back of the neck the way you want. You can also put a pin or a little mark of chalk where you want the chin ties to go right now, so you don't have to wrestle your child to the ground again later.

I put the narrow side of the bias tape on the outside of the hat and pinned it. Fold the ends under neatly.

The ends on the back seam of the hat are going to show. Make them as neat as you can.

I machine sewed the bias tape. I wish I had hand-sewn it, though of course that would have been very time-consuming. I think it would have looked nicer. In the picture below, you can see that I have pinned the back seam. Sew it with your machine, from the bottom edge up to the tip. Just leave the raw edge out. It is too bulky otherwise.

I got out some special trims and some bells to look at. I picked the rick-rack. Look how the tip of the hat developed a nice little swoop. Have you checked to see where you want to put the chin ties? Also make sure your ties are long enough to tie a bow.

I hand-sewed the rick-rack, catching a thread from the hat under the ribbing from time to time, to keep the ribbing from flopping forward. I like to do some hand-sewing on every project, so I enjoyed it. Here is a picture of the lining, bias trim, and rick-rack chin straps. If the rick-rack is hard to tie in a bow, I will add some ribbon backing.

I sewed two bells onto the tip.

If you have a plainer fabric to work with, you can create some shapes out of wool felt for decorating your hat, and sew them on by hand. Mushrooms, acorns, flowers, squirrels...!

I can't wait to try it on somebody! If you make a gnome hat for a child, please send me a picture for a special posting at the beginning of December. Try to take a picture of your gnome outside!

Copyright 2009 Beth Curtin


Hip Mountain Mama said...

Thank you so much for sharing this pattern! I am glad to see that it takes basic sewing skills...I have a machine, but have only used it a few times and much prefer hand sewing. This is going on my to do list! Another great idea from an amazing Mama!!

Linda said...

This is a beautiful tutorial, thank you so much for sharing :)

Linda said...

This is a beautiful tutorial, thank you so much for sharing :)

farmama said...

Awww...this is so cute! Your ideas are never ending Beth! You're amazing!
love, Sara

Ravenhill said...

How very beautiful this little gnome hat is! Thank you so much for taking the time to share the tutorial!

Beth said...

Thanks for your comments. I think I made it look more complicated than it is because of the lining. If the wool is soft, it will take you about 15 minutes to make!!!!! Beth

gardenmama said...

I love it Beth!
I will certainly let you know when I make this! I know three little ones who would love to have gnome hats this winter : )

Tonya Gunn said...

Thank you for sharing this. I have recently bought some wool sweaters at a rummage sale and felted them... perfect!

5orangepotatoes said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this FANTASTIC tutorial. I am new to sewing with a machine and this looks easy enough for me to sew up a few.


Beth said...

I can't wait to see people's hats! Beth

onegoldensun said...

Thank you for this beautiful tutorial. Your hat is too cute for words! Love it!

Mama Rose said...

My goodness that's an adorable hat! Thank you for the tutorial. I'm definitely bookmarking and can't wait to make one too :D

June said...

This is wonderful, I had one question though, the gnome hat with the mushroom, the strap under her chin looks like roving....almost like a little beard.... (which is adorable) what is that made out of and how did you attach it?

Abigail said...

Thanks so much for this tutorial! I found it today and grabbed a felted sweater I had laying around and quickly made one for my 4 year old. Love it!!

Anonymous said...

I just made that hat! For myself! And I'm 19 years old! And being a Gnome for Halloween!
It is absolutely adorable!!!


vamdep said...

Just saw this and LOVE the Gnome hat!! Any measurements for making an adult-sized hat?


Treeish said...

Great instructions, easy to follow. I think next time I`ll make the neck an inch longer to wrap under his chin better and perhaps adjust the face to measure a little shorter as I had to add a dart to keep the wool snug around his brow. How do I add a picture here?

Beth said...

Hi, Treeish,

Send a beautiful picture as an attachment in an email to me and I will put it up. Beth

Amanthus said...

What a great post! Will be trying this out for a Halloween project.

christarella said...

What would be the best way to adjust this pattern for adult measurements?

Ericka said...

Thanks for the quick and easy tutorial. I used this to create my son's Halloween costume. It was sooooo easy! Check out my cute little gnome: