First off, aren’t these just darling? They’re perfect for children, dolls, or as a fascinator for the rest of us. I never realized what a push over I was for fascinators (mini hats) until I started making these up for Sunny’s mad hatter parties. I have my heart set on making myself a steam punk fascinator some time. Wouldn’t that just be fun!?
In the meantime I’m gonna have to settle for these cute witch hats. I really enjoy making them, not only are they easy but they’re inexpensive too. I can get 3 hats out of 2 crafting felt squares (I wait for sales to get them for $0.25 a sheet). That makes each hat base roughly $0.17 each!
In all honestly I was hoping to not do a mad hatter tea party this year. I love parties. I love planning, and crafting, and researching themes. I’m a major geek, but my schedule has gone crazy with all the therapy and volunteering duties I have at school (I’m required to volunteer to keep my son in his autism preschool-I love it, just takes time).
That is all for my son though, what am I doing for my daughter? I can’t let all my energy be used for one child and neglect the other. Sunny has been having a hard time lately, and needed some major love.
Most people don’t see Sunny’s autism because she copes so well, but lunches have become incredibly difficult because it is such a visible reminder of her being different. According to her, everyone has chips or at least a cookie and she’s stuck with boring chicken, rice and grapes. She feels so left out because she knows her food is different. She’s been talking non-stop about Halloween for months, I know she was seeing it as a break from our no sugar eating and I was feeling very apprehensive about taking away her candy.
So I stepped up to make her favorite holiday awesome, without sugar. I can throw her a Halloween party instead of trick or treating and make her a treat filled time with ingredients that are ok for us. As I went to make hats, for this shin dig, I realized I never got the pattern up here!
What!? Where was my brain? Ok, granted I was coping with a lot last year trying to figure out what therapies my son would need and the like, but really!?
So here’s the free witch hat pattern and tutorial, better late than never!
These took me an average of 25 minutes per hat, it is possible to shave that down a bit, especially on cutting if you do a whole bunch at once and print out multiple patterns. I just spent two evenings sewing while listening to a favorite movie, not a big deal for our small gatherings. I was a nerd and timed myself on each step, so here’s what I averaged per step.
26 minutes per hat
cutting out 5 min
sew crown 5 min
turn crown right side out 2 min
pin brim to crown 5 min
Sew Brim on 7 min
Sew on Burette 2 min
How to Make a Witch Hat Fascinator
First cut the pattern out and then lay it so you get 3 pieces out of each felt sheet. You can mix and match brims and crowns (the pointy part of the hat), just make sure you have a matching number of brims to crowns.
It works best if you pin two pattern pieces in the corners on the same long side of the felt. Then you can get the third out in the middle of the opposite long edge. Cut fairly carefully, the more accurately you cut the easier it will be to sew together.
*This is much easier and faster if you print out multiple patterns. I didn’t bother for the 5 hats I made this time around.
Pin the crown
Fold the crown rights sides together (you decide which side of the felt you like best and that’s the right side). I only use 2 pins. One near the point and one near the base of the crown.
Prep your thread
Choose an embroidery thread that matches your felt as much as possible, your stitches will show. That’s part of the fun I think. Witch hats need to have character. If we were doing a dandy from the English court that would be one thing, but we’re not- so avoid perfection here-that’s boring on these.
I’ll cut myself an extra-long thread, I tend to come 5-10 stitches short and it’s just annoying to cut an extra thread for so short a distance. I’ll measure from my fingertips to my nose –do not cut!– then hold from that point and measure to my elbow -then cut. It’s really important to do embroidery thread on felt and doubly so when using this long of a thread. Otherwise you can end up with a tangled rats nest fast. Embroidery thread handles the length and felt much better than your typical cotton poly thread.
I’ve found it best to do 2-3 back stitched near the point of the hat. I’ll put the needle in 1/8 inch from the point in the seam allowance, do one stitch towards the point of the hat but leave a good 1/8 inch un-sewn at the point. This gives it more room when turning, making it easier and a crisper point. Then do 1-2 more stitches from there down towards the wide end of the crown.
*If this were a high end tailoring job I wouldn’t suggest doing this for stability and longevity reasons, but this is a costume piece that shouldn’t get a lot of wear and tear so it’s totally worth leaving that area un-sewn.
After your 2-3 back stitches start up a blanket stitch. No need to tie a knot or anything just start from where the back stitching ended. I like to do them 1/8 inch deep and 1/8 apart. The tighter you pull, the less the stitching will be seen from the outside.
Once sewn, turn the crown right side out. You may need to use a pin to help pull the point out more. I just catch a little bit of felt in the problem area and then gently pull up, little by little. It doesn’t take long.
Pin right sides together, the brim to the now sewn and turned crown. It should look like an ice cream come with a frilly collar. The edges pinned together should lay nicely with each other; the pattern doesn’t have any ease along that curved edge. It just needs pinning because the curves can stretch if you’re not careful. This is also where you will see how well you cut.
Attach the brim
I’ll start in the vertical seam of the crown to anchor my thread then do a blanket stitch, 1/8 in deep and apart, around the curved edge. This is another way to add character to the hat. The more even and tight your stitches the straighter the brim will sit, little deviations will allow the brim to create fun bends in its shape.
The last thing I do is sew a burette on the curved seam I just finished. I prefer to work with a burette with open metal work, so I have a way to sew it on. Hot glue tends to be messy, ugly, and allows the burette to fall off after little wear. It takes less than 2 minutes to blanket stitch it on over the original stitching on the seam, and is more stable than the hot glue-so why not?
I place the burette on the newly sewn curved seam and near the vertical seam on the crown. This position gives the burette the most stability while also placing the vertical seam towards the back of the head when being worn. It holds the weight of the hat where you want it, and is easier/faster than trying to hide the stitches somewhere in the middle of the brim.
Sew 5 or so blanket stitches and your hat base is done! All you need are some simple crafting/decorating supplies and little helpers-the cuter the better. 😉
Having done this 3 times now, I think simple decorations work best. Finding things that the girls can do themselves will save you. Nobody wants a project that they have to wait around for someone else to help. They want to be independent. Most of the ideas listed cater to independent decorating.
We like: stickers, especially the raised jewel ones (even though they may not stay without extra craft glue); chunky buttons-only if attached to the card with wire because they are soo easy to use; glitter; ribbons; and glue. We found from the ring toss game that glow bracelets fit perfectly around the base of the hat!
I first ruled out buttons because that typically meant sewing, but then I found these cupcake ones that come on wire. That’s awesome because you can just take the button and wire off the card and stick the wire straight through the felt and twist it-securing it onto the hat within seconds! It can still be a bit tricky since the already bent wire might not push through the felt easily. So I went around and asked the girls where they wanted the button and then I pushed the wire through for them. Since they could do everything else themselves it wasn’t a big deal. Older children could do that no problem.
The other main thing to keep in mind is to let the hats have drying time. In the case of our mad hatter tea party we like to decorate the hats first, set them aside while the kiddos watch a short movie like It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brownie or the Garfield Halloween Special. The hats dry and I have time to switch from a craft table to a perfectly set tea.
It’s all done! So wear it with pride.