This tutorial shows you how to make the custom-sized fleece hat featured in this post for any size head (adult, baby, or child). The tutorial shows you how to make the hat with flowers but you could easily modify it for a more gender-neutral hat. It can also be reversed if the top of the hat is undone!
All text and photos are the intellectual property of Rae Hoekstra; you may link to this tutorial as long as you give proper credit, but please do not copy content for distribution or use on your own website. Thanks!
A note about sewing fleece: I always use a stretch needle with a slightly longer stitch length (3.5-4) on a regular sewing machine when sewing with fleece. Sometimes use my serger as you can see in a few of the pictures, but I don’t really recommend it for the curved seams and overall it certainly is not necessary.
Step 1: Measure head circumference
Take a tape measure and measure in inches the head for which this hat will be fashioned.
Step 2: Cut out fabric
Cut two rectangles out of two different colors of fleece as follows: the width of each rectangle should be the head circumference plus 1″ (for seam allowances) divided by 2. The height of the rectangle should be the width plus 3″ (see picture above). Before cutting, make sure that you orient your fabric so that it will stretch more when you pull across the width of the rectangle than when you pull across the length.
Step 3: Cut earflap
The extra 3″ you added to the height of the hat was for an earflap. Starting 3″ from the bottom edge on one of the long sides, cut across the hat, curving downward to the bottom edge and then back up, ending 3″ from the bottom at the other side. You’ll notice in the photograph that I cut the earflaps slightly off center. If you move the earflaps away from the front edge by an inch or two, there will be more room for the face at the front of the hat. Repeat for the other pieces, being careful to trace the exact curve you made for the first earflap.
Step 4: Sew center seams
With the right sides facing each other, sew the two matching pieces together just along their straight sides (leave the top open) with 1/4″ seams. The seam closest to the earflap will be center back, and the other will be center front. Repeat for the other two matching pieces so you have a hat inside and a hat outside. Turn one right-side out.
Step 5: Sew inside and outside together
With the right sides facing eachother, sew the inside and outside of the hat together along the bottom (curved) edge. Make sure that the center seams are lined up with eachother before sewing together.
Optional: At this point you can also sew on a couple straps if your child won’t keep the hat on unless it’s tied. Just cut a couple of 1″-2″ strips of fleece and sandwich them between the two layers of the hat with the end of the strap positioned over the earflap.
Step 6: Turn hat right-side out
I find that fleece is stretchy enough that I don’t really need to clip the curved seams before I turn it right-side out, but if you find that the seam doesn’t sit flat, you may want to clip seams first and then turn it right-side out.
Step 7: Embellish if desired
Cut a few flowers from 2″ squares of fleece. If you wanted a different look you could also cut polka dots or cars or mushrooms or whatever, or just leave this off altogether. I originally intended to hand-stitch the flowers on with yarn, but I found that the weave of the fleece was too tight for my needle to get through, so I ended up machine stitching the flowers on with a few stitches back and forth in an X pattern. I only sew through one layer of fleece here so it wouldn’t be visible on the other side. You can also see that I originally intended to put more flowers on, but after sewing on three flowers I decided that was enough.
Step 8: Cinch the top and trim if necessary
Cut a 1″ strip of fleece and use it to tie the top about 3″ from the top. It may help to try the hat on and see where the best place to tie it will be. The beauty here is that if the hat is too big you can just cinch it lower and trim more off the top.
Here’s a closeup of the top:
Step 9: Cut top of hat into sections (or strips)
To get the flower-like top you’ll need to cut each color at the top of the hat into about 8 sections. Take the scissors and starting from the top of the hat, cut towards the tie as close as you can without cutting it. The more strips you cut here, the more the top of the hat will resemble a pompom (and when I’ve made these for my son, that’s what I usually do).
Step 10: Clip off corners
Now take the scissors and clip the corners of each section so that they are rounded like flower petals.