Only two sewing days till Christmas! What to do?! How about adding to the mayhem and stress by making a Cossack Hat? You know… so as to stylishly meet the oncoming Siberian winter?! Here is daughter’s, rustled up from the leftovers of her coat.
The thick, fluffy fur is from Jeff Rosenberg. I used leftover acetate lining for the inside. You can get away with a quarter metre of fabric and lining, though you might need twice more if you’d like the nap of the fur sweeping in a particular direction.
For my hat, I used shearling-like fur leftover from a Christmas stocking I once made. Whilst daughter is Empress Lara, I’m more Taras Bulba!
Since the fur is doubled at the point where it wraps around the head, the outside of the hat is bigger than the inside. When making your pattern, base the inner part on the hat size and make the outside larger, tapering towards the crown.
You’ll need paper, a compass, a ruler and a pencil.
Step 1 The Crown
Begin by measuring the head circumference, work out the radius then using a compass draw a perfect circle the same size as your head. If you’re making this as a surprise for someone, use one of the online hat size charts like this one to estimate. Head size can vary quite a bit but if someone looks like they’ve got a big head, they probably do and vice versa! Big or thick hair also adds on a bit!
Just for reference, my head is 55.5cm, the dummy’s is 55cm, daughter’s is 52cm and OH is 60cm!! My radius is 8.8cm, i.e. 55.5cm divided by 3.14 (Pi, or Π) divided by 2.
Once you’ve drawn your circle, add a seam allowance of 1.5cm (the compass comes in very handy for this as you can draw another, larger circle around the first one), or more if your fur is very thick.
Step 2 Pattern for the Side of Hat and Lining
If you aren’t in a rush, you might want to experiment with a few paper shapes. The simplest thing would be to cut a rectangle, the width of which is the same as the hat size, plus seam allowances. I made such a hat out of paper and thought it too Pork Pie (Pork π?) so I decided to go for a slightly tapering shape (above right). As for the height of the Hat, anything over 10cm looked a bit Nefertiti (left) atop of my small face. A height of 9cm looked just right: this on the inside is 3cm of fur sewn to 6cm of lining. A shorter hat might blow off your head in the wind!
Making the Hat
1. Sew sides of fur. Fold on fold line and try on for fit.
2. Sew sides to crown.
3. Repeat 1 and 2 with the lining fabric.
4. With right sides together, sew lining to fur, leaving an opening of 20cm. Turn right side out, pin at fold line below opening and slipstitch the opening closed.
Tips for Sewing Fur
Sewing faux fur gets a bad press but I think it’s very forgiving on those seam lines which hardly show. Using a seam ripper, when necessary, is pretty quick too. Trim fur at the raw edges if all that lovely fluffiness is obstructing the seam guidelines on your machine.
Use a medium zigzag stitch. On the right side, comb out the fluff around the seam. I use a wire pet brush or a pin.
Vacuums and lint rollers ready! If you’re secretly sewing fur for someone who lives with you, allow plenty of time for clearing up. Otherwise, your loved one might come home and wonder what poor creature you sacrificed!
Buying fur: white fur looks great on very dark or very pale skin but may not be great for the in between complexions. Check fur colour against your skin (and teeth). Avoid grey fur if this is close to your hair colour as people might confuse the hat with your actual hair and will think you’re looking unkempt! Avoid faux leopard if you resemble Mobutu Sese Seko. Kids on the other hand look good in anything, especially monster fur.
Merry Christmas, everyone x x