This is the last polarfleece post for winter, I promise!
Over the years, I’ve made more than five hundred of these beanies. I started in 1996 when Big Boy was in preschool, making them to sell at the school fete. Back then, polarfleece was Polartec, and it was expensive and high tech and hard to come by. I bought the fabric online from the US, turned it into kids’ hats, and sold one to every parent who walked by that cold winter’s morning.
A few years later, a handful of sewing friends and I turned these out by the truckload and donated them to charity. They were lightweight, soft and extremely warm – the perfect thing for someone sleeping rough.
Last week, I decided that young Evan desperately needed a hat, so I set up the sewing machine, rummaged around to find the pattern, and sewed one for him. And then I was off! My dear friend Peter Bryenton asked me if I had a beginner’s pattern he could use, so I tracked down the guide I’d written for the charity sewing and sent it to him.
To make it easier to understand, I made up a sample and took a few photos to send to him as well. These were taken at 10pm, so they’re not terribly polished, but I thought I’d write them up anyway in case anyone else is interested.
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Click here to download the pattern: Adult Polarfleece Beanie. It’s sized to print out on A4 paper, and the pattern piece should be 42cm (16½”) from the point to the base. Again, apologies for the lack of polish – it was written a long time ago!
1. Buy half a metre of decent quality polarfleece (200 weight is great, if you have a choice). This should give you enough for two hats. Cut out four identical pattern pieces, all with the stretch going ACROSS the piece (not up and down – this bit is important).
2. A note on polarfleece, it curls to the WRONG SIDE when pulled across the stretch. It doesn’t fray, so it won’t need any edge finishing. With a piece of tailor’s chalk or a bit of sticky tape, mark the wrong sides so you don’t get confused.
3. Place two pieces RIGHT SIDES together. Stitch from the point to the base down one side. I use the width of my half my pressure foot as the seam allowance (about 6mm) and sew with a long (say 4mm) straight stitch. Repeat with the other two pieces. My sewing machine has automatic tensioning, but if you’re using one with a manual tension, you might need to loosen it a little to handle the thicker fleece.
4. Place the two halves RIGHT SIDES together. Pin.
5. Stitch from one side all the way up in a long arc through to the other side. Use the long straight stitch again and the same seam allowance. When you get to the bit in the middle where the seams meet, open the seam allowances out flat and sew across carefully.
6. Flatten out the seams with your finger – they should press quite flat. Never use an iron on polarfleece or it will melt. And really, this isn’t precision sewing! Trim all your end threads off neatly as you go, even though I didn’t. (Well, I did, but after I took this photo.)
7. With the WRONG SIDE out, fold up a cuff of 12cm (4.75″). Pin in place. Try to open out and flatten the seam allowances to make them easier to sew. I think this is the only really fiddly bit of the whole process.
8. Using the free arm of your machine, stitch the cuff up using a long zigzag. I use a 3mm wide, 4mm long setting.
9. Turn it RIGHT SIDE out, fold up the cuff and voila!
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I’ve been cheerfully sewing up beanies for the neighbourhood littlies. The snake hat was for my friend Beej…
For Lucia’s and Rosie’s hats, I’ve added small pieces of folded ribbon, taken from the treasure bag of trim that Nancy sent me earlier in the year…
The pattern I’ve provided with this tutorial is for a medium to large adult sized hat. If anyone needs me to trace and scan a small (toddler) or medium (child or small adult) sized piece, please let me know. Stay warm folks! ♥
Edit: As requested, here are the smaller sized patterns:
Beanie pattern: Small and Medium
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My friend Beej just sent me this photo. She put her beanie on to catch the bus this morning and hasn’t taken it off yet!