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Friday, December 8, 2023

Holiday Challenge - Sewing my own Hades Santa Hat

It's the Holiday Season! 
Every year since 2014, I've made it a challenge to myself to do something new for the holidays that I've never done before! It started with my friend Ariel sharing Disneyland's recipe for Gingerbread Cookies, and I thought to myself "I've never made homemade gingerbread. I should try it!" Since then, I've been making different treats every holiday season that I've never attempted before! Things like Homemade Candy Canes (2015), Fudge (2016), Peppermint Marshmallows (2017), Figgy Pudding (2018), Eggnog (2019), A Holiday Yule Log (2020), English Toffee (2021), and last year Pepperidge Farm Cookies (2022)

This year though, I'm doing something a bit different. Instead of the kitchen, my challenge will be in the sewing room! I'm going to make my own Santa Hat! 


And I suppose the idea all started earlier this year when my Sister-In-Law Megan gifted me this awesome Christmas shirt. She knows how much I like Hercules. And Hades has to be my favorite Villain! If I'm going to wear a cool Christmas shirt like this, I need a fun hat to go with it. Throughout the year, I searched eBay and Amazon for a hat with matching colors, but with Christmas coming up, I knew there was only one thing to do. Make my own Santa Hat! Plus learn a new skill! 

And since we're going back to Colorado for Thanksgiving, just like the kids, I know the perfect person who can help me out! My Mom! She's big into quilting, having made some pretty fantastic ones like some Minecraft and Disney ones. With the exactness that quilting requires, surely a simple little Santa hat will be no problem. 
First things first, we need a pattern. Thank you internet. I used this one from blog.treasurie.com

Then it's off to the sewing room! It's filled with fabrics and threads and anything else we could hope to need. 

Do I have a big head? No, not really. 

I've got my pattern, but what of the fabric? 

I went to Joanne's Fabric store and found the most Hades-like fabric I could. I had something a little different in my mind, but I gotta work with what I got. I love the blue patterned fleece for the colors and shades. And the black faux fur goes nicely along with it. 

This is it. Don't get scared now. 
The razor blades came out and we're starting to cut. 

That's half of it! Just one more of these and we'll have the makings of a hat! 

Quick fit check!

Now we turn to the real start of the show. Yes, Sheila. 
Well, Sheila and also the sewing machine. It's time for me to learn all about how this technological marvel works. I started by spinning thread onto a bobbin. 

Then snaking the thread along the path to get it down to the needle. Speaking of needles, I learned how to replace the needle with one that was a little more heavy duty. I also learned how to thread the needle, catch it with the bobbin underneath, and pull the threads out the back. 

Learning how to position the needle, the differences between needle up and needle down when you stop (the fabric can't move while you're reposition it), and what guide to use when making a seam. 

Mom said she was proud of me for not looking up and staying focused while she took the picture. 

Working along the other edge of the hat. 

Trimming the excess material from what will be the inside of the hat. 

Now we focus on the band that goes around the hat. This material gets everywhere after you cut it!

Mom had a good idea to fold the fabric over and stitch it to make a nice cuff on the edge. 

Getting everything clipped into place. These clips sure are a lot more handy than sewing pins for holding pieces of fabric together. 

Connecting the band to the inside of the stocking cap. 

Next, I need a pom for the top of the hat. How to make that? From what I saw, I need an 8" circle of fabric. How to get an 8" circle? I picked a center point. 

Then stuck pins in it at opposing points at 4" away from the middle. 

Do enough of those and you've got the makings of a circle! Fun fact: This kindof how mathematicians years and years ago worked out the value of Pi. They divided a circle into lots of triangles, got the hypotenuse, and added them all up to calculate the perimeter. That was, until Sir Isaac Newton invented Calculus. (Thank you Veritasium for that history lesson). 

I learned about stitch spacing and how that affects the tightness of the threads. 

And if that thread is loose enough, you can pull it which causes the edges of the fabric to pull together into a ball. 

Now I've got to attach the pom to the top of the hat. Except I was a little aggressive at sewing up the stocking cap and didn't leave enough room to squeeze the edges of the pom into the end. 

I got to use the seam ripper to open things up a little more. 

Almost done! Just have to sew the pom to the top, and we're done! Gotta go slow though since this is a lot of fabric for the needle to go through. 

Thanks to this great teacher for helping me make my very first Santa hat! 

Gotta grab my Hades shorts and get a picture!

Well that was so much fun I want to make another one! I'm going to make a second hat, but this time use only one seam on the back! I also want to make it just a little bit longer. I started with my paper pattern and fuzzed a little bit of the part where the two pieces would come together. Since it's just a loosely defined cap and not a fitted piece of clothing, I can be a little lax with my measurements. 

Mom let me take what I learned on the first hat and just run with it. Watching over my shoulder to see if I'm going to get myself into any trouble, but mostly giving me full autonomy. 

Making this band just a little bit wider too. 

Remembering which side goes where so that when you turn things inside out, pieces are in the proper position. 

Sew that band on the bottom. Affix the pom to the top and...

Boom! A second Hades Santa hat!

Thank you Mom for helping me realize this year's Holiday Challenge! 

Well, you know how when something goes right and turns out well, others start to get interested too? Avery and Alli saw my santa hats and thought it would be fun to make their own! 
Back to Joann's Fabrics to pick up some more material. We searched all over for the Christmas fleece, but were a bit disappointed with the selection. Instead, we decided that a santa hat can be made from any pattern. Alli adores pandas. 

Almost as much as she loves pigs. 
Alli - Can I have 2 hats? 

And Avery chose a rainbow fabric, along with another very fuzzy pink pattern. 
I swear it wasn't there the first time I looked, but today I actually found a faux blue fur! In my mind, the Hades hat I wanted would have a blue fur trim and pom, with a black stocking. Guess I'm making another hat for myself! 

When we got home, Gram and I got right to work. Things go a lot faster with two people working on a project. We worked pretty well in sync, one person clamping a fabric while the other uses the machine, and vice versa. 

A few of the hats I made. One with black trim and blue fabric, one with blue trim black fabric, and one that's all blue. Which one do I like best? It's difficult to choose because I like them all! 

Here's the hats that are going to Avery and her family. Two cute hats for Avery. Another matching pink one for Megan. And Patrick was saying how he wished he had a hat for his favorite college basketball team, the Duke Blue Devils. The colors I chose will still work out great for that!

In just a couple days, we ended up making 10 homemade Santa hats! 

Megan, Avery, and Patrick all loved their hats. 

And so, the next time I was at Disney World, I had to don my gay apparel, fa la la, la la la, la la la. I was happy to get a few compliments from fellow guests who liked the whole combination. 

This was a really fun project to get to do this year for my Holiday Challenge! I was very happy to have my Mom as a teacher showing me everything! Everything turned out better than I could have hoped! What will be my challenge next year? Who can say at this point, but I did like branching out and doing something completely different!

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