What follows is step by step photo instructions for sewing the MonsterWear hat (mittens sewalong is over here). There’s some additional tips and tricks mixed in. If you’ve got any questions while sewing along that this sewalong doesn’t answer, please ask a question in the comments. Before sewing along, you might want to read about Fabric Selection and Sizing for the Monster Wear and you definitely want to read tips for working with faux fur.
Steps 1-3: Construction of the Monster Hat starts with the ears (variation idea: leave off the ears). The whole pattern uses a 5/8″ seam allowance, so use the same seam allowance throughout. We first sew the ear contrasts (variation idea: leave off the ear contrasts). Take two ear contrasts pieces and sew them right sides together. Trim the seam allowance down to about 1/4″ and notch the seam allowance. This helps the curve have the right shape without bulk when it’s turned right side out. Then turn the contrast right side out and press and repeat for the second ear contrast. If you are having a hard time stitching a nice 5/8″ seam around the small curve, you can trace the seam line before stitching. If your contrast is a little crooked, don’t worry about it! A lot of wobbles will be hidden by the bulk of the surrounding fur.
Steps 4-7: Sew the ear contrast to the center of an ear, matching the notch at the center. Take an ear without contrast and an ear with contrast and sew them right sides together. Like we did for the contrast, trim the seam down to about 1/4″ and notch the seam. This may be a little tricky with bulky fur, so you might want to trim and notch one side of the seam allowance at a time. Turn the ear right side out and repeat for the second ear.
Step 8: Pin the ears to the flat edge of the back so that the contrasts are facing up.
Step 9: Baste the ears to the back. Baste at 1/2″ (slightly less than the 5/8″ seam allowance).
Step 10: Sew the front to the back, right sides together, matching notches.
Sewing over the ears may be challenging when you sew this seam because you are sewing through 4 layers of fur. If this is true, press down hard on the ears (being careful not to affect the machine’s ability to feed the fabric) to compress them a bit as you sew over them. You might also want to trim the fur out of the seam allowance (see more about this in Tips for Sewing with Faux Fur). You can also sew right up to the edge of the ear, stop with the needle in the down position, and then place a shim under the back of the presser foot so that it is flat and not angled up over the bulk of the ears.
Step 11: Sew the front lining to the back lining, matching notches.
Step 12: Press the seam allowance between the front lining and back lining toward the back and, from the right side of the back lining, topstitch the seam allowance in place. Be very careful that your iron doesn’t touch your fur when pressing the lining. If you are working with a lining that won’t take a press (like the scuba above) or very long nap fur that prevents you from ironing close to the seam, finger press the seam allowances toward the back and use your hand to feel that the seam allowance is the correct direction as you sew.
Sewing the seam allowance toward the back lining acts as understitching and keeps bulk away from the fur front lining (especially important the bulkier your fur is). After your topstitching, you can trim down and/or grade the seam allowance to further reduce bulk.
Step 13: Measure two lengths of 12″ of cord (discussed in Monster Wear Fabric Selection). If your cord is prone to unravelling, you will want to stitch the cord on either side of your cut line before cutting. Tying a knot at the end of the cord will keep the stitching from being visible on your finished hat. If you are working with a synthetic material, you can also burn the end of the cord to keep it from unravelling.
Step 14-15: Stitch the cord to the right side of the front lining at the double notch, inside of the seam allowance (using a 1/2″ seam allowance here works well). Safety pin the end of the cord to the lining to keep it out of the way for further construction. You do NOT want to use a straight pin here as they will poke you during further construction. Trust me.
Step 16: Fold the back in half at the top center and stitch along the back seam.
It can be hard to get the curve correct for the top of the center back, so I suggest drawing the seam line in before sewing the seam.
Step 17: Sew the front lining to the back lining in a similar way. Make sure that you leave a generous unstitched gap (~5″) in the seam so that you can use this gap later to turn the hat right side out.
Step 18: Sew the front/back to the front/back lining along the bottom edge of the hat, starting and stopping at the notches.
Step 19: Press the seam allowance toward the lining and topstitch in place (like step 12). This is important because it acts as understitching and will help keep your lining from being visible at the bottom of your hat when you wear it.
Step 20: Pin and then sew the front/back to the front/back lining along the front edge, starting and stopping at the double notches. You have now sewn the hat to the lining all the way around.
Step 21: Fold the seam allowance between front and front lining toward the lining side and catch stitch it in place. You won’t be able to press because you can’t press faux fur. This stitching acts like catch stitching and is important because it helps keep the lining tucked to the inside of the hat instead of flipping out when you wear the hat.
Stitch along the entire seam line. You will probably need to tie off and start with a new piece of thread a few times over the length of the seam because if you hand stitch with too long of a thread it will tangle easily. If you are working with fleece or another fabric that is okay to topstitch through, you can topstitch this seam allowance down through the gap in the center back lining instead of hand stitching it. Be very careful that you only stitch through exactly the front lining fabric and both seam allowances and no other layers of fabric if you do so.
Step 22: Turn the hat right side out through the gap in the back lining.
Step 23: Stitch the gap in the back lining closed by hand and you’re done! Start playing dress up every day!
If you absolutely hate hand stitching, you can stitch the back gap close by machine. It’s not quite as pretty and it leaves a small ridge. Fold the back lining in half and make sure that the raw edges of the center back seam are folded in. Stitch close to the edge to close the seam.