Introduction: How to Make a Fur Trapper Hat
Winter's here, and there is nothing better for keeping warm than a trapper hat. This rural favorite seems to be following the likes of plaid shirts and PBR for a surge in hipster popularity, but hipness factor aside I just love this hat! It keeps me super warm and comfy in the snow, and is perfect for some après ski bling.
Like most trapper hats, the earflaps fold up and snap into place for two styles in one. I omitted ties or a buckle at first wanting to keep things simple, but realized after it flew off sledding that ties are very helpful! I made this from disco fabric and fake fur, but you could make it from different fabrics for a completely different look.
Step 1: What You Need
Supplies for this are simple:
• Fur fabric - you don't need much, a quarter yard will do. If you use real fur, print out the pattern and use that as a guide for how big of a pelt you'll need - you could probably piece it together from 2 or 3 rabbit hides which are pretty inexpensive on ebay.
• Outer fabric - whatever you like!
• Snaps (2)
• Cord for chin ties, a shoelace works well, I used leather cord because it's what I had around.
There are three pieces to the pattern: the sides, a middle rectangular piece, and the front brim which will be tacked up when finished. The middle rectangular piece measures 4" x ~15" (better to err longer and cut to size), and the other two pieces are attached as pdfs. The sides just barely fit on 8.5"x11" paper, make sure not to scale when you print. My head is a size medium in helmets, so this pattern is probably a good place to start for women.
I would strongly recommend sewing up a quick sample from whatever you have lying around to test it out. At first, I thought I needed to allow more extra room for the bulk of the fur + fabric, but discovered after making my hat too big at first that the test run should still fit your head well to some extent, even as just a thin layer of fabric. It should be just tight enough to not fall off or slide around when you shake your head, still with plenty of breathing room. If you need to adjust the size, making the middle rectangle wider or narrower is the easiest way to make adjustments.
Step 2: Cut Your Pattern Pieces Out
Cut out two of your side pattern, one of your front brim pattern, and one rectangle 3.75" x 15" (this may be a bit long, but it's better to trim the rectangle when finished sewing than the side pieces. Cut a set from both your face fabric and fur. There is no seam allowance on these patterns, so cut outside of them whatever distance you prefer using as a seam allowance.
One thing to note about cutting out the patterns. On my finished hat, I had an issue with my ear flaps wanting to turn out. A big part of this is that I forgot to clip my seams (always clip your seams). However it might be worth making your face fabric extend down just a little lower on the earflaps. When cutting out your pattern, I would add a quarter inch or so to the length of the earflaps, to compensate for the tendency for the flaps to turn out.
Step 3: Sew the Pieces Together
First you will sew the pieces of each fabric together. Sew the sides to the central rectangle, aligning them in the front of the hat and working back for both seams (important to make sure the central rectangle doesn't go askew).
Then add the front brim. Because the front brim can be a little awkward to center, make sure to align it in the center first and pin before sewing that piece.
Do this for both the outer fabric and fur, and place them together face sides towards each other to get ready for the next step.
Step 4: Sew Layers Together
Now is time to sew the outer fabric to the inner fur fabric. To do this simply sew around the entire perimeter of the hat, leave a gap in the back for you to pull it right side out.
Once you have made this seam, clip your seams. Very important for it to lay flat. Clip well at all curves, especially the sharp curves on either side of the earflaps. I forgot to do this first time around, which is why you see wrinkles between the brim and earflap in the third photo.
Once finished, turn it inside out, fold under the outer fabric and fur, and sew up the gap.
Step 5: Add Snaps for Earflaps
The great thing about this hat is being able to wear it with the earflaps up or down. To do this, sew one snap centered on the bottom of the earflap. Then fold up and see where that aligns. When it looks right to you, mark that point and add the other half of your snap there.
Step 6: Tack the Brim
The brim will always be folded up, so tack that down firmly on either side.
Step 7: Make and Attach Ties
To keep your hat firmly on with the earflaps down, you'll want either a buckle or ties. At first I skipped this altogether (hence them missing from some of the cover images), but decided to add them in, both to keep the earflaps down and secure the hat when doing active things like sledding.
To make the ties, simply take a small square of fur, and make a small pillow case out of it. Be careful not to cut the squares too small, as it will be very difficult to pull right side out. I found 2" was pushing it, 2.5" or 3" is easier. Once your pillow case is right side out with one end still open, insert your cord, and sew back and forth a bunch to secure it. You won't notice the raw edge with the fur. Then attach to the hat either by hand or by machine.
Step 8: Finished!
With that you are finished! Get excited to stay warm in style!