Introduction: Making a "Mountain Man" Fur Hat

Picture of Making a "Mountain Man" Fur Hat

There are many traditional styles of fur hats that can be easily made by hand, one of the most unique being the "mountain man" style which includes the animal's hindquarters and tail draping across the wearer's shoulders. The exact origin of this style is not well known, although some say that the long drape of fur helped protect the back of wearer's neck and shoulders from the cold wind. It's no doubt one of the warmest hats you will ever wear!

The photo above shows the silver fox pelt that will be used for this demonstration.

The only materials you will need for this project are:

  • Large, tanned animal pelt (any species - fox, coyote, or raccoon usually works best for this style
  • Thread and needle, or sewing machine suitable for stitching through leather
  • Pen and Tape measure
  • Knife or other sharp blade for cutting out the pattern.

Step 1: Getting Started

Picture of Getting Started

Before starting your hat, sew up any major holes/rips/visible damages. When sewing by hand, I use a tight whip-stitch, which is very strong and can't be seen at all from the fur side.

Then take your measurements before cutting any parts of the hide. For the Mountain Man style using a fox pelt, I measure 12" up from the base of the tail and mark the line with a pen. (For larger skins like coyote, you may choose to make the drape even longer in back) But sure to leave enough room to mark the rest of your pattern, as you'll see in the next step.

Step 2: Mark Your Pattern

Picture of Mark Your Pattern

If you are new to fur crafting, it is always a good idea to cut your initial pattern out of paper or cardboard, tape it together and try it on your head to make sure it fits. Adjust it accordingly and then trace out your paper pattern onto the leather.

Draw out your pattern onto the top half of the leather, after measuring and marking your 12" section of the rear hide.

The strip drawn in the center of the hide will be the band that goes across the front of your head. The circle will be the top of the hat. The short 1/2" lines mark the very center of the pelt, to ensure everything matches up properly when sewn together.

Step 3: Cut Out Your Pattern

Picture of Cut Out Your Pattern

Be sure to cut all pelts with a knife, rather than scissors, to avoid chopping the hairs. The knife will only cut the leather, without damaging the fur itself.

Cut out each of the pattern sections you have traced, and get ready to start sewing!

Step 4: Sewing the Head Band

Picture of Sewing the Head Band

Start by sewing the band that encircles your head. Work with the pattern inside-out, connecting the front strip of hide onto the back "drape" section, using close, tight stitches.

Step 5: Attach the Top of the Hat

Picture of Attach the Top of the Hat

If you are including the animal's face on the front of your hat, stitch it onto the top "circle" ahead of time to avoid the challenge of trying to sew it on after everything else is finished.

After the face is sewn on, carefully align the top onto the band and begin stitching. Again, keep your project inside-out during this part of the process and use tightly-wound, even stitches for the entire piece to hold the skin together securely.

You are almost finished!

Step 6: Finish and Wear It!

Picture of Finish and Wear It!

After you finish stitching, revert your hat so the fur side faces outwards again, and secure the front of the face to the band with a few stitches along both sides of the snout, and work the ears so they stand up straight.

With the same pattern, you can also make a lining for the inside of your hat, with felt or other soft fabric for extra warmth and comfort.

And now your finished! Wear it with pride!

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial
For more examples of my fur crafting projects, check outFrontier Furs on Facebook!


shotgunranch (author)2017-10-22

Nice. I applied tanning solution to my first coyote today and will be using this pattern. When I told a buddy about this project, he offered me all the hides he collects this fall, so I'll be using it again to make hats for my wife and kids

dakotaline (author)2017-02-07

When you have your furs professionally stretched and tanned, do you need to stretch them again before sewing?

TrapperEllie (author)dakotaline2017-02-08

They don't need to be stretched again before sewing. Professionally tanned hides are already soft enough and ready to sew.

aswaim172002 (author)2017-01-15

When you measure for the front head band does it go all the around and the hind quarters get sewn on? Or do you measure part of your head around and then connect the two?

Just measure the full length all the way around your head and make your pattern as shown in the tutorial :)

paula_alexandra91 (author)2016-09-25

Very nice fur fox. You can visit for nice fur hats

JacksonS31 (author)2016-09-19

What type of thread did you use? Sorry I know this is an old post but I am very excited about making my own fur hats!

TrapperEllie (author)JacksonS312016-09-19

It is just regular polyester all-purpose sewing thread. Thanks for asking and have fun making your hats!

RayF7 (author)2016-01-18

You don't have an I structable like this on video do you? :-)

TrapperEllie (author)RayF72016-01-18

I don't have any videos of this process, sorry about that!

RayF7 (author)2015-08-22

I've been looking for instruction on what to do with my pelts... Thus seems like a good start! Question... What are the sizes to start with? What size circle and band etc? And Itd be real helpful if I could find an instructable showing how to sew them all together WITH a felt liner... Any suggestions? I don't know how to sew but it doesn't look that difficult....

TrapperEllie (author)RayF72015-08-23

To determine what size to make your hat, I would recommend measuring around your own head in inches and cut your circle pattern to fit this measurement.
The felt lining would be made in the exact same pattern as the hat itself, placed inside and stitched in around the edge. If you have a sewing machine it can greatly speed up the process, otherwise you can hand-stitch as shown in this tutorial. Hope this helps!

RayF7 (author)TrapperEllie2015-08-23

Oh OK, thanks!

RayF7 (author)TrapperEllie2015-08-23

Son the felt lining gets stitched to the back of the fur before all the pieces are stocked together? Did I get that right?

RayF7 (author)RayF72015-08-23

Wow fat fingers.... Let's try that again... So the felt lining gets stitched to the back of the fur before all the pieces are stitched together?

TrapperEllie (author)RayF72015-08-23

No, the lining and hat are made separately, but using the same type of pattern for each, if that makes sense. After you sew the lining together, it's placed inside of the hat and sewn in. I should have specified that better in my last reply, sorry about that!

ArizonaSRMC (author)2015-06-18

AWESOME! I amgetting ready to make one! as soon as I am finished with the hat I am currently making!

TrapperEllie (author)ArizonaSRMC2015-06-18

Thank you! Be sure to post a picture if you make one!

underscore 01 (author)2015-02-05

how do make the leather pliable?

I don't know how I missed this question earlier, I'm sorry. To answer, though, I do not tan my own hides - I send them to a professional garment tannery and they come back super soft and ready to sew!

ashiag (author)2015-02-04

this a really neat thing

hogthrob (author)2014-09-04

This is awesome - our two cats are getting re purposed!

SamyIsh (author)hogthrob2014-11-14

Why doesn't Instructables have a "like" button for comments! lol

jkruis (author)2014-10-07

could you maybe do an instructable on how to tan a hide

TrapperEllie (author)jkruis2014-10-08

Next time I tan one of my own hides, I probably will do an instructable with it. I've been sending most of my furs to a professional tannery though, because they turn out much softer and easier to sew than anything I could tan from home. Home tanning is still a fun hobby though, and many people have asked me about it, so I'll probably tan up a rabbit hide or something later so I can show the basics of how its done.

lukecruzstagg (author)2014-09-23

where do you get the fur?

I trap my own or buy/trade with other fur dealers and fur farmers. I also have my own small fur business and sell tanned pelts to other crafters, so I've got no shortage of furs around here!

BabyLaGrange (author)2014-09-06

I think I've found my new winter hat this year... I love this! I think I'll use a raccoon

pfred2 (author)2014-09-05

Poor little kitty kitty! heh

Instructomaker (author)2014-09-05

What a cool (er, warm!) winter hat. I checked out the raccoon coat on your Facebook page too. Very nice!!

lupa.greenwolf (author)2014-09-04

Great instructable! I bet it would work with vintage fur, too, with a fabric backing, for those who are squeamish about new hides.

Thanks! And yes, any fur will work just fine as long as the leather is still sturdy enough for sewing.

I could see repurposing some old fur coats with this. Hmmmm.

lepo5 (author)2014-09-05

I take back my last line in my reply. It is inappropriate. My apologies to Ellie.

Chuck Stephens (author)2014-09-04

Awesome! Keep up the good work, Ellie. You've got my vote.

Jack Moran (author)2014-09-04

Thats really cool! something to do with the roadkill possums. You have my vote!

seamster (author)2014-09-04

Nice work!

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a trapper, crafter, and creator of the bizarre!
More by TrapperEllie:Mini Haunted HouseSevered Hand PropRealistic "Brain" Prop
Add instructable to: