My best friend was admiring my storebought Nepalese hat the other day, and since it was near Christmas, I decided to make one for her. I made this hat out of an old Icelandic sweater I never wore but whose pattern I loved. The other parts are odds and ends from my basement, so the whole project cost me nothing. But the hat has been tested successfully in the Midwestern winter, so it's worth doing. Read on to see how you, too, can make one.
Step 1: Supplies
4 sheets of printer paper
Thread for sewing the hat
An old (felted) sweater
Hat (one that's got the same shape/size as the one you want to make)
Step 2: Tracing, Pinning, and Cutting
Stick two sheets of paper together lengthwise. Trace the outline of your hat onto these. Leaving 1/4-1/2 inches of extra space all the way around, cut the pattern out. Flip the hat so the opposite side is facing you, and repeat. (NOTE: I just traced the same side twice, which meant the pieces didn't line up. It ended up working out that way, but it's better to do it the right way.)
Lay your sweater flat and pin the templates to the part from which you want to cut your hat pieces out. I put mine on the back of the sweater and tried to arrange them so that the pattern would match up when sewn together.
Once you're happy with the pieces you've selected, cut them out.
Step 3: Felt Lining and Sewing Pieces Together
Your felt lining should go about an inch above your ears when you're wearing the hat, so cut your fleece accordingly and sew to the inside of each of your hat pieces (see pictures for details).
Sew the two pieces together inside out (I used overcast stitch at first but found that running stitch worked better. But although I didn't do it, I think back stitch would be even better.)
Step 4: Braid Embellishments
Cut 3 strips of the sweater. Stitch together lightly at the top. Have someone hold the stitched end while you braid the rest up. I held the ends with ponytail holders until I did the next step.
Stitch the top to the bottom of the earflap. Repeat this process on the other side.
Now cut three thinner strips and make a braid. Sew this to the top of your hat.
Step 5: Yarn Ties
Take about a foot of yarn. Tie the yarn end at the end of the braid (do NOT trim). Loop the yarn around this area 5 times, being careful not to let the yarn overlap. Tie the yarn to the first knot's tail. Trim.
Repeat on the other two braids, and you're done!