Introduction: Santa Rat Hats
This recipe makes three seasonal rat hat nests/sleeping pouches, which you can leave freestanding (possibly attached to the cage bars for security) for or hang from the roof of your cage.
You don't need to make three, but to make one you need about a third of a large circle of fabric, so you may as well use the other two thirds.
That's all good though, because these make excellent Christmas presents - or you can just totally over-hat your own cage
Step 1: Ingredients
Outer fabric (red fleece)
Trim (white fake wool)
Inner fabric (black fleece)
Pins & needles
Padding for the base
Eyelet punch and/or hanging tabs (made from fleece, webbing, whatever)
A blanket with a pattern designed specifically to make it absolutely impossible to find anything of any colour you happen to place on it after you've looked away for a second (unpicker, thread, scissors, friends)
Step 2: Measuring (copying My Measurements)
You could figure out what size to make all the parts to fit a pattern that's specific to you (see the next step) - or you can just use the same measurements as me:
I want the base of my hats to be 20cm in diameter
I want the cone to be 35cm tall
This means the circle from which the cones will be cut needs to be 36cm in radius (centre point to edge).
Point outer (red) - 36cm radius circle (makes 3)
Point inner (black) - 36cm radius circle (makes 3)
Trim (white) - 36cm radius circle (makes 3)
Base outer (white) - 20cm diameter circle
Base inner (black) - 20cm diameter circle
Padding (foam) - 20cm diameter (ish) circle
Step 3: Measuring (doing It Yourself)
Fist decide how tall and wide you want your cone to be. For my hat, I knew I wanted the base to be around 20cm wide. I guessed I wanted the cone around 30cm tall.
Looking at a cone from the side, you can see that it can be split into two right-angled triangles.
The length of the hypotenuse (the slanted side) of these triangles is equal to the radius of the circle of fabric we need to cut our net from.
In our case this is calculated by:
Square root of (half base length squared + height squared)
sqrt(10^2 + 30^2)
which comes out to:
Once you've drawn out the circle, you need to split it into segments that will form a cone of the proportions you want.
In order to do this, the arc length of the segment will be the same as the circumference of the base of your cone.
In our example the base of our cone is 20cm in diameter which when plugged into the formula:
circumference = pi * (2 * radius)
3.142 * (2 * 10)
You can either use a piece of string this long to measure out your arc or you can use the ratio of the circumference of the pattern circle to the circumference of the cone base to calculate the angle of the segment.
For instance, our cone base circumference is 62.83 cm. The circumference of the circle we drew on the fabric was:
pi * (2 * radius of pattern circle)
3.142 * (2 * 31.62)
which comes out to:
This means that the ratio of the two circumferences is:
This is the same ratio as 360 degrees of the big circle:angle of the segment therefore:
(360 / 198.67) * 62.83 = the angle in degrees of the segment required which is:
Leaving room for hemming, it seems we could mark off at 120 degrees, making three segments.
Furthermore, it seems like as an approximation, if your cone is 3 units tall and 2 units wide (30cm height, 20cm base diameter), that's a similar calculation to the ratio that gives us the angle of the segment.
If your cone was to be 8 units high by 2 units wide, the angle ought to be 1/8 of a circle.
In this scenario, the base circumference = pi * 2 * 1 = 6.28 and the pattern circle circumference is pi * 2 * 8 which is 50.27
360/50.27*6.2 = 45 degrees
Step 4: Marking and Cutting
Mark out all the parts you need for your hats. Do this on the 'bad' side of the fabric, if it has one. You don't want your marks showing when it's finished.
First, for the point of my hats you need a circle that's 36cm in radius, divided into three (I'm assuming you're using my measurements here - substitute your own if not).
Tie a pen to a piece of string and then measure 36cm of string from the pen. Holding the end of the string in the middle of the fabric, sketch out a circle with the pen.
Using a protractor and ruler, divide the circle into three sections of 120 degrees.
This is not an exact science - unless you're a hemming pro they're likely to change in shape slightly as you sew anyway.
Your trim is cut from a segment the same as the inner and outer cone parts, but will only come part way up the final cone, so you'll need to make it shorter. Decide how high you want it (don't make it too short - the door needs to fit and you'll lose some height when you sew it all together) and using the pen and string again (or some slightly more sophisticated method if you have one) mark an inner ring and cut it away.
My first experiments showed that you probably don't need your door as big as you think you do. It will stretch, and if it's too big it will look daft.
An archway is the easiest shape to do. If you're some kind of genius and can work out how to hem circles, by all means... but the arch also offers a lot more space for fat rat asses to get in and out. Make sure you mark and cut the door in the same place on each of the three pieces of your cone. Fold the fabric in half to find the middle, and use a template AND pieces you've already put a door in to make sure it all matches up. You can see the sort of size I used in the photos.
Line up your inner, outer and trim to make sure you cut the same size door in the same place on each. Having everything line up nicely now will save you a lot of pain and trouble later on.
Dead easy, this. Using the pen and string just draw your circles and cut 'em out. If you're using something like foam as a padding, cut this just a little smaller than the other pieces.
Well done! Cutting all the pieces out is slow and boring. Have some gin.
Step 5: Pinning
Pin your fabric together. For the base, this is pretty simple. Pin with the fluffy side and the nice side of the fleece facing inwards.
If you want to loosely stitch/tack the pieces to hold them together then go for it. I don't have the patience and luckily wasn't punished for it.
For the cone, take your time and be careful to align the edges as well as you can. It will make it a lot easier to sew if you know you're hitting all three layers. Lay them out in this order:
1) Inner (black) - nice side up
2) Trim (white) - nice (furry) side down
3) Outer (red) - nice side down
If you get this wrong, you'll end up with the AntiHat.
If you're not sure, try making little demos for yourself. My brain gets a little upset when it's asked to understand how things work when they're turned inside out TWICE, which is why I've explained the order to save you the same pain. If you're a lot cleverer than that and don't have a problem visualising it, you go ahead and enjoy that smugness but keep it to yourself.
Step 6: Sewing
You may want to hem the top (longer) line of your trim. I didn't do this with my first hat, and it looked a little naff, so I did it with the other two (and fixed the first by hand). It's just a bit neater.
My terminology is probably a bit off, so by 'hem' I mean 'turn the top edge over and sew it down so it looks like you cut it better than you did'.
Sewing the base is dead simple. Just go round the edges. Leave yourself a gap of about 4cm so you can turn it right way out.
When you sew the cone, start at one side of the door arch and continue round to the other side. Again, leave a gap at the top of the arch to turn it right way out.
Step 7: Tidying
Turn your base and cone the right way out through the gaps you left.
If you get confused half-way though turning the cone out, you've probably not had enough gin.
If you're padding the base, stuff your padding thought the hole.
Seal up the gaps you left using invisible ladder stitch. A bendy needle is really very useful for this - specially if you're making three at once and still want to be able to use your hands afterwards.
Step 8: LOOKING GOOD!
It's looking hattish! If there's one available, try it out on the headphone-wearing hare in your living room. Makes him look like (some nightmare vision of) Santa? Win!
Toast your awesome crafting skills with some more gin.
Step 9: Construction
You want to sew the cone onto the base. We're still working inside-out here, so get your inner cone (black) and the inside (white) of your base facing outwards.
Start at the back seam - not the door. If you start at the door you may get the angle wrong and end up with a really wide door and overlapping ends - or the opposite, a narrow door and ends that don't meet.
No good do not want.
You do, however, want to sew the white inner base to the white outer trim - this will ensure the black lining doesn't show on the outside. Sounds (and looks) a bit odd, but I did it about three ways before I figured the right one out, and there it is to save you some time.
Use your invisible ladder stitch again and it'll look lovely and neat on the outside.
For the back seam, I left an emergency exit (to discourage ratties making their own). The perfect spot for this would be right where the trim is - for a start, you have three layers of fabric there so sewing it together is going to be a whore. It's at the bottom, which is where you'd want a door, and the fluff of the trim will make it more subtle.
So, start stitching just above the trim. Hold the two edges together, and using ladder stitch, stitch together the red (outside) edge - you don't want the black inner poking through your seams.
Step 10: TA DAA
Turn your creation right-way out through the door or the emergency exit. OMG LOOK WHAT YOU MADE!
IT'S A HAT!
It really is! Well, aside from the hole fer your head bit, which is fairly critical for hats but we'll ignore that. Still, it's pretty recognisable. Congratulations! You deserve some gin.
Step 11: Pompoms
Do you remember how to make 'em? If not, shame on you! It's a skill no adult should be without. You never know when something might need an emergency pompoming.
If you remember, then good on you. If not, here's a quick reminder.
Cut yourself some circles of card, two for each pom pom. Make them roughly as big as the final pom pom wants to be. Cut a circle out of the middle to make a doughnut.
Cut lengths of wool. For three pom poms I used around twice the amount you can see in this picture.
Place two card doughnuts together face to face and wrap the wool around the outer edge.
Keep going until it starts to pad out.
When it's looking chunky enough, stick your scissors into the edge and cut down until you find the card.
With the scissors between the two card pieces, continue cutting around until the wool is free on both sides.
Take a length of wool and tie it around the pom pom, between the two pieces of card. Leave the ends long - you'll use these to attach it to the hat. Slide (or cut) the card off - fluff up your pom pom, pull out any loose bits and give it a trim so it's nice and neat.
Using a wool needle, thread the two 'legs' of each pom pom through the seam at the top of the hat. Poke the tip of the hat back inside out so you can see the ends of the wool. Tie them together and then trim them.
Poke the tip of your hat back out, obviously.
Step 12: Aw Nuts
Remember that vacuum cleaner?
You have a couple of options here. You can either glory in your mad crafting skills and raise a glass of gin in recognition of your winningness, or you can use your eyelet punch to make hanging thingies at the top of your hats. My eyelet punch was being held ransom by the post office at this point, so I choose the first option.
Eyelet punch arrived! Hats are now considerably more hangable.
I replaced the chenille pompoms with some normal wool ones that more closely match the colour of the trim. Perhaps a little fussy for something that's gonna be chewed to shreds in short order, but where's the fun in a half-assed job?
We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.