Picture of Sew Easy Hat From Old Sweater
With an old wool sweater and fleece hoodie you can make a warm pill box hat in less than a day. This sweater has several moth holes but is 100% lambswool so it's very soft.  Even though it is soft, line the hat with a complementary  or contrasting colored fleece to prevent any itchy ears.  The stripes are about 2 inches before the sweater is felted.
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Step 1: Materials needed to make warm hat

Picture of Materials needed to make warm hat
You will need to make this warm hat you will need: 
                   -  100% wool sweater ready to be discarded 
                                (This sweater has 2 moth holes and the stripes are about 2 inches
                   -  a fleece or velour jacket or hoodie ready to be discarded
                   -  paper to make pattern and a pencil
                   -  an 8 inch plate
                   -  a ruler
                   -  scissors
                   -  pins to attach pattern to sweater
                   -  washing machine and detergent
                   -  pair of flip flops or rubber balls
                   -  sewing machine able to sew through thick material

Step 2: Put sweater, detergent and pair of flip flops into washing machine

Picture of Put sweater, detergent and pair of flip flops into washing machine
Set the machine on regular wash cycle with a Hot Wash and Cold Rinse; or a Cold Wash and Hot Rinse.  The detergent and flip flops are necessary to felt the wool and the wool needs agitation and extremes in temperatures to shrink. 

How many times have you done this to a good sweater?  Now you have a way to reuse it.

Step 3: Repeat wash cycles if necessary

Picture of Repeat wash cycles if necessary
If necessary, repeat the washing cycle more than once to get the sweater to feel thick felt .  This sweater took two washings to make the stripes only 1 1/4 inches and to felt the wools fibers. ( The yarn will not be able to unravel when cut and the stitches are not clearly defined.)

Step 4: Make paper pattern

Picture of Make paper pattern
hat with rolled brim.jpg
Making the paper pattern:
For an average woman's size hat, for a head circumference of about 22 inches,
To make the top of the hat:
Place an 8 inch plate on the paper and outline it with a pencil.  Cut out the circle.

To make the brim:
Make a rectangle 13" X   6" with the ruler.   Cut out the rectangle.

saosport2 years ago
sweat thanks for the great instructions
cgurlz2 years ago
In my city the thrift stores have half off sales once a month. I am always on the look out for good wool or cashmere sweaters to make things like this.
SueHeiss5 years ago
Great hat, pix and instructions.  I'm going to make one.  Thanks.
johnkos5 years ago
i don't sew anything more than missing buttons, but i find these instructions easy to understand and the project really cool!
maresan5 years ago
I love these instructions. Being a sewer myself, it seemed to be very clear and precise. It makes a lovely hat and a great way to recycle clothing.
kaalia65 years ago
What a great idea. I never knew you could make felt from a wool sweater! If you had no sewing machine and felt ambitious, it's simple enough that you could even do it all by hand.
deesome5 years ago
Candace--I know nothing about crafts like this and so am totally lost, but I think you were very thorough.  It's a cool idea and the hats look neat!  Karen
jnlann5 years ago
I barely sew, but this project looks clear and easy enough for even me.
I like how in Step 9 you anticipate how we may need to troubleshoot.
As a mom, I'd love it if you added to Step 4 some rules of thumb for how to measure for a child's hat.  It'd be so cute on kids, and what a great way to use a sweater/fleece they've grown out of! 
A clarity suggestion: Since you have partially overlapping directions for two different materials, it'd be helpful to add to Step 1 something like, "See Step 5 for materials you'd need for a fleece hat."  And then add to Step 5, "Follow steps 6-15 for either a wool or fleece hat."
BTW, I love how you chose a striped sweater for your wool hat example--what a brilliant way to illustrate how the wool shrinks and felts!
maliemac5 years ago
Candace, it sounds like a great project but not being a big sewer I did get confused especially at step 7 and 8.  The hat itself looks beautiful though. mjm
sedowning5 years ago
Candace: I think your felting instructions are really good. I was a bit confused about the rectangles, but have realized that it takes two of each type of fiber to make the band around the head. I should try this - I'm not too crafty (in a good way) but I think that even I could manage this. - Sarah