Introduction: Reversible Monster Tuque & Scarf Set

Wear your emotions with these expressive monster tuques & scarves.  I crafted this set using an embroidery machine, but similar results can be achieved (slowly) using hand embroidery or applique. 

To start, I must warn you that I am Canadian.  Eh.  As such, I technically use the metric system for everything.  But really I use whatever system is appropriate for the particular tool I'm using, so I switch between metric & imperial. Appologies.

Really don't feel like sewing or embroidering, but want the look?  I guess you could buy a tuque and glue some googly eyes on.  Or buy it from my store (  Totally an option. 

Step 1: Gather Supplies

1.1  You'll need:
-sewing thread (and a sewing machine)
-scissors (or other sharp object)
-fleece in 2 coordinating colours
-temporary spray adhesive
-some sort of measuring implement
-embroidery thread
-an embroidery hoop.  Oh, and an embroidery machine.  But if you're lacking in that department, you could also use hand embroidery or applique. 

1.2  You'll also want some awesome monster embroidery files.  Not sure where to find some?  I suggest Monster Factory Design Pack by Urban Threads.  I spend far too much money on that site, but their designs are just sooo good.

Step 2: Make a Pattern

Draw out a pattern using these dimensions as a guide.
Finished tuque sizes should be as follows:
X-Large: 24" circumference, 12" from top to bottom (unfolded, allows 2.75" for brim)
Large (Adult): 22" circumference, 11" from top to bottom (unfolded, allows 2.75" for brim)
Medium (Child or Youth): 20" circumference, 10" from top to bottom (unfolded, allows 2.75" for brim)
Small (Toddler): 18" circumference, 9" from top to bottom (unfolded, allows 2.5" for brim)
X-Small (Baby): 16" circumference, 8" from top to bottom (unfolded, allows 2.25" for brim)

Since the size of your embroidery pattern affects the width needed for your folded brim, choose embroidery designs that will fit well in the alloted brim size, or adjust your pattern accordingly. 

Add seam allowance as you see fit.  Since fleece doesn't fray, I added minimal seam allowance.

Step 3: Start Cutting

3.1  For an adult tuque, start with a piece of fleece aprox. 24"x12", big enough for your pattern piece to fit 4 times.  Make sure the fabric stretches the long way.

3.2  Fold it in half, then half again.

3.3  Place your pattern piece on top, then cut only to the end of the curve on each side.  Do not cut open the folds!

3.4  Unfold your fabric to reveal your masterpiece!  OK, we're not there yet, but the worst is over.

Step 4: Get Ready to Embroider

4.1  Draw a chalk line down the centre of your fabric, starting from the middle divot.

4.2  Fleece is stretchy, so if you're embroidering by machine, you'll probably want to use 2 layers of stabilizer.  And since we want the embroidery close to the edge of the fabric, you won't be able to hoop it perfectly, so you'll want to use a temporary spray adhesive. 
(Alternatively, you can cut your fabric 2 or 3 inches wider so that it will fit in hoop, and then trim the excess after the embroidery is done.  But I'm cheap; I admit it, so I hate the extra waste.)  
Pro tip: if you spray the adhesive on the fleece, your fabric will remain sticky and be annoying to work with from now on.  But if you spray the stabilizer, the fleece will stick firmly in place while being stitched, and then release nicely when you cut away the excess stabilizer. 

4.3  After spraying the stabilizer, firmly affix the fleece on top, and allign with the centre of the hoop. 

4.4  I lined the top of my fleece up with the top of the stitching grid, so that I would have full control over how far the stitching would sit from the edge of the finished tuque.  Each grid square is 1cm, and I wanted 1 cm of seam allowance, plus 1 cm so the design wouldn't end up right at the edge of the brim.

4.5  that in mind, I positioned the embroidery designs 2 squares from the edge of the grid.  When arranging your embroidery files, make sure you have them in the correct orientation!  The eyes will be on the folded up brim of the tuque, so you want the top of the eyes at the bottom of the tuque. 

Step 5: Let the Machine Do It's Work

5.1  Set up your machine, and wait! 

5.2  One of the benefits of machine embroidery vs. hand: the ability to put up your feet and relax with a (birch) beer.  Or do other menial tasks, like prepping the next step.

Step 6: And...Repeat

6.1  Cut out a matching piece from your co-ordinating fabric and prep for embroidery.

6.2  Draw a centre line, spray the adhesive, and hoop it up.

6.3  Monitor progress as needed. 

Step 7: Assemble the Tuques

7.1  Hooray, our embroidery is done!  Now to start sewing. 

7.2  Lay out the first piece of fleece, and fold the right quarter to the middle.  Pin along the right exterior curved edge.

7.3  Fold the left quarter to the middle, and pin along the left exterior curved edge. 

7.4  Sew.  I gave myself minimal seam allowance, so used the edge of the machine foot as my guide. 

7.5  Sew from the centre top  until the edge of the curve.  Then taper the stitch until you run off the fabric, and secure with backstitching.

7.6  Lay it out flat and admire your handiwork.

7.7  Fold in half then pin, ensuring that the bottom edges line up, as well as the 2 top seams.  Then stitch, starting at the bottom, so that you end with the front curve and another nice tapered stitch.

Step 8: 1 Tuque + 1 Tuque = 1 Tuque?

8.1  We now have 2 partially completed tuques.  If this were a different project, we could have skipped the embroidery, cut the pattern a couple of inches shorter, and just hemmed these suckers right now and called it a day.  But this is not a different project.  This is a much cooler project.  So we continue.

8.2  Start by cutting away the excess stabilizer.  Stabilizer is inherently not stretchy, and we want our finished tuque to stretch, so trim as close as you can to the embroidery.  Turn one tuque right side out and the other insde out.  Put the right side out tuque inside of the other (right sides together), making sure to line up the two centre lines.

8.3  Naturally, you'll also want to line up the back stitched seams.

8.4  Pin and sew, stopping 2 or 3 inches before you come full circle.  You'll want to use a long stitch so that you can still stretch the fleece.  I provided a 1 cm seam allowance when I decided where to place the embroidery, so that's how I sewed it here.

8.5  The tuque is now sewn together, but inside out.  Start pulling the tuque through the gap you left.

8.6  Almost there...

8.7  Seams are now hidden inside, with but a narrow opening.  You could hand-stitch that closed, but I'm using machine embroidery because I suck at hand stitching, so I'm not about to start hand-stitching now.  It's all about the machine for me.

8.8  Flip one half of the tuque inside the other.

8.9  Then topstitch all the way around the edge, closing up the gap.

8.10  Congratulations!  You now have a really long reversible tuque with upside down eyes!

8.11  Oh, wait.  Flip up the edge, and you now have a perfect length reversible tuque with right-side up eyes, which is super warm (4 layers of fleece cover your ears - great for Canadian winters, eh). 

Step 9: Whip Up a Scarf

But wait, there's more!  What's a tuque without a matching scarf? 

9.1  I wanted a finished scarf around 5"x60", so with seam allowance cut 6" from the full length of the fleece. 

9.2  Mark the center point on the fleece.  Why?  Because we're embroidering this, too! 
Note: If you're doing a really wide embroidery design, such as a wide-open yawning mouth, you'll want a wider scarf to accomodate the design.

9.3  Prep your stabilizer with temporary spray adhesive as before.

9.4  With the fabric centered in the hoop, start stitching.

9.5  Stitch a second mouth on contrasting fabric, then cut away the excess stabilizer.  You don't need to cut as close as you did with the eyes, because it's not as essesntial that the scarf be stretchy.  We could prep these for sewing right now, but I've got something else in mind...

Step 10: Add Claws

You heard me.  We're adding claws to this sucker.  Because what's a monster (or a monster tuque and scarf set) without something with which to rip apart it's prey?  If this sounds too scary, skip to step 11.

10.1  Take some random scrap of white fleece you happen to have in the fabric stash you inherited from your mother-in-law (or buy some, your call).  You'll want two 6" squares (assuming that's the width of your scarf), folded in half.  Then draw on some rough claw shapes.

10.2 Stitch along your drawn lines,

10.3  ...then trim the excess fabric.

10.4  Turn your claws right side out using a pointy but dull tool - I found that a large guage knitting needle was perfect for the job.

10.5  Pin your claws to the edges of one of your scarf pieces.  Make sure to pin them to the right side of the fleece, with raw edges matching (claws should be facing the middle of the scarf).

10.6  Once the claws are sewn on, you can flip them so the claws face away from the middle, and the raw eges will be hidden.  On previous incarnations of this scarf, the seam was closer to the jagged edge of the claws, which looked considerably more claw-like.  This is more like a couple of extra sets of teeth.  Which I guess is also scary, so I'm going with it.

Step 11: Finish the Scarf

*If you decided to skip the claws because they were too scary, then you can rejoin us now.*

11.1  Line up the 2 centre points.

11.2  Pin the 2 scarf pieces together, right sides together.

11.3  Make sure the claws are tucked inside the scarf, facing the middle.

11.4  Stitch around 3 sides of the scarf, 1 cm away from the edge.  I left one of the short sides open, but a gap along one of the long edges would work, if you're planning to hand-stitch it shut.  Clip corners.

11.5  Turn the scarf right side out by pulling it through the opening.

11.6  Oh, the suspense...

11.7  There it is!

11.8  Flip the raw edge of the claws inside the scarf, pin it shut, and top stitch it together.

11.9  Done and done.

Step 12: Scare Away!

12.1  Enjoy scaring people with your new duds.

12.2  Hmm.  Maybe these aren't so scary.  I guess you'll have to settle for surprising people with your extreme cuteness.

And then vote for my project.  :)
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