Make a Child's Sleep Cap From an Old T-shirt




Introduction: Make a Child's Sleep Cap From an Old T-shirt

you know the scenario: it's 3 am, your newborn has just puked on his last clean hat, you have a pile of old T shirts from when you were punk rawk, a serger, and 15 minutes, you're wearing sunglasses, and drinking from a jelly jar. time to get crafty, keep the child's head warm, and reduce the stockpile of old T shirts.

what you'll need:
1 T shirt
some paper
pair of shears
serger (a sewing machine with a step zigzag will also do, but is not shown here)
a tape measure
a pen.

let's get started

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Step 1: Create the Pattern

cut out a pattern on paper as shown here. in this figure, the squares have 1 inch side. pay particular attention to the width of the hat. it should be half the circumference of the head plus 2 seam allowances (SA), which would be about half inch each. this depends, somewhat, on the stretchiness of the T shirt material, or the compressibility of the child's head. I used a width of 6 3/4*  use the tape measure to measure the circumference of your child for that bespoke fit.

the height of the hat should be more or less fixed. one can see, faintly, a fold line drawn on the pattern here, at about 2 1/4 inch from the bottom line. the lip of the hat will be folded inwards.

you can be creative and add more 'spikes' or make a 'mohawk' hat as well from this basic pattern.

* using the time-worn rule that the cervix has to be 10 cm dilated, using 2.5 cm/inch, and assuming my child was just born (more or less true), we can back out a value of pi to 1 significant digit.

Step 2: Prepare the T Shirt

I used a T shirt from my friend, the artist Attaboy. it's been through the wash so many times, I would no longer look respectable wearing it to a PTA meeting. so it's time to recycle. I wanted the image to show up on the hat, but because of the collar, it will have to go on upside down.

next, turn the shirt inside out, as shown. this is not necessary if the two sides are the same, of course.

Step 3: Pin and Cut

pin the pattern to the shirt, taking care to line up the cutting pattern with any images on the shirt you want visible on the hat; Note: the ~2 1/4 inch lip will not be visible on the outside of the hat. Also, another 2 1/4 inch up from that, there will be a visible fold in the hat. you may not want your image to overlap that area. pin through both layers of the shirt:  you are cutting 2 pieces, with 'right' sides together.

place the pins parallel to the edge, and cut through both layers. you will note that I have cut a bit wider than the pattern here: I will check the size on the head, then cut down even more later if necessary. remember: it's easier to cut away more later than to add more later.

remove the pattern. keep the 2 pieces next to each other, but do not pin them.

Step 4: Serge the Outside Seam

you will now serge (or step zig-zag, on a regular sewing machine) the outside seam.

this here is my serger, which I got on eBay years ago. sergers are almost as fussy as newborns. once you have them dialed in and working, they're great, but they will turn on you in a heartbeat. the main feature here is the cutting blade, which isn't terribly visible in these pictures. it does not like pins, but it likes fingers! take care.

It is easiest to make 3 passes: one on each of the outside sides, then the 'V' in the middle. you need not cut the serged thread ends.

try the hat on the child, still inside out. if it is too big, you can serge the sides down smaller (yay, cutting blade.) if it is too small, throw it away and go back to step 2. sorry.

Step 5: Create the Lip

this part is a little bit difficult to explain and somewhat tricky to execute.

first, with the hat inside out still, fold the lip back (again, this is about 2 1/4 inch or so).

then push the hat back right side out, folding at the line of the lip. from a cutaway view, it would look something like an 'S', but with a long tail. you are going to attach the loose top line of the 'S', which is the raw edge of the material (the edge which has not been serged) to the 2 layers at the curved bottom right part of the 'S'.  pin the layers together; the pins should be perpendicular to the fold line.

now serge along the inside of the hat. NOTE: remove the pins before they hit the cutting blade. depending on your serger, you may booger your blade, or cause 2 half pins to go flying around the room. also, you probably don't want to be cutting away material with the cutting blade anyway. if possible, fold the cutting blade up for this operation, or keep the hat just to the left of the cutting blade.

after a full revolution around the lip, pull away, serge a few inches, cut the serged tail thread, and tie it off.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

pull the hat right side out. the creation of the lip has cause about 1/8 inch to be lost on the pattern, creating this folded dog appearance here.  bummer. tie the tails. place on the child. change his diaper. make sure he doesn't puke on this hat.

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    3 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is fantastic! Thanks. Yes, I definitely had my share of rocker t-shirts but from the 80s..those good 'ol 80's Nice instructable.

    1st: Awwwwwww! Sweet baby!
    2nd: Thank you "sew" much for making this. I bought a serger from a garage sale - never used one before. This would be a good first project.
    3rd: Awwwww! Cute Baby!!!!