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As his collection grows, so does the continuous pile of hats on the floor under his traditional rack of hat hooks. He has more hats than hooks and the hats won't stay stacked.
On a recent trip to the fabric store, I found a Simplicity pattern for making a hat hanger with a more organized method of storage. I quickly dropped the pattern envelope in my shopping basket, grabbed the material and dowel rods needed to complete it, and headed for the check out stand.
Detailed instructions on working with patterns can be found in my Fiskars article How to Use a Pattern.
I love these Fiskars 9 inch Dressmaker Shears. They are big and do a fantastic job of cutting thicker materials like the canvas I used for this project. My son is fascinated with them, too, referring to them as the Edward Scissorhand scissors. While they're not quite as big as Edward's scissor hands, I'm pretty sure a person couldn't use these workhorse scissors to create the intricately cut art that he did. In my mind they are more like the John Wayne or Clint Eastwood of scissors. You will respect them after you see them in action!
Because all of the pieces used to make this project are rectangular in shape, a good alternative to scissors is the 45mm Comfort Grip Rotary Cutter, used with the 24" x 36" Cutting Mat and the 6.5"x24.5" Acrylic Ruler. You'll end up with perfectly straight edges which always makes for an easier and more professional construction.
After cutting out all of the pieces, the straps are constructed by folding each strip in half lengthwise, ironing a crease at the fold line, and folding the edges in to the crease. These folds are then ironed as well. The strip is then folded in half along the original creased fold and stitched the length of both long edges.
When finished, you will have 8 long straps and 4 short straps. The instructions for the pattern suggest using one fabric to create all of the straps. We opted to use a variety of patterned fabrics that were left over from the fabric covered cork board.
The pattern piece for the base of the hat hanger is marked with placement lines for the straps. The points where the straps are sewn to the base are marked by large dots which are to be transferred to the base fabric. The straps are pinned at these points and basted (temporarily stitched in place with a long stitch length). Once they are all in place, the second layer of the base (the back of the hat hanger) is laid over the top of the piece the straps were just attached to, right sides together. The 2 layers are stitched together, leaving open the top and gaps along the sides for the openings of pockets for dowel rods.
The raw edges of the material will be enclosed within the base layers of the hat hanger but anytime I use a material that ravels easily, I feel better with some added protection. I used the Fiskars SoftgripÆ Pinking Shears (8") on the raw edges.
After clipping the corners of the project to reduce the bulk in those areas, the hat hanger is turned right side out. The dowel rod pockets are stitched.
Next the straps for hanging the hat hanger are constructed.
The header for the hat hanger is assembled.
The header is placed as shown here with the raw edges aligned with the raw edges of the back of the hat hanger. These 2 pieces are stitched together.
After being stitched to the back of the hat hanger, the header is folded over to the front of the hanger. When stitching together straight edges of materials that are not slick, I usually don't use pins unless the pieces are exceptionally long. Since this step does not align any fabric edges to use as a guide for straight stitching and the header needs to be attached evenly to allow it to hang straight, I pinned the header to the base.
The header is stitched in place, removing the pins as they approach the needle. Many people are taught it is OK to stitch over pins as long as they run perpendicular to the needle because the needle will pass over the pin and the feed dogs cannot pull the pin into the machine if it's not running parallel to the needle. But you can still damage your machine, or at least break a needle, if the needle happens to land on the pin. It's best not to take a chance!
The final step is to slip the dowel rods into the pockets and hand stitch the openings of the pockets closed.
At this point when following the pattern instructions you're ready to hang your project. But that doesn't mean you have to call it complete! Originally we were going to add stars to the header, using the Stars template designed for use with the Ultra Shape Express cutting tool. My son decided he didn't want them after all so we called ours finished. There are many cute possibilities for appliques, including cupcakes, hearts, or a child's name, using the Ultra Shape Express templates.
Now we have a more organized storage system for hats that's easier for my son to use. And since I made it with the same fabrics I've used for other projects in his room, it coordinates perfectly!
Simplicity pattern 5124, 1 1/4 yard material for base, 1 1/8 yard material for upper band and straps, six 15 5/8 inch long 3/8 inch wooden dowels, thread