Wednesday, August 2, 2017

DIY Mickey Mouse Baseball Hats

I've been having a lot of fun making my own Mickey Ears for my family's upcoming first trip to Disney World.  (Some of these projects may have posted, others are in the queue.  Stay tuned!)  I knew that Lucky would be really excited about his ears, but wouldn't want to spend too much time actually wearing them.  I wanted to create something that the boys could wear at the parks that would also protect them from the sun.

My plan was to make these hats following the technique I used to make the hooded dinosaur sweatshirts. I cold cut a two sided ear, stitch up the center and then stitch them closed.   

I purchased two plain red baseball hats from a local craft store.  These are adult sized hats but my boys (16 months and 3.5 years in the photo) can wear them just fine with the adjustable velcro back.  Thankfully Rowdy (the younger one) loves wearing hats, and posing for photographs.  I also bought some 12x18 craft felt in black.  The larger sheets of felt are more expensive ($1.99 vs $0.39 locally), but the felted material is thicker and stiffer than the less expensive versions.  I used thinner felt for the dinosaur sweatshirts, but the stiffer the material the better your ears will stand up.

For the template, I used one of our drinking cups.  For the Mickey Ear Headbands I created, I used a plastic take out container as the template.  I wanted the ears on the hats to be smaller, which is why I picked a smaller cup.  

I drew the template by tracing two overlapping circles onto some cardboard and then cutting this out with my craft knife.  The whole stencil is just under 6.5" x 3.75".  

Next, I needed to trace the template onto the felt and cut out two ears for each hat.  On black felt, I like to use a water soluble white marking pencil.  I wish that they made air soluble marking pens in white so they could be used on dark fabric, but being able to wipe off the pencil marks with a damp cloth is useful.

I drew some lines down the center to help give myself a guide of where to sew.

I folded each hat in half to get the approximate center of each side and pinned the center of the ears onto this line.

I've been sewing a lot of Mickey ears lately, and to keep from having to create new bobbins and change the thread frequently I've been sewing with clear thread.  Black thread would have been perfectly appropriate for this project, but I didn't bother switching it out.

After sewing the first seam the ear felt a little floppy.  Therefore I stitched two more seams, each a very short distance from the center line.

One seam
Three seams

I pinned the two sides of the ear together and stitched around the outside edge of the ears.  I tried to sew as close to the edge as I could without leaving any gaps.  (There are some small gaps near the hat but you can't tell unless you look really closely.)

I had the second ear pinned and ready to go but was forced to wait because the boys woke up.  If I didn't get interrupted I would have been able to finish both of these hats in very little time.  You could easily make multiple hats for your entire family in an afternoon.  

I can feel the ears move when I move my head, but the ears are standing up nice and straight.

This project went by so quickly.  It would be really simple to add ears like this to the top of a hooded sweatshirt, too.  Place them just a little beyond the front edge and do a similar stitching technique for each ear.

I'm having so much fun making Mickey Mouse accessories for my upcoming Disney World trip.  Will these keep me from buying a lot of souvenirs while I'm at the parks?  I'm not sure.  But you really can't beat two custom Mickey hats for under $5 each.  

After I had the idea to make these simple hats, I started thinking of many ways to make the hats more complicated.  I could add velcro to the ears and then make detachable felt decals to add to them depending on where we were headed that day.  (I might still do this!)  Alternatively, we could keep the hats simple and classic looking.  Now that I think about it, you could just add the hook side of velcro to the back of the embellishment and leave the ears themselves plain and it should still stick just fine.

When I was researching what we would need to pack with us to bring to the parks, I made a few discoveries.  There are dozens, well maybe hundreds, of smooshed penny machines around the parks.  I've collected these since I was a child, so I'll need to start saving up pennies and quarters.  I also was reminded that the Disney characters will sign autographs.  There are a lot of DIY options to make fun autograph books, but I'm not even sure that my boys will want to go up to the characters, let alone ask for an autograph!  These hats are a perfect solution.  I'm not carrying around a book that will get smooshed, ripped and unused.  If Lucky and Rowdy are super excited about the characters, they can have them sign their custom baseball hats.  This idea isn't unique, there are tons of autograph shirts out there, but this is a way to (potentially) repurpose a project that I was already committed to making.  

I mentioned to Lucky that he might be able to get characters to write their names on his hat... and boy was he horrified.  He doesn't want ANYBODY writing on ANY HATS.  At least he thought the hats themselves were cute!

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