Tuesday, February 2, 2010

One for the classroom

If you use this tutorial I'd love to see your creation! 
Feel free to post it to the Handmade Mommy Tutorials Flickr Pool.

We interrupt this blog to bring you an educational project. A FUN educational project. My mom, as I've mentioned before, is a sixth grade teacher and this post happens to be for her classroom. Tomorrow she'll be projecting my little tutorial onto her "smart board" in the classroom and her students will follow along to make their own caps. Let's hope I make sense...

Every year my mom does a coon skin cap project with her sixth graders while they read "Where the Red Fern Grows." I must confess that I was an English Lit major and have never read this book. And, to be completely honest, I've put it off because I know it's sad (I know, so grown up of me). My mom's sixth graders are tougher than I am.

The idea for the coon skin cap project comes from the fact that the character Billy's mom makes him one from the first raccoon (coon) he caught himself. And here is how you can make your own coon skin cap.

(fun fact: this is an inexpensive classroom project! You can make 28 caps from 2 yards of plush felt which costs about $6 per yard. At the end of the tutorial I include my mom's diagram for getting the most pieces out of your yardage. If you know a classroom that would enjoy it, feel free to pass it on but please give credit.)

-3 pieces of dark brown plush felt (one 4" x 12", one 4" x 24", and one 9" x 6")
-Black show polish
-Hand sewing needle and thread (dark brown or black would blend best, but a lighter color will be easier to see while you work)

A day or two before you put together your cap, you'll want to make your stripes on the "tail" part so they have time to dry before sewing and wearing. Rub your black shoe polish stripes onto the fabric going with the nap of the felt. Make your stripes plenty dark - they'll dry and won't be messy. I promise.

Cut an oval from the 9" x 6" piece like so.
My little one "helping." 
There's no need to fold over the end of your oval. I just really like those chubby little fingers.

Get to it!
First, have your your little coon hunter wrap the long piece of felt (the 4" x 24" piece) with wrong side out around their head and pinch it together where it feels comfortably snug.

Draw a line on the felt where they were pinching it together and trim the excess about 1/4" out from the line.

Whipstitch your edges wrong sides together

Stand up the band on a flat surface (still wrong sides out) and place the oval on top, wrong side up. Line up the edges and pin the front center. Ease the sides in and pin them at roughly 3:00 and 9:00.

Trim any excess off the back of the cap (center back of the oval).

Whipstitch your edges together all the way around.

For the tail, fold your striped felt lengthwise, wrong sides together, and sew along the long edge.

Turn your hat right side out and gently push the seams out. Fold your "tail" piece so the seam runs down the center of the tail rather than along the side. And now pin the tail to the inside of the cap at the center back.

Whipstitch the tail to the hat going across and back again to secure it.

Now wear it proudly! Good job!

Click on the image below for the full-size layout diagram 
to get 28 hats from two yards of fabric.
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  1. oh my gosh, this is too cute, I'm totally going to have to make one for my dad (even though he has the real thing). His favorite movie is where the red fern grows! :)

  2. You did a great job sweetheart! I know the kids will enjoy this project even more than ever with photo-directions like these. Thank you, thank you.




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