Sustainable Saturday - DIY Fleece Hats

For years now I have been making fleece hats and scarves for my kids.  The idea for the hats I got inspiration for from a gift my daughter received when she was one.  The gift was a fleece hat, made simply with a tassel on the top.  It was cute and my daughter loved it.  However, being fleece she quickly outgrew it.  I looked at the hat and thought, I can easily make this.

The inspiration:

So on a trip to JoAnn Fabric several years ago I bought yards of fleece for $0.99 / yd.  This year I've seen it advertised for $2.99 for plain and $2.99 for printed / yd + 20% total purchase discount (which would be approximately $2.39 / yd.).

I usually measure the circumference of my children's heads, then make the hat custom to fit their head.  I do find that there is some stretch to the fleece, so if you are not able to do this, I found the resource below, although for 0-36 months only.

Baby Infant Growth Chart Calculator - Head Circumference (0-36 months)

Instructions for the hat:

  1. Cut a piece of fabric that is the correct circumference for the child's head + 1" (length) x 14"-16" (height) depending on how tall you want the tassel(s) to be.  
  2. Fold up 1 1/2 - 2" at the base of the hat to make it look finished and stitch across the length of the fabric.  
  3. Fold the fabric in half to make the hat.  Sew in 1/2" from edge to form hat.  Do not stitch the top part of the hat where the tassel will be.  Leave 6"-8" at top of hat for tassel(s).
  4. Cut a piece of fleece approximately 1/2" x 12" to tie around the top where the tassel(s) will be located.  
  5. Use scissors to cut the tassel(s) strips (3/8" - 1/2" wide each).
Note:  I use my zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine to stitch the hat together because I like the look.

Instructions for the pink scarf:

  1. Cut a piece of fabric that is approximately 8" (width) x 30"-42" (length).  You will need 3 of these.  
  2. Sew together down the middle the 3 pieces of fleece.
  3. Use scissors to cut strips 1/2" to 1" wide the length of the scarf.
The gray scarf pictured I actually modeled after directions found on for a Deigo scarf.  I opted to sew the gray scarf instead of the fabric glue as suggested in the directions.

Instructions for the neck warmer:
  1. Cut a piece of fleece that is approximately 22"-26" (length) x 10"-12" (height).  
  2. Fold up on either side 1/2" - 1" of fabric and sew along entire length of piece of fleece.  You will do this on both long sides.
  3. Turn inside out and sew 1/2" from edge along short side of fleece.
In general these hats and scarves are relatively easy to make and make terrific and very inexpensive gifts!


    Stephanie said...

    This is an awesome gift idea! Last year I made pillowcase dresses as gifts, and now I know what I am doing this year. Thank you for the directions and the tips!

    The Keevy Family said...

    Thanks so much for posting this pattern. My sister made these one year and they were super cute. They do have a bit of stretch in them and my kids are still wearing them. I tried on my own and made the pattern on the wrong side of the stretch...and they didn't stretch! Can you remember which way you need to cut the hat out to avoid that?

    Symhome mom said...


    I honestly think I have probably used the fabric in several directions as far as stretch goes. I would suggest just trial and error as to the fabric that you have on hand . . . it may vary. Thanks for the comment!


    Kathryn said...

    Thanks so much! I am not super crafty but really wanna be. I might take a go at these!

    Rocky said...


    The grain (same direction as the selvage) will have less stretch. This is due to how it is knitted. The cross grain (perpendicular to the selvage) will have a lot more stretch.

    So you want the grain to go vertically on your body for stability and the cross grain to go around your body to allow extra room and movement.

    Hope my nerdiness is of help.


    Becca said...

    We made a ton of these scarfs during VBS this year at church and then donated them to a local women's shelter. The kids loved cutting the tassles (we presewed them) and it was a great service project!

    Melanie said...

    I love making these hats! I should probably pull out the fleece and make my daughter a new one - I'm pretty sure she's outgrown her old one.

    One thing I do is go inside the bunched up portion (from the top) and hand-sew a few stitches around the inside to make sure that the bunching stays in place and doesn't slip around. Then I don't have to tie the tie quite so tightly and risk stretching it out.

    I also sometimes like to cut angled ends on the ties and/or the fringes - a single slant, or a pointed end, etc.

    Lee said...

    As far as getting the stretchiness on the fabric, you usually cut against the grain to get the stretchiness in fabric. However fleece is not a woven fabric and their is no selvage or grain, the stretchiness would depend entirely on the type of fleece you get, so test the stretchiness at the store.

    Kristine said...

    One more thing for the stretch - if you do a straight stitch, the stitches will keep it from stitching. Do a zig zag like she has pictured, and the seam will be able to stretch.