It is no secret that I love to make things although I rarely transcend beginner status because I have a short attention span. For me half the fun is in the learning and to that end if the girls are quiet, the dogs are groomed and the hubby is washing dinner dishes you will often find me scouring the Internet for some tutorial or other. It is also no secret that we are expecting the pitter patter of tiny feet once again and so the sewing machine that I bought two years ago (and has been left to decorate the loft ever since) has finally moved back into my life, so I thought I would do a little tutorial of my own :).
This is recycling, upcycling or just plain old reusing an old t-shirt into baby hat and scratch mitts and it is a first attempt so bear with me!!!
Step 1 is to look longingly at the old t-shirt that will no longer go near you due to bump and rides up to expose stretch marks when you are back to bumpless hehe. It is also to grab an old baby hat from one of your previous kiddies (or a new one if you have begun preparing for your new arrival). Once you have those it is all about scissors, pins and sewing machine.
Step 2 is to turn your t-shirt inside out and draw the shape. Using your existing baby hat as a template and leaving a good margin, line up the bottom of your hat with the hem of your t-shirt (saves a job later!) and draw around it. I didn’t want an exact copy of my old baby hat so added some ‘ears’ to knot at the end.
I think step 3a might vary in importance depending on the stretchiness of the fabric and your patience but I pinned it before cutting it out to keep the two sides of the t-shirt together and matched up. This was a pretty stretch fabric so I knew as I cut it the two sides may cease to match up. 3b is the cutting. Take it steady and if any pins slip make sure those sides are still matching before you carry on snipping!
Step 4 is the sewing. Keep the right sides of the t-shirt facing together (that is the two bits you want to see on your baby hat because you will be turning it inside out once you are done. I used two stitches for mine, first a straight stitch a quarter of an inch in from the edge and then to finish it off a zig zag stitch just to strengthen in up and stop any fraying (I have no idea how frayable this fabric is so I am erring on the side of caution)
That is your hat done so it is time to move onto the mitts! I have learned that mittens rarely remain on hands and it is for that reason I didn’t bother looking for an old one to use as a template because quite simply I could look forever and never ever EVER find one! So here we go again.
Step 1. Using your inside out t shirt, draw your shape a bit bigger than you would want your mittens to be to accommodate the stitch margin and the space to slide the little hand in. Again use the hem of your t-shirt as the hem of your mittens to save messing around more than necessary :).
Step 2. I totally cheated and folded the t-shirt over so I didn’t have to cut twice (short attention span, remember!?), pinned it and snip snippety snip!
Step 3. Again with the two stitch sewing – with right sides (outside of the fabric) facing together, straight stitch to secure and zigzag to neaten, strengthen and prevent fraying. This literally took me about five minutes for both mittens.
Step 4. Turn everything inside out so the stitches are hidden. If you did the ears like me on your hat you will probably need a pen and some pins to work those out of themselves, but once that is done the knotting is simple (pun alert: “knotting is ever simple!” lol, sorry) and you are DONE! Half an hour project even if you are a first timer with a kiddlywink asking “why you doing that?” every ten seconds.
You could add your own embellishments if you wanted to carry on – bows, buttons, patches etc. I am looking at this and desperately wishing I had some googly eyes to put on the front of the hat for a bit of fun to make the knots look like tiny antennae (silly mood apparently!). Since these are practical items rather than dressy ones (baby is due December so hats and mitts will be required!) it doesn’t matter if it is a bit rough round the edges. If you want perfect go and buy them, if you want home made then prepare yourself to fall in love with flaws!