Customer Reviews: Fleece Hat Friends: 25+ Easy-to-Sew Projects
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on October 13, 2012
I am an experienced intermediate-level sewist. I was excited to find this book of whimsical hats (perfect for kids' birthday gifts!) But, I found constructing the base hat to be surprisingly difficult due to lack clarity in the (very lengthy, but not often illustrated) directions. I also found two significant problems with the drafted pattern for the base hat.

The basic hat pattern is designed as 4 pointed sections that meet at the crown. The pattern instructs you to cut two pattern pieces of this pointed shape ON THE FOLD. Doing so means that you will have two smooth side seams and two half seams which jut out oddly like poorly constructed darts.

The brim is a large rectangle that you sew into a tube before attaching to the top of the hat. I followed the pattern exactly, and ended up having to remove, recut, and reattach the brim. This is because (even though the fleece I used in the brim of this hat was the stretchiest in my collection) the patterned piece was at least two inches shorter than what was needed to fit around the hat.

I might suggest making the base hat from a conventional pattern and using this book for its worthwhile embellishment ideas and techniques. But, if you do choose to use the base hat pattern from this book I definitely suggest the following:

(1) Consider making the next size up. The youth size (S) is just slightly small on my 3 1/2 year old.

(2) Read the header of each page twice to be sure you know the percentage by which that particular pattern piece should be enlarged. NOTE: The pointed pattern piece for the top of the hat should NOT be magnified at all. Only the brim should be enlarged 200%. I had to figure this out by trial and error, as the layout of the book made it hard to tell if the 200% instruction applied to one page or both.

(3) Do NOT cut the pointed pattern piece (for the top of the hat) on the fold. Instead, cut four separate pieces from this pattern. This will use the same amount of fabric, but will give you much smoother seams on the finished product.

(4) Cut your brim a few inches longer than recommended. Better to trim the piece if needed than waste fabric by recutting the whole piece.

(5) When attaching the brim follow the directions to assemble the hat with both pieces wrong side out and the top tucked inside the brim. Turn the hat so the top is right side out, then fold the brim up to to (and just beneath) the stitching line. Next, fold the brim up again OVER the bottom edge of the hat. You're not quite folding on the stitching line, but just about 1/4 inch below it (just enough to encase the seam which hangs down and to ensure that the brim shows on the lower edge, rather than the stitching line.) Pin in place and proceed following the directions in the book.

(6) Do use a serger, if you have one, to construct the base hat. Most of your thread trails will be encased in the brim, so you won't even have to secure them. Using a serger gives you a seam with some stretch and the base hat comes very together quickly... especially if you don't have to do everything twice, as I did. ;)

I will say that although I found the pattern for the base hat to be problematic, I didn't have any problems making the embellishments. The finished product is very cute.

One last caveat, the embellishments do involve a good bit of hand sewing. If you (like me) prefer working on a machine, be aware!
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on August 27, 2012
I made the Floppy-Eared Rabbit for my eight year old granddaughter in just a few hours. You will love the author's easy-to-follow instructions. In addition, what a great way to use up your "stash" of left-over fleece. Now she wants to be a bunny rabbit for Halloween and I have to make a bunny suit to go with the hat. Needless to say, she loves the hat!
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VINE VOICEon August 30, 2012
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon September 13, 2012
Fleece Hat Friends has completely adorable ideas and my kids immediately chose their favorite for me to make for them. The awesome thing about the designs is they are all based on one "basic" hat to which elements are added to, in order to create the different animals and creatures. There are twenty five projects altogether and all of them use fleece, which they give instructions for if you bought it off of the bolt or use the 9"×12″ sheets. Most of the hats have big, round eyes that are easily made from fleece and fiberfill.

Each has full instructions, templates and even a cute illustration of the final product. My daughter requested the floppy ear rabbit, so I'm working on that one and it is very simple to do, with its black beads for eyes and fluffy bunny tail on the back. In addition to the hats, there are several extra projects in Fleece Hat Friends, including a scarf, bag and sweatshirt. as well as darling tails which can be made to match each hat. Very fun book!
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on December 22, 2013
Many times my crafting experiments turn out like warped, sad versions of the example I was trying to follow. Not so this time. I have made the 'All a Buzz' hat and the Dinosaur hat & backpack set. They look just like the examples in the book! No one is more surprised by this than me. My only warning about the book is that I agree with many reviewers in that the basic hat pattern results in a fairly square shaped hat, which has bumps on it at each corner. I just re-stitched this part until I could achieve a smooth, round look. I felt the projects had a nice mixture of machine and hand sewing, as I enjoy doing both. Mostly I'm just happy to have been able to make such cute hand-made gifts for Christmas giving. Great book!
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on March 13, 2015
These hats are adorable. I am a very inexperienced sewer (I learned to use my machine last week and have made a few bookmarks, a set of curtains, then 2 of these hats). I made the dog and the alien / monster. The hats are great, but I had to do a lot of ripping back. The dog (my first hat, for my 8 year old, made size small) was about an inch and a half shorter than the hats that fit him well. So I took the brim off, added material, and thankfully was able to cover that seam when I put the brim back. Also, in this pattern, she never actually explicitly tells you when to attach the brim. A small but nerve-wracking oversight for a brand new sewer like me.

Then I made the alien for my five year old (also a size small). Some of the directions were completely unclear. For the teeth, for example, which are made from a small rectangle of white fleece about as wide a quarter, the directions say: "Roll one piece and sew the loose edge in place." Are we rolling it long edge to long edge, or the other way? Sew the edge to what? Itself? The hat? Is the loose edge a long edge or a short edge? "Choose one end to be the top." Okay, so clearly in the first sentence I wasn't supposed to sew it to the hat, but the picture of the tooth piece only shows stitches on one short end, so maybe it was supposed to be rolled short end to short end? "To make this end look like a rounded tooth, pull the top front layer over the spiral and sew it in place." What spiral? What is this about? I got totally lost at this point and gave up. "Tuck a half inch of the tooth under the brim...and pin in place." Whoa, if I am tucking a half inch, then I was supposed to make the tooth the long way after all, or there isn't enough tooth for a whole half inch to be tucked under, but the picture doesn't show any stitching on the long edges.

This seems like a small thing, and it was a small part of the hat and I simply winged it, but it's indicative of the kind of problems I had throughout the process. She does give some good advice like how to manage a lot of layers going through your machine at once, which I really appreciate, and of course I don't expect her to tell me every little thing or the book would be 4X as long as it is, but there were some bits that just lacked clarity for me.

However, I'm still in for 4 stars because any book that can walk a newbie like me through creating 2 hats that are so irresistible deserves it!
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on May 12, 2013
I really want to LOVE this book, seriously it's great but I can't see why ruin it with the tiny patterns that need an experienced crafter I don't see a problem but as a procrastinator...I have a one year old son and I suspect he won't be wearing one on these hats until he is 6 or 7, yes that's how long it's gonna take for me to enlarge those patterns...
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on August 27, 2015
WARNING: Very cute and frustrating book. Patterns are not full sized. You have to enlarge them to various percentages. The book suggests taking it to your local copy shop so I did, even though it was inconvenient. They refused to do it because it is copyrighted. So I am trying to drum up someone who might be able to help me. I have all my fleece and supplies for my first 4 hats and am so annoyed that they could not supply a decent pattern. Mary Rasch find a publisher that's not so cheap, for $17.95 you should expect a full sized pattern.
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on December 8, 2015
These hats are SO cute. As others have mentioned, there's a single style hat and a lot of adorable embellishments to create the characters. I probably would make some minor changes to the pattern and instructions,but I'm an experienced seamstress and actually seldom follow the directions as written. (I DO read them first.) I'm having trouble deciding which one to begin with. Here in Wisconsin, hats are useful for a lot of the year so I suspect I'll be making a lot of them.
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on November 8, 2013
Fast shipping, great quality & really cute ideas! I would give it 5 stars if the patterns came full size and there were step by step picture instructions. The mostly verbal instructions took a few hats for me to figure out.
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