I have been making fun fleece hats for several years now. The kids love them, they're warm, and they are pretty cheap to make, if you shop right. At the bottom of the post, it tells you how I get my fleece dirt cheap, all year round.
This is an article I wrote a few years ago on Gather, and the original can be found here.
First things first- pick out 1 or 2 fleece fabrics. When you lay it out, you want the fabric to be laid out so that the stretch is what will fit around your head. Usually, that means using the raw edges as the top and bottom of the hat, not the material finished edge.
Next, using a tape measure, measure your head circumference- or the circumference of the person who will be wearing the hat. If it's for a gift, use a comparable sized head. ;)
Now, you want to measure the fabric. The general rule is to make the bottom edge the length of the head measurement, plus 2 inches. That gives an allowance for seams, while giving a snug fit.
If you want to use just 1 fabric, you'll want it to be 16-18" wide (tall) for an adult, or 14-16" wide (tall) for a child. If you use 2 fabrics, you want the adult width to be 14-16", and 12-14" for children.
If using the 2nd fabric, cut the contrasting fabric to be 4 to 4.5 inches wide, and the same length as the hat- your head circumference, plus 2 inches.
Next, we start the sewing. You want to pick a side of the fabric that you want to face "out". Usually, one side has a slightly fuzzier side. I usually put that side to face inward.
So, lay the fabric with the right side facing down on the work surface (which for me is the floor), then lay the shorter strip along the bottom edge (which can be either side if it's unpatterened, or without a specific direction to the pattern). This strip should also be right side down.
In comes the sewing machine! After it's lined up, sew a straight edge along the bottom edge of the two fabrics. Once it's done, snip the excess thread, and fold the flap so that both of the right side's are facing out.
Now, you want to fold the top edge of the 2nd fabric inward, and pin it into place. Sew another straight edge, this time along the top edge of the thin band of fabric to hold it into place.
You can sew another line under that one, and a third along the bottom half if you choose.
Now that this is sewn into place, you need to fold the fabric in half, so that the two side edges (the short edges) are lined up, and the hat is inside out again. Sew a straight edge down the side, but leave the top 3-4" of fabric unsewn.
From here, you'll need either yur scissors or a rotary cutter to fringe the top 3-4" of fabric. Turn the hat right side out. Gather the fringe, and take a spare peice of fleece fabric to tie around the top of the hat, gathering a "puff ball" of fringe.
Viola! You have a cute hat that took about 20 minutes, and only cost a dollar or two. To keep the price low, and your options high, I recommend scanning the remanent bins every time you go to a fabric store.
Anytime there's fleece, go ahead and pick it up. It's half the price it would be on the shelf for the same cut of fabric, and often, it's marked down even further. Joann Fabrics regularly has their remanents on sale 50-75% off the marked price, making it pennies on the dollar of buying it off the bolt.
And again, it gives you some awesome choices as you stock pile it. Of course, you eventually start to run out of room when storing it, but that's just semantics, right?
My favorite winter hat is a "Santa" hat I made- instead of a contrasting fleece, I used fake white "fur", which can be found at Craft stores. Instead of a straight hat, I cut it on an angle, to make it triangular. For the end puff, I made loops instead of fringe, and I attached a big jingle bell to it. The kids love that hat, and I get so many compliments on it!
- Lay the fleece strips on top of each other. The edges do not have to match perfectly.
- Sew a zig zag stitch straight down the very MIDDLE of the fabric, not the edges.
- Use your scissors or a rotary cutter to fringe the edges. You can do it narrow or wide. Make sure you leave about 1/2 inch of space near the middle uncut, so the scarf doesn't cut apart!
One of the best parts of both of these items, are that you need almost no sewing "Know-How" to make them. You can even make them without a sewing machine, though it IS much faster with a machine. These make wonderful gifts for adults and children both!