One of my favorite characters in the Warner Bros.® series of cartoons is Witch Hazel, who debuted in the 1954 short, "Bewitched Bunny." Disney® had previously created a Witch Hazel, and she was kind of cool too, but not nearly as sarcastic or quite as much the fashion victim as the Hazel created by Warner Bros. animator, Chuck Jones. A major part of his Hazel's signature style included a wonderfully crumpled black hat. We think she would approve of our Dead Roses Halloween Hat with its scrunched top, wilting flowers and stowaway spider. Hauntingly hideous haute couture!
Our original witch hat was made from pre-cuts. We used Haunted Mansion by Sanae for Moda Fabrics, which is an older collection that is not readily available. In the supply list below, we indicate both the pre-cuts used as well as the fabric required should you not wish to use pre-cuts. Several of the top manufacturers come out with new Halloween collections each season. From this year's offerings, our favorite for this hat are from the the Black Magic collection by Dana Brooks for Henry Glass & Co., which we found at Fabric.com. To see the full collection, click on the sample swatches below:
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8200 QC)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- THREE Fat Quarters; if you are not using pre-cut Fat Quarters, you will need three pieces of fabric 18" x 22" or will need to purchase three ½ yard cuts (the Fat Quarters are indeed the same overall area as a quarter yard, but because of the sizing on the patterns, a standard horizontal quarter yard cut won't work; you need to bump up to a ½ yard to make sure you have both the width and depth required); we used Haunted Mansion in Purple Campfire (for the brim bottom), Black Campfire (for the pointed top) and Black Wallpaper (for the brim top)
- 2 yards of fine black netting; we suggest a fine nylon netting
- 1½ yards of medium weight fusible interfacing; we suggest Pellon Décor Bond
- One package of double fold bias tape: we used Wrights in Dark Gray Double Fold
- One package of single fold bias tape: we used Wrights in Dark Gray Single Fold
- One small roll of floral wire
- All-purpose thread in color to match with fabric: we used dark gray
- See-through ruler
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Measuring tape
- Fabric pencil, pen or chalk
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- One large, glittery spider (optional)
The Dead Roses:
You need FOUR pre-made Dead Roses. We made ours using our Organza Flowers tutorial.
Our fabrics came from the local Jo-Ann Fabrics: the black poly is 100% Polyester Sew Essential Anti Static Lining in black, the dusty lilac is Casa Collection Amethyst Organza 100% Polyester, the purple is Crepon Sheer Parachute Purple 100% Nylon, and the black is Crepon Sheer Black 100% Nylon.
We bought one yard of the Amethyst and ½ yard of the others and had plenty left over.
- Download and print out the Witch Hat Pointed Top pattern and the Witch Hat Brim pattern.
IMPORTANT: The Pointed Top pattern consists of FOUR 8½" x 11" sheets and the Brim pattern consists of SIX 8½" x 11" sheets. You must print these PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Butt the pages together in order to create the full patterns. Do NOT overlap. Tape together.
- Cut out the assembled patterns along the solid lines.
- Cut two 18" x 22" rectangles from the fusible interfacing.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Following manufacturer's directions, apply one piece of fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the Fat Quarter (or the 18" x 22" piece of fabric) that will become the top of your brim (Black Wallpaper in our sample). Apply the other piece to the wrong side of the Fat Quarter (or the 18" x 22" piece of fabric) that will become the pointed top of your hat (Black Campfire in our sample).
- Since we will be finishing the edge of the hat brim with binding, we will be working the the fabrics WRONG sides together.
- Place the interfaced brim top fabric (Black Wallpaper in our sample) right side down on your work surface. Lay the un-interfaced brim bottom fabric (Purple Campfire in our sample) on top of it right side facing up (so the two layers are wrong sides together). Pin the assemble Brim pattern on top.
- Cut around both the outside circle and the inside circle through all the layers.
- Make snips where indicated on the pattern for the darts. Make sure your clips stay within the ½" seam allowance. Mark the point of the darts with your fabric pen or pencil. Remove the paper pattern.
NOTE: We found it easiest to leave the two pieces of the hat brim loosely pinned together throughout the steps.
- We designed darts into the brim to allow the brim to curve down for a more witchy look. To stitch the darts into each of the brim circles, we first unpinned and folded the bottom (purple) circle in half, leaving the top (black) circle flat on the work surface. By doing this, we could easily see where the darts go.
- Align the snips in the outer brim and mark your dart lines with your see through ruler. Take just the bottom brim to your machine and stitch both darts in place.
NOTE: If you are new to darts, not to worry, they're easy. As described above, you mark the two outside bottom corners and the point of your dart when your pattern and fabric are flat. To make the dart, fold the fabric right sides together so the two bottom marks align. Then draw a straight diagonal line from these aligned marks to the top point mark, creating a long triangle. You stitch the dart from the wide end to the point. Rather than back-tacking at the point of the dart, which can cause a bubble, leave your thread tails long enough to tie a double knot by hand. For more information, take a look at our full tutorial: How To Make a Dart.
- Repeat to stitch the darts in the top (black) circle.
- Press the darts on the top and bottom in opposite directions to avoid a lump in the brim, then re-pin the two layers together around both the inner and outer edges. Remember, your two pieces are WRONG sides together.
- Stitch around the inner circle, using a ½" seam allowance.
- Clip just shy of the stitching line every ½" or so around the inner circle. This will allow the seam allowances to spread smoothly into the crown of the hat.
- Edgestitch around the outer edge of the brim to secure all the layers so you can remove the pins. We used a zig zag stitch.
- Using the paper pattern as a pressing guide, steam and press the double fold bias tape to fit snugly around the outer edge. But DO NOT sew it on to the brim yet.
NOTE: Pre-folded bias tape has one edge that is slightly wider than the other. For this project, place the wider side on the bottom so when you stitch close to the edge on top, you will be sure to catch the fold of the tape on the bottom!.
- Find the remaining Fat Quarter (or 18" x 22" piece of fabric): the interfaced piece for the pointed top of the hat (Black Campfire in our sample). Place it flat on your work surface.
- Cut two triangles using the Pointed Top pattern. You can print out and assemble two pattern pieces to place, pin and cut. Or, simply cut one, flip the pattern over, and cut the second. The two triangles fit snugly side by side on the Fat Quarter.
- Stitch the long side seams of the pointed top, using a ½" seam allowance. Then stitch again in between the first line of stitching and the raw edge. This creates a channel for the wire that we will insert later to shape the bent tip of the hat.
- Trim the seam allowances back at the tip and turn the hat right side out.
- Place the pointed top inside the inner circle of the brim. The right side of the pointed top should be against the top of the brim.
- Align the raw edges, matching the seams of the brim's darts to the side seams of the pointed cone. Pin together... a lot!
- Stitch around the inner circle once, through all the layers, following your previous stitching line that secured the two brim layers.
- From the SINGLE fold bias tape, cut a length to fit around the inner circle plus a couple extra inches for a clean finish fold.
- Pin the bias tape around the inner circle, opening up on fold and placing this first fold of the tape on the fabric so the fold's crease line is right on the stitching you just made.
- Fold, smooth and press the bias tape and the seam allowances up... towards the cone, covering the seam allowance with the bias tape.
- Edge stitch the bias tape in place, through all the layers, so it completely covers the raw edges of the seam allowance.
IMPORTANT: You need to leave a gap at each side seam so you can insert the wire up the side seam channels into the pointed top of the hat. So, this means you need to edgestitch the bias tape in TWO semi circles rather than in a complete circle. In other words, stitch from seam to seam, then reposition and stitch the opposite half from seam to seam. Remember to back-tack at either side of channel gaps.
- Also remember to fold under the end of the bias tape to create a clean finish when the ends join.
Wiring the brim and pointed top
- The floral wire we found at the craft store was a bit too thin to support the weight of the fabric so we ended up using three strands of it. You may be able to find a thicker wire, if so, feel free to use that. However, one benefit of the thinner wire is it's easier to control and bend.
- Measure the circumference of the extreme outer edge of the brim with your tape measure, and cut the wire three times that length. Fold into thirds. Pinch the folds nice and tight. If you use heavier wire, you may not need all three lengths.
- Set you machine on the widest zig zag. Position the wire close to the edge of the brim along the edgestitching line you made earlier.
- Carefully align the foot so the swing of the zig and the zag falls to ether side of the wire into the fabric. You want to avoid stitching on the wire.
- Go slowly and keep a smooth curve, stitching all the way around the brim to secure the wire.
- Remember that piece of double fold bias tape you pressed and steamed along the edge of the paper pattern? Go get it now.
- Insert the wired brim of the hat in between the folds of the bias tape. As we mentioned above, one fold is slightly wider than the other; this wider fold should be against the bottom of the brim, the narrower fold on top. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch the binding, being careful to catch both front and back with your stitching. As always, go slowly and carefully, and don't be afraid to stop every so often, with your needle in the DOWN position, and adjust the fabric so you stay on a nice, smooth curve and are certain you are catching both the front and the back of the binding in the one seam.
- Measure the side seam of the pointed top.
- Cut two lengths of wire, each of them three times that measurement.
- Fold each length of wire in thirds and twist or braid them together to make two firm wires. Again, as above, if your wire seems thick enough on its own, you may be able to get away with two or just a single length.
- Bend one end to give it a rounded tip, then feed it into the side seam channel of the pointed top. Push the wire all the way up to the tip. Bend the remaining end back on itself so it doesn't poke you when you wear the hat.
- Bury that end of the wire under the bias tape. Remember... you left a gap when your edgestitched that single fold bias tape?! There's a little pocket there to hide the wire.
- Repeat to insert the other piece of wire into the opposite side channel.
- Stitch the little bias tape gaps closed with either your machine (that's what we did, carefully matching the existing seam lines on either side) or stitch by hand.
Netting, spider, roses and crumple
- Open out the netting and scrunch it up near the center to a width of about 6".
- Sew a line of stitches across at the center to secure the scrunch.
- Fold the netting on the stitch line and hand stitch it in place at the center back of the hat (there really isn't a specific front and back - it's your choice. Pick whichever side of the pointed top you think looks best to be the front). It should be stitched right along the seam where the pointed top joins the brim so the netting cascades off the back.
- Hand tack the pre-made Dead Roses onto the front of the hat, following our picture as a guide, and glue or sew the glittery spider in place amongst the Dead Roses.
- Finally, crumple the top of the hat in your best witchy way. It should look like you fell off your broomstick... or maybe ran into a low-hanging bat.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever