I’m a Scout Mom. Not the kind that goes camping or that faithfully attends every meeting or that helps with the bookkeeping or merit badges or the like. No, my introverted self prefers to facilitate the menfolk’s participation by having dinner ready early on Scout nights and then pulling dish duty afterward. I’m also ready with a hot meal for them when they return from camping. In that respect, I’m more Scout infrastructure than anything else, enabling them to more easily participate in Scouts, except when it comes to the fleece hats.
Every winter, the guys go on a winter camping adventure called Klondike Derby. It’s been a tradition for our troop to outfit itself with neat hand-sewn fleece hats for every Klondike event. Every year, the hats are different. We’ve had jester hats, Jughead hats, and Viking hats, to name a few. A few years ago, I took over as our Hat Maven and have been cranking out hats for Klondike every winter since. It’s my contribution to the cause.
A few years ago, I happened upon some BSA logo fleece. I bought yards and yards of it and used it to make a sort of tent Snuggie for my husband’s tent, so that it would be an extra layer of insulation when he was on a super-cold camping trip. What I didn’t know then was that there would be no more BSA logo fleece to be had after that year. I don’t know what the story is there — whether the manufacturers didn’t find this niche market profitable, or whether there were hang-ups with negotiating licensing fees, or what, but I haven’t found anything like the logo fleece since the year I bought my original supply.
The tent Snuggie didn’t work out as well as we thought, so this year, I repurposed it for Klondike hats. I carefully cut out the eagle crest, with accompanying fleur-de-lis, and incorporated them into hats. The result was pretty cool.
If you’re curious, the basic pattern I used is from Martha Stewart’s website. I didn’t have enough logo fabric for a complete horizontal stripe, so I cut out about a 9 X 5 strip from the logo fabric, then sewed two side strips in coordinating solid fleece to it that were about 8 X 5 inches each, to make an entire strip. The top part of the hat is about 6 X 24, and the brim strip is about 3 X 24. I used different color schemes for the Scout hats and the adult leader hats, which is a setup everyone seems to like.
I have to make about 40 hats every year, which is something of a production. I try to do this in an assembly line fashion. First, I prototype one or more hat styles and consider whether the guys like them and whether I can really crank out 40 of them without losing my sanity. So, no odd shapes, extensive cutting, or sewing more than two layers of fleece together at once. That way madness lies. Then, I buy the fleece, cut everything out, and start sewing. Or rather, serging. Serging is much faster than sewing. About the only part I sew is the topstitching on the folded-up brim. True, I could try my blind hemming foot on the serger, but I don’t trust it on the thick fleece.
This weekend, I am sewing. And sewing, and sewing. My knitting beckons me, but I will have to let it lie in the knitting basket for right now. When I have another free moment, I’ll post some more photos of the hats in progress, along with some additional details about the construction. Until then, I’ll be in the sewing room.