Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fully lining hats with polar fleece

click any illustration to enlarge
Lining handknit caps with polar fleece is a good trick to know. (Click here for further information about polar fleece.) Lining with polar fleece can make too-big hats fit, and it eliminates wool itchiness from sensitive foreheads.

TECHknitting blog has already shown how to line knitted hats with polar fleece headband style; today's post shows how to fully line a hat. Basically, with this trick, you make another hat of polar fleece, then sew that inside your knitted hat. With a lining in a heavy weight of fleece, the hat will be suitable for arctic expeditions--excellent where I live (Wisconsin)--but in more temperate climates, you may want to search out a thinner fleece for your lining so the hat won't be impossibly hot.

Step 1 (below): Polar fleece stretches more from selvedge to selvedge than along its length. Cut out a strip from the "wide" way on the fabric (as shown by the "direction of stretch" arrow). The strip should be approximately 10 or 11 inches high and 24 to 26 inches wide. This strip will become the inner lining hat.
Step 2 (below): Wrap the strip around the intended wearer's head with the "not-so-good" side facing out and pin it shut. It would be wise to wear the pinned strip around the house for some time--what seems comfortably snug on first pinning can come to feel ear-numbingly tight after extended wear.
Step 3 (below): Sew the tube shut as pinned. If you have a serger, use that. With a sewing machine you can sew a simple straight seam. If you are sewing by hand, use the back stitch.
Step 4 (below): Trim the excess from the seam. The illustration shows pinking shears, but you can trim with ordinary scissors. Polar fleece does not unravel, so you can trim closer than with woven cloth. An approximately 3/8 inch seam allowance is good, but bold souls can trim as close as 1/4 inch, while nervous sorts can trim to a standard 5/8 seam allowance. If you do have a sewing machine, you might wish to re-sew over the cut edge with the machine's zig-zag or overcast stitch, but this is not necessary.
Step 5 (below): Have the intended wearer try on the tube. Pull the tube down well over the forehead so that you don't accidentally make the lining too shallow. Pin shut the top of the tube so that it comfortably conforms to the shape of the wearer's head. Below is an illustration, and at this link is a photo of the process in real life (Ravelry link).
Step 6: Just as you sewed the back seam of the tube in step 3, so now you will sew the top of the tube shut. Let the actual sewing of the seam be approximately 1/2 inch above the pins, and this should allow plenty of wiggle room.

Step 7: Just as you trimmed the excess from the seam allowance in step 5, so you will trim the excess fabric from above the top seam. Use the same width of seam allowance as on the back of the tube--somewhere between 1/4 inch and 5/8 inch.

Step 8 (below): OPTIONAL Have the wearer try on the sewn-shut tube. At this point, if you like, you can adjust the shape of the tube to be more anatomically correct by flipping up the front of the hat until the tube sits comfortably on the head. Once the comfortable amount of front flip has been determined, mark the flip with a line of pins.
Step 9: If you did step 8, then in this step, you trim away the excess fabric from the front of the lining by trimming along the pinned line. You want to flip up and trim from the front, rather than the back so that you are not cutting through the back seam--cutting the back seam could possibly encourage that sewing in that seam to run out, while cutting in the front creates no problems at all. Remember, polar fleece fabric does not unravel.

Step 10 (below): You have now created a custom lining which will fit the wearer. At this point, you want to sew the lining into the hat. A polar fleece lining is sewn into a hat ONLY AT THE BOTTOM EDGE of the hat. There is no reason to sew it in along the top. By having the lining free-floating in the hat (attached only at the bottom edge) the hat will lay far smoother on the wearer's head than if the lining were attached at the top of the hat too.

Here is the how-to trick for pinning the lining evenly into a hat (or should I say--for pinning the HAT evenly inside the LINING!?)

Begin by turning the hat INSIDE OUT. Fit the lining OVER the hat, with the sewn seams of the
lining facing the inside of the hat. In other words,
  • the hat will be encased, inside-out, inside of the lining
  • the good side of the lining will be showing, and
  • the not-so-good side of the lining (the side with the seams) will rest against the inside fabric of the hat.
Align the back seams.

(If you think you may have seen this diagram before, you have! This is the identical diagram from the post on headband-style lining, and, in fact, the two methods are the same!)

a: Holding the hat (gray shape) inside the lining (blue shape), S-T-R-E-T-C-H the hat and the lining with both forefingers into a long shape which can be stretched no further. This automatically centers the hat inside the lining. Pin the lining to the hat in these two spots.

Do you wonder how you can pin in the lining while your hands are inside the hat and band, stretching everything smooth? You can ask someone to help you, of course, but if you are alone, you can take a shortcut by pinning in one contact point BEFORE you start the stretching-out process, then pinch the hat and lining together where you find the second contact should go. Just be sure not to prick yourself with the pre-set pin, which would go right against one of your stretching fingers.

b. along one side, divide the length between the two pins in half by again stretching the hat and the lining until they can stretch no further. Pin this third contact point.

c. along the other side, repeat step b. Four points are now pinned.

d. again stretching between two contact points, set a fifth contact point at the half-way mark between two already-set pins.

e. repeat the "stretching to find the half-way point" 3 more times until a total of 8 contact points are securely pinned down.

f. the perfectionists among us may want to again halve each side length for a total of 16 contact points.

Do not be alarmed if the lining is larger than the hat OR if the hat is larger than the lining. Once you have sewn the lining in place, the hat and lining will fit one another very well. The larger item, whether hat or lining, is eased to the smaller one by means of stretching out the smaller item as you sew, stitch by stitch, with the pins in place to divide the sections equally so all the ease does not wind up in one big lump on one side of the finished hat.

Thus, a too-large hat can be eased onto a smaller lining by stretching the lining out as the hat is stitched to it. When the sewing is done, the excess fabric of the hat will be distributed in tiny little bite-size pieces all around the lining. As the lining is released from stretching--as it shrinks back to near its original shape--it will take the too-large hat with it. Similarly, hats made of heavily textured fabric (ribbing, cables) will "draw in" much more than the smooth lining. Accordingly, the hat must be gently stretched to fit the lining.

To explain in different words: "Ease as you sew" is sewing jargon for stretching the smaller item (whether hat or lining) to match the larger item (whether lining or hat) as you sew the two together. When you have sewn the garment and the lining together and you take your hand away, you will see that they both lay smoothly together, regardless of the fact that the smaller one has been stitched into a new, stretched position.

As to which stitch to use, you can follow these instructions for the overcast stitch. I highly recommend sewing linings into knit garments by hand, rather than by machine: the end result is nearly always nicer, and the hand-sewn overcast stitch allows for a flexible and comfortable connection between the lining and the hat.

--TECHknitter (You have been reading TECHknitting on: "How to line a knitted hat.")


Judith said...

OMG. I can't beleive I JUST found this blog! Its fantastic. Too bad I'm at work and can't read it all. I can hardly wait to get home and start lining stuff, knitting hats and of course stripes without Jogs! I'll be coming back again and again. (Knitting Rose pointed me in this direction, but now I want to tell everyone!

Thanks for all your hard work.


Maryann said...

Thanks for another great tutorial! Although I avoid sewing as a rule, I have several knit bags that would be much nicer with linings. Now I'm not afraid to try lining them with polar fleece.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!! Exactly what I was looking for!

JDai said...

Just wanted to thank you for making your instructions "Trish-proof". =)

Anya said...

Wow, this is an awesome post -- thanks for your detail. I've been wondering how to add a fleece lining, and I'm sure I could have figured it out myself, but it is very helpful to have your tips and instructions. Thanks!

Lakaya M. Peeples said...

Have a similar challenge for you...I need to line a jacket I turn it into a coat...I was looking for something like this but its a jacket not a hat. any suggestions? Also, I'm sewing by hand not machine, how well does polar fleece do when hand sewing?

yorkvillepurls said...

Thank you so much for having such a detailed page!!! I can't wait to try it out!

--TECHknitter said...

Hi Lakaya: A fleece lining might work for the body of a sweater, but I highly recommend a slippery (traditional ) coat lining fabric for the sleeves--otherwise, you will be caught like a bug in a spider web if you are trying to get into the coat when you are already wearing a sweater.

Hand sewing works very well with a polar fleece lining--works better than machine sewing, actually.

As to how to cut a lining--TECHknitting blog will be coming to this topic at some point in the future...stay tuned.

Thanks for writing. --TK

Leah said...

Ah, this was a truly helpful tutorial! Thank you so much for posting this. I used it to line a crocheted hat, using an old t-shirt as the lining. I look forward to checking out the rest of this blog.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this great blog! I was wondering how to do this, and now I know!

pam said...

I cannot wait for directions to line a coat. That would be the greatest thing since sliced bread, na Jogless stripes, no maybe it's closing sock toes with knitting needles, wait it's gotta be any and all of your amazing tips! Can't pick a fav. Love the pictures too. I forget all about food when it comes to reading TECHknitter! =0D

cheryl wildfong said...

Just what I was looking for . Thanks for the great option !


Sonya said...

You are amazing! Thank you for your kindness and sharing! I am finding all kinds of answers to my questions here.

hummer said...

This was just what I was looking for thank you for posting.

Kris said...

Thanks for posting this. I've made three hats so far based off of this concept and it has truly helped make my knitted hats all the better.

Elaine said...

Thanks for this tutortial. I'd like to line an earflap hat, and I assume the process would be the same, allowing enough fabric to line the earflaps. My question is: how do you sew/crochet a decorative edge along the bottom edge through the polar fleece?

TECHknitter said...

Hi Elaine--If it were my hat, I'd crochet the edging all around the bottom of the hat, and afterwards line the hat, sewing the fleece with tiny stitches to the top of the edging on the inside of the hat.


Lara said...

This is super helpful. Thank you. One question- do you hem the edge of the fleece before you sew it into the bottom edge of the hat, or is it just left plain (cut edge)? Thanks.

TECHknitter said...

Hi Lara--you can hem if you want to, but that adds bulk and is technically unnecessary, as fleece won't unravel. On the other hand, the cut edge may not look so excellent. So, what I try to do is roll the cut edge under ever so slightly, catching the threaded needle through the rolled-out part. This has the happy effect of tucking the cut edge under without adding the bulk of a full hem. Sorry it's not possible to demonstrate this in person, but if you try it, I believe you will get what I mean. If not, write again.


Lara said...

Thank you! That is helpful.

Michelle said...

Thanks so much for the excellent instructions and illustrations! I want to make a lining with satin. Would I need to do anything diferently?

TECHknitter said...

Hi Michelle: Polar fleece stretches, while satin does not. Therefore, you would make the satin liner to fit your head as if you were making the whole hat out of satin. In other words, you would not make the liner to fit tight, but make it to fit the way you want it to fit when wearing--loose enough to be comfortable. You then sew the hat to the outside. The hat will have to stretch over the liner, as well as over your head. Therefore, stretch the edge of the hat as you sew it down so that there are no wrinkles or overlaps where the knitted hat edge meets the satin hat lining edge. The end result might look strange, especially of the hat is smaller in circumference than the lining, and if you have to really stretch the hat edge to fit the liner. In that case,, it will look bell-shaped when you are not wearing it. However, it should look normal when you have it on your head.

Michelle said...

Thanks! I'm going to try this soon.

Ellen said...

Thanks, this is great.
I can't use polar fleece for the reason you point out, it makes it too hot and unbreathably sweaty for little heads.
Do you think I could use these instructions to line my hand knitted wooly hats (Pattern is Sirdar 1711) with printed cotton if I use the fabric on the bias?
I have lots of little hats for toddlers with ezcema who need the hats lined with this particular cotton fabric.

TECHknitter said...

Hi Ellen--I would use a knit cotton jersey, rather than woven cotton fabric. A woven fabric, even held on the bias, is no match for a stretchy knitted hat. Knit cotton jersey is easy to come by--if your fabric store does not have it, you can cut up old t-shirts, or if you'd like a heavier lining, old sweat-shirts. Best, TK

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your instructions. I made two hats for my son who is leaving for a state with very cold weather and I decided that I should line them but had never lined any of my knitting. Your instructions are great and just what I needed.

Anastasia said...

These were great instructions. I just finished lining a hat for my aunt (in Minneapolis...she needs the extra warmth!) and it turned out great. I've never really sewn before either, so now I can back stitch and overcast stitch as well! Thanks!

Girl Has Thyme said...

This is a great blog! This helped me so much today. I had knitted a hat for my father in law, which was way too big. By lining it with fleece, it fits snug and is much warmer!

Zoompad said...

Just found this blog, and I will be using this technique on the hat I am knitting, thanks so much for posting this.

Essence said...

I find both the headband and full hat method terrific, HOWEVER, the edge of the hat still touches skin, would I just bring the lining over the edge onto the right side and stitch. Seems it may be a bit unsightly.

TECHknitter said...

Hi Essence: The hat might touch skin but sometimes, the lining makes the hat thick enough where the hat stands out from the head by the thickness of the lining. Of course, whether this happens or not depends on how tight the hat was to begin with, and how thick the fleece used for lining is. In other words, for a person really allergic to wool, this trick will only work on a loose-ish hat thickly lined with fleece.

Amber-Lee said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial! It really helped me a lot. Any chance of you helping me out with lining an earflap hat? I tried to just line the head part and not the flaps, but it just looks horrible. Do you think I would somehow need to cut the fleece just perfectly including the shape of the earflaps before pinning the lining together around a head for sizing? That seems difficult to be sure it would match the size of the earflaps on the hat just right. I guess the only other option would be to cut fleece triangles for the flaps separately, then join them to the head lining. I can just see my ugly messy seams already. I would not be pretty. Can you shed any light? Thanks again for the tutorial!! It's really great! Amber

TECHknitter said...

Hi Amber-Lee--here is what I would do for an earflap hat: I'd sew a lining into each earflap, but leave it bigger than it needs to be on top where the hat joins the earflap) and wider on top too. Then, I would make the hat lining as directed in the post. Then, I would sew the hat lining in the front and back, SKIPPING where the ear flaps are. I would then try the hat on, adjusting the earflap lining where it meets the hat lining, to be sure it is comfortable. I would then PIN the earflap lining and the hat lining in place, take the hat off, trim the earflap lining so there is only a small amount of fabric to tuck under the hat lining, and would then sew the earflap lining to the hat lining. You can use the back stitch or the overcast stitch. If you fluff up the nap of the polar fleece with your thumb-nail after you finish the sewing, the nap will rise up and hide the stitches (especially if you use rather small stitches).

By adjusting the lining AFTER you try it on, the lining won't distort the hat.

Write again is still unsure, OK? Best, TK

TECHknitter said...

Arrgh--IF still unsure, OK?

Amber-Lee said...

Thank you! I'm going to give it a shot.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the wonderful, easy instructions, I knitted a hat and now can line it.

Aliya said...

This tutorial is GREAT. Question: I am knitting a hat from scratch that I am planning to line with felt. How much bigger would you suggest I make the hat in the first place in order for it to fit well with a fleece lining? My fear is that if I knit a hat that fits without the lining it'll be too small once I add the lining in.

TECHknitter said...

Hi Aliya: You are correct, the hat must be knit somewhat bigger than usual because the lining will make it smaller. How much bigger is a judgment call--and unfortunately, the first time you do this, you have no basis to make that call. Fortunately, the thing to remember is that a too-big knit hat can be "eased" to a correct-fitting inner lining, whereas a too-small knit hat must be stretched over the inner lining, making for a tight, uncomfortable fit.

So, if you have to err on one side or another, make the knit hat a bit larger than required, rather than smaller, then ease to fit the liner. ("Ease to fit" means sew away any excess fabric from the knit hat by sewing it to the liner in tiny little bites, a tiny bit of excess pleated up between each tiny sewing stitch.)

Anonymous said...

I've been trying to line hats with fleece for a long time. Your tutorial is AWESOME!!! Thank you so much. The results will be much nicer now!skHegi

Ann on a Moose said...

Just curious, how would you approach knitting a "slouchy" type of hat, rather than a close-fitted one like you described? Alternately, for a close-fitted hat, what about using a thicker lining like shearling ?

TECHknitter said...

Hi Ann on a Moose (love your username, BTW)..

With a slouchy hat, you have two choices.
1. You can make a tight-fitting inner lining, and let the hat slouch around the lining as it would otherwise have slouched around your head. This is the easiest option.
2. You can make the lining to fit inside the hat, by laying the hat down in stages on a piece of polar fleece, and using it as a pattern--sort of the same idea as using a mitten for a pattern (at the bottom of this comment, I have added the http addresses for two mitten posts showing the general idea...)

The important thing is to be sure the hat-band is reasonably tight, either way you choose--the slouch is to be in the hat ABOVE the hat band, or the hat will be unpopular and will slide over the wearer's eyes.

As to lining with shearling:
If you mean leather shearling, that is rather stiff, and the leather lining should probably be made first, then the knitting fitted over it, sort of like a helmet over the leather.
If you meant the fluffy fabric available at the fabric store which looks like shearling on one side, and like a shiny synthetic fabric on the other side, then the correct treatment depends how thick and how stiff it is. If fairly pliable, then proceed as for polar fleece, only just making the hat somewhat larger than for fleece, as the shearling fabric is usually thicker than polar fleece. If not-so-pliable, proceed as for leather.

BTW: I seem to recollect that yard-goods "shearling" is similar to polar fleece in that it is a knit fabric which does not unravel, but experiment with a scrap--you'll soon find out!

Thanks for writing, and here are the links:

(Cut and paste these into browser window.)

best regards, TK

Anna said...

This is precisely what I was looking for - thank you so much!

nutmeg9 said...

Thanks for the detailed info. What type/ weight of thread should I use for the fleece?

TECHknitter said...

Hi N9--ordinary polyester sewing thread works just fine. If pulled tight, that kind of thread has the capacity to cut woolen yarn, but in an overcast stitch application, this is not an issue.

idlehandsknits said...

I always line knit hats for warmth and comfort. My kids would never wear knit hats til the lining went in and took the itch out!
I have a video on youtube showing how I line them, the main difference is I buy pre-made liners and sew them in. They work well and I stock up on them when they go on sale! I am terrible at sewing and I made the videos to help my knitting students. Great blog - thank you for sharing!