Men really get the short end of the stick when it comes to handmade items, am I right?
It’s not that we’re unwilling to make them anything, but the options seem rather slim.
There’s only a few good choices, and with Father’s Day around the corner, I’ve been trying to come up with something I haven’t made before to create for the men in my life. This DIY Personalized Baseball Cap was a fairly simple and (bonus!) inexpensive project that fit the bill. It can be customized to suit the tastes or interests of the person for whom it’s being created.
I went ahead and gave my hubby his hat this week, and he liked it even better than I had hoped he would. His reactions are usually positive, but mild, so I wasn’t expecting a standing ovation or anything like that, but he declared this to be a nice, comfy, simple-looking (a good thing, in his opinion), hat that he plans to wear frequently. I made a second hat for my dad which I’ll save for Father’s Day, so I’m hoping it will be a hit with him as well. No worries that he’ll read this post and find out, he’d have to figure out how to download himself onto the internet, and somehow I don’t see that happening, so we’re good.
Let’s get to the How-To….
First, I went to Michael’s and purchased two baseball caps. They were in the t-shirt section and there were a few colors, but these were the two I thought my husband and dad would prefer. They are a “one-size fits most” and using a 40% off coupon, I was able to get them for about $1.80 each. Not bad!
I printed off the letters/words I knew I wanted to use to embellish the hats. Since I just used one letter for my husband’s hat, I made it fairly large. For my dad, aka “Papa” to my girls, I made the word a little smaller, so it would fit across the front of the hat more easily. I selected fonts that were very basic, since that makes it easier to stitch around the fabric letters later on in the process.
After I had my letters printed at the size I thought would work best, I flipped my paper over and traced the letter with a sharpie, so that I had an image of the letters in reverse. I know there’s a way to just print the letters in reverse straight from your computer, but I was in a hurry and with my awesome (so kidding) tech skills, I figured it was probably easier to go with my tracing method.
If my husband reads this, he will cringe. “Why didn’t you just ask me?” I get impatient and like to plunge ahead.
Once you have a reverse image of your letters traced, grab yourself some Heat-n-Bond and place it over the letters, with the paper side of the Heat-n-Bond facing up.
Trace your letters onto the paper-side of the Heat-n-Bond.
The other side of Heat-n-Bond is embossed with the “glue” in either some sort of grid or polka-dot pattern, depending on the brand you use. You can buy it by the yard with the interfacing at your fabric store.
Now, get the fabric you will be using for your letters, iron it smooth, and place it wrong-side up on your ironing board. Lay your piece of Heat-n-Bond with the reverse-traced letters down on top of it. Follow the instructions for ironing your Heat-n-Bond to the fabric. Mine said to iron on medium heat for ten seconds. Ironing it for too long, or at too high a temperature may overheat the “glue” substance and cause the Heat-n-Bond to not adhere to your fabric securely. I’ve made that mistake plenty of times, so definitely read your instructions.
Once your materials have cooled down from the iron, you can cut out your letters on the lines you previously traced, and peel the paper backing off your fabric.
You will now have a kind of fabric sticker! The back of your fabric should have a shiny texture from the Heat-n-Bond.
Place your fabric letters on a piece of white fabric. Arrange them how you want them to look on the finished product, and again, follow your Heat-n-Bond instructions to iron your fabric letters to the white fabric. If you’re using multiple letters, like I did with the “Papa” hat, I recommend laying all the letters out first and them ironing them all at the same time. If you do iron one letter at a time, it’s easy to keep “re-ironing” the same letters and then you might run into the problem of ironing too long and compromising the adhesion of the Heat-n-Bond. So, just an FYI to be careful of this if you decide to iron on each letter individually.
After your letters are adhered to the white fabric, you can use your sewing machine to sew around the edges of the letters. This adds a nice finished look, as well as making sure the letter is permanently secured. Heat-n-Bond is awesome stuff, but only sewing the fabric securely in place will guarantee it stays put.
Next, you want to cut a piece of Heat-n-Bond about the same size as your white fabric, and iron it to the back of your white fabric.
Sidenote: Now, the reason I used the Heat-n-Bond in this step was for two reasons, but you may not feel the need to do it exactly the way I did. First, I wanted something to stabilize my white fabric a little bit, which the Heat-n-Bond accomplished. Second, I was hoping the Heat-n-Bond would also adhere to the hat itself, making it easier for me to hold my finished letters in place while I stitched them to the hat. This is the part that didn’t really work out as well as I had hoped. It was extremely difficult to iron the letter onto the rounded cap of the hat. The Heat-n-Bond ended up only adhering a little bit on the “R” and did a little better on the “Papa” piece, I think because it was larger. If you decide not to use Heat-n-Bond for this step, I would still recommend using an iron-on interfacing on the back of the white fabric, to make it a little more stiff for when you stitch it to the hat, and to help prevent threads from fraying.
When your fabric has cooled, trim the white fabric around the fabric letters. For the “R” I chose to trim it pretty close to the letter. For the “Papa” I cut the white fabric a little further out from my letters, and didn’t cut out every small space, making it a larger, but simpler piece. This helped when stitching it to the hat, and made that step a little easier on me.
Peel the paper backing off the Heat-n-Bond and pin or iron the letter to the hat (I did both).
Next, you want to take some white thread and set yourself up with a hand sewing needle. I grabbed a needle I already had from my pincushion, but if you’re buying one, I would get a needle that is neither large nor small, and appears fairly sharp (no embroidery needles). You’re going to be sewing through several layers of fabric, so you want a needle that will hold up to the job.
I hand-sewed my letter to the hat by coming from the underside of the hat, up through the white fabric area closest to the letter, and them down through the hat, just outside the edge of the white fabric.
My mom always called this a “whipstitch” but I’m not sure if that’s the correct term. She tends to make up words… I do think you could finish it off with a blanket stitch, but that sounded like it would take longer, so I went with this method instead. Interestingly, there are people who live here, who prefer eating dinner to watching mommy play with fabric. What is with that?? Every minute of craft time counts.
Your stitches don’t need to be perfect. If you’re using white thread and only sewing over the white fabric, they should be mostly unnoticeable. My hand sewing leaves much to be desired, but I think the finished products turned out pretty great.
There’s no reason this hat needs to be a project you only make for dad. My oldest has already requested a hat like Daddy’s, and with plenty of graduation parties happening this time, of year, a personalized hat would be a fun little gift for various occasions. What would you put on your hat?
For even more DIY ideas for Father’s Day, check out my post from last year.
Linking up to:
Elizabeth & Co
The Shabby Nest
Living Well Spending Less
Home Stories A to Z
I Heart Naptime