Thread Cap Trick – Melly Sews

Thread Cap Trick – Melly Sews

Do you know this secret thread spool trick to keep your thread from unwinding?

A thread cap secret not everyone knows - the cap comes off on this type of spool

Hey y’all, today I’m sharing a simple sewing tip – a trick involving the thread cap of some spools of sewing thread. This quick sewing tip is specific to this type of spool. And if you have problems with your thread unwinding and getting tangled, this tip will help.

To see a super quick demonstration of this thread cap tip, watch the video below or on YouTube here.

So what is it? I learned when I wrote this post all about sewing thread that many people don’t know that the cap on this type of thread spool pulls off! This is useful both as a secret storage place for sewing needles and a way to control your thread.

Store needles with your thread using this tip

To keep your thread neat, push the top almost all the way in. Next, wrap the thread end around the core. Push the top into the spool to hold the thread securely.

Using a spool cap to keep your thread from unwinding

The type of spool shown below does not have a removable top. However, the top does pull up, and you can still use it to hold your thread and keep it from getting tangled. Pry the top up at the seam, then wrap thread around and pop the top back down into place.

Use this feature on your thread spool to hold the thread

For more sewing thread tips, tricks, and advice on choosing the right kind for your project, see this post.

Sewing Threads - Different types of machine sewing threads - learn about the kinds of thread to use for sewing

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Sew a Hat – How to Make a Custom Hat in 5 Easy Steps

Sew a Hat – How to Make a Custom Hat in 5 Easy Steps

Learn how to sew a hat with this DIY tutorial. Free sewing pattern template included to make a hat customized for you.

Make a hat for anyone in any size with this tutorial

Hey y’all – today I’m going to show you how to sew a hat. I’ll be sharing how to make a hat like this particular one, but also share a template that will help you draft any kind of hat you want and then sew a hat. Using the tools and information in this post, you can sew up any kind of non-stretchy hat you’d like, from a top hat to a bucket hat to a baseball cap. If you’d like a stretchy beanie hat, check out this post instead.

If you prefer a video tutorial, check out how to make a hat below or on YouTube here. Note that I make the black bucket hat in the video, and the gray sun hat in the photo tutorial in this post. There are slight differences between the construction of the two hats, so I’d suggest both watching and reading to get all the info about your options when drafting and sewing a hat pattern. For the written step-by-step tutorial and so much more useful information, see below the video.

Parts of a Hat

Let’s start by talking about the parts of a hat, as shown below. There are really only 3 main parts – the crown, the side band, and the brim.

Parts of a Hat -

The crown of the hat is the very top. Depending on the style of the hat, it can be the same size as the head circumference, smaller or larger.

The band is the side of the hat. It connects the brim and the crown together. It can be a rectangle if the crown is the same circumference as the head, or more of a trapezoid shape to connect a crown and opening of different sizes.

The brim is the part of the hat that sticks out and provides shade to the face and neck. A hat brim can be the same width all around, or can be wider in some parts than others. For example, the brim of a cowboy hat might be wider on the sides to allow the sides to be shaped upwards and give it that characteristic silhouette.

Brunette woman wearing a black twill bucket hat shew sewed

How to Use the Crown Template

One main measurement is needed to make a hat, and that is the head circumference. You measure around the head where the hat will sit – usually just above the ears. Keep the measuring tape level all the way around. Then you’ll use that measurement to determine both the head opening of the hat in the brim and the size of the crown, and from the brim and crown you’ll make the band.

So, here I have a crown template pattern. When you download the pdf and print it, it looks like this:

Hat crown template - how to sew a hat -

It has crown sizes 24 1/2″ all the way down to 19 1/2″. Which means that you could use it for babies up to grown men. But first let’s talk about how to use it.

Depending on the hat style, you may want the crown about the same size as the head circumference (like the flat brim hat shown in this post), slightly smaller (like this rain bucket hat was) or larger (like how you gather in the crown of a chef’s hat).

In general, you’ll want to measure the person’s head and add 1/2″ (this is for the thickness the brim seams will add), then choose the size of the crown based on that. For example, my husband’s head measured 22 1/4″, so adding 1/2″ that gave me 22 3/4″, so I went with the 23″ template to start.

How to Draft Your Hat Sewing Pattern

Once you know what size head circumference you’re drafting for, you can make your pattern. Start by deciding if you want the crown to be the same size as the head circumference or smaller or bigger.

I decided that I wanted the crown on the hat in this post slightly smaller than the head opening. So I used the 23″ template and measured in 1/2″ (the seam allowance I used).  You can see this in the image below. You need to know the length of that dashed line in order to draft the top of your band.

Hat crown - How to sew a hat -

But here’s a trick you can use on the template for some sizes: measure in 1/2″ (or whatever seam allowance you’re using) on the template and then look at which circumference that is. In this case, measuring in got me to the 21″ circumference. So I didn’t have to measure my dashed line, because the template tells me it’s 21″ around. Obviously this doesn’t work with smaller hat sizes. So for those you’d need to draw the seam allowance line and measure it.

Use a hat template - How to sew a hat -

Once you have your crown determined, you can easily draft the rest of the hat. Let’s start with the side band. First, determine the side band height you want. In this case I used a height of 4 inches – which would put the hat above my husband’s ears with the crow resting on top of his head. If I wanted to make a top hat, I’d make a taller band, maybe 6-8 inches tall.

Draw a rectangle that is the height you want by the head circumference plus 1/2″ measurement. Use scissors to cut this rectangle into 8 pieces, starting from the top of the band and cutting to but not through the bottom edge. Then overlap the top edges enough to equal the seam measurement from the crown of the hat. This will create a curved piece.

For example, I started with a 4″ x 23″ rectangle. Do a bit of math: 23 (crown) – 21 (head circumference) = 2, 2 divided by 8 (number of cuts in band) = 0.25 or 1/4. I overlapped each piece 1/4″ so that the top of my side band was 21″ and the bottom was still 23″. Add seam allowances all around the side band, and you’ve got your side band piece.

Draft the side band - How to sew a hat -

To draft the brim, first you need to decide if you want a flat brim or a shaped brim. In this case I went with flat, and drafting that is as easy as determining the brim width (in this case I started with 5 1/2″ because the hubs said he wanted a really wide brim, but after showing it to him, ended up doing 4 inches as the brim, including the seam allowances. Don’t forget to add a seam allowance to the inside of the brim when you cut that circle out.

Draft the brim - How to sew a hat -

If you wanted a shaped brim, you would take a pie shaped wedge out of the brim and then close the gap – this would create a brim that would either flip up or flip down, depending on how you sew it in. The bigger the pie slice, the more the brim would angle. The idea is illustrated below, but note that you may wish to take your pie slice out of a different piece or you might want

Drafting a hat brim - how to sew a hat -

For hats like baseball caps, you combine the crown and the band, then sew up darts and add a brim only to the front edge of the pattern. The images below show how you’d do that. For reference 5 1/2 inches is a good starting number for the diameter of your crown piece for an adult baseball cap, and 3 3/4 inches is a good starting height. Here is an example of how you’d draft the pattern for a baseball cap or trucker hat; the trucker hat would have the sides squared up higher than I show for the baseball cap for a slightly wider in diameter crown.

How to make a pattern for a baseball cap or trucker hat

Before you cut your fabric, it’s a great idea to test your pattern with paper. Cut your pattern pieces out of a sheet of printer paper or use construction paper. Cut off the seam allowances or fold them down. Then you can tape or glue the pieces together to get a good idea of shape and fit before cutting your fabric. When I used to teach theatre, we often did this to make temporary costumes while we worked on the final hat.

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Materials to Sew a Hat

For this hat I used cotton twill, quilting cotton for lining, and heavy weight sew in interfacing. For the bucket hat in the video I used fusible interfacing (affiliate link) Other materials you might use for hatmaking are wool felt, particularly if you’re trying to shape a brim, and buckram (affiliate link) for stiffening the brim. You’ll also need your sewing machine, needle, thread, etc.

Once your pattern is drafted, here’s your cut list:

  • Two brims of main fabric and at least 2 of interfacing or 1 of buckram
  • 1 side band of each fabric – main, lining and interfacing
  • 1 crown of each fabric – main, lining and interfacing
  • Grosgrain ribbon to finish the lining

Heavy duty sew in interfacing can give hats body and I find it easier to work with than buckram because it’s not as stiff. For this brim I used 4 pieces, sandwiched on top and bottom of the two brim pieces. Sew around the outside edge.

Sew the brim - How to sew a hat -

Trim the seam down to 1/4″ or less, then turn the brim right side out.

Trim seams - How to sew a hat -

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Press the brim. A point turner (affiliate link) is helpful for this.

Press brim - How to sew a hat -

To reinforce the brim even more, I sewed a bunch of lines about 1/2″ apart (except for the two closest to the outside edge  those are 1/4″ apart)

Topstitching on brim - How to sew a hat -

Next, sew the side band together at the side seam. I sew the interfacing with the main fabric, and the lining separately.

Sew side band - How to sew a hat -

Pin the side band to the crown. As you can see, the crown is flat at the seam line, but not at the edges. This is OK as long as your seamlines match. Stitch. Repeat with main fabric crown/side band. Trim down seam allowances after stitching.

Attach crown to side band - How to sew a hat -

Notch the brim in the seam allowance all around the inside edge.

Clip curves on brim - How to sew a hat -

Pin the brim to the crown/side band assembly. Stitch.

Attach crown & side band to brim - How to sew a hat -

Add the lining into the hat, wrong sides together.

Insert lining - How to sew a hat -

To finish the inside, add ribbon. 1 1/2″ or wider grosgrain or satin ribbon cut to the head circumference plus 1/2″ and seam allowance works best. Sew the ribbon into a loop. Then, pin it over the raw edge of the hat and lining, so that the ribbon is against the brim. Stitch, then flip the ribbon to the inside of the hat.

Finish fat with ribbon - How to sew a hat -

Topstitch around the bottom edge of the side band to hold the ribbon in place and you’re done.

Topstitch - How to sew a hat -

And there we have it – a new hat perfect for mowing the lawn and other outdoor work. I hope this tutorial is helpful for you to create the custom hat of your imagination.

Men's hat - How to sew a hat -

And since I think the hat makes the Halloween costume, check out some other hats I’ve made for my kids in this post.

Halloween Hats are the easiest way to make or break a costume. Find 10 great tutorials here - Melly Sews
How to sew a hat - detailed tutorial and free template for all head sizes - shows you how to draft/sew any kind of hat.

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How to Make Clothing Tags – 4 Options

How to Make Clothing Tags – 4 Options

Learn to make DIY clothing labels for your handmade clothes

How to make DIY custom clothing labels - 4 ways to create clothes tags

Today I’m sharing some ideas for how to make clothing tags with you. What better way for you to use your logo and/or make sure someone knows how much love and time was put into a handmade garment. While you can certainly check out Etsy shops and sellers for labels, it’s more fun to make your own design.

Not only will your DIY clothing labels help identify your gifts as handmade, if you’re sewing for kids (or heck, sometimes adults!) they can help kids identify the back of their clothes to avoid putting them on backwards. So today I’m going to show you how to make tags for clothes in four ways.

Two of the methods I use for DIY clothing tags rely on twill tape. I like to use it because it’s inexpensive and soft, but you can also use ribbon. While you can get small packs in the store, if you want to stock up cheaply, I got my rolls from Twill Tape.

Different ways to make clothing tags - with stamps, with custom fabric and with heat transfer vinyl

I made a video that you can watch below or on YouTube here showing 4 ways I have made clothing labels for that perfect finishing touch. That means there’s a bonus label idea that I didn’t share when I first wrote this post.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. All affiliate links are identified with (affiliate link) after the link or a commissions earned statement above the link(s).

1. Stamp Your Own

Word stamped on twill tape to make a clothing label

Using stamps and permanent ink is probably the easiest way to make labels for clothes. It can also be a fun way to let kids personalize their own tags. Use a permanent ink, not a water based ink. I bought the pad above in a big box store a few years ago, but as you can see the ink is fading. I need to grab some (affiliate link) VersaCraft pads because they are more readily available and are also well rated for fabric; just make sure to set the ink with an iron before washing. If you can’t find any good options, I’ve also had luck buying fabric markers then using those to color on the stamps instead of using an ink pad.

I grabbed the little box of alphabet stamps in the dollar section one day on a whim. They’re fun to use for this but not the most sophisticated font. This set (affiliate link) looks very similar to the one I got.

2. Sew Your Own

Word embroidered on twill tape to make a tag

If your sewing machine will do any fonts (many new machines do) you can sew your own clothes tags. I recently made this one for myself, and instead of doing my blog name or handmade with love or any of those typical labels since I know I made my clothes, I decided to write “Thankful”. I like the idea of adding inspirational labels to my clothes; a secret message to myself. But of course if you have a letter stitch on your machine, you can write whatever you want. I typically don’t cut my twill tape off the roll until after I’ve stitched out the word when I do these kind of labels.

3. Custom Print Fabric Labels

Custom printed fabric used to make sewing labels

This is how I make the labels I use most often – I make a graphic and then use it to have fabric printed. This is quilting cotton ordered from My Fabric Designs, which is a custom fabric printing service. I made my label 2 1/2 inches wide by 5/8 inches tall, then I add 3/8 inch of spacing all around each box, then turn that into a repeat. I use Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop to do mine, but you definitely don’t need to have those programs. You could just as easily draw something and take a photograph of it, or you could use a free program like Canva.

Screenshot of using My Fabric Designs to make custom fabric

With the dimensions I used, when I uploaded my design, I got 450 labels on 1 yard of fabric. That was probably overkill; I’d suggest starting with a fat quarter. It occurred to me later that I could have combined multiple designs into one photo to upload and printed a few designs, but oh well. One thing to watch: when you upload you’ll see a screen something like the one above. You need to double/triple check the on-screen ruler against your design to make sure that the labels are the size you want and not giant.

Once the printed fabric is shipped to me, I cut it into strips using a rotary cutter and ruler. Then I store most of the fabric in strips in a drawer.

Rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat to cut apart sew on clothing tags

I take a few strips at a time and cut them into the individual labels. I store the labels like this in a tin in my sewing room; you can see I mod podged one of my old labels (that I’ve run out of) onto the cover.

A tin of fabric clothing tags ready to sew on
Fabric clothing labels with custom designs

When I need a tag for a new project, I grab one of these. Then I fold the edges to the wrong side about 1/8″ and press. Next, sew them in. If you don’t mind fraying, you can skip the edge pressing. Just sew the clothing tags in and let the raw edges fray to the stitching line. I’ve found these labels hold up very well since I print them on quilting cotton. They don’t fade unless I use a lot of bleach, and they’re softer than many woven labels and get softer the more they’re washed.

A stack of kids pajama pants with custom clothing labels

4. Custom Iron On Labels

The last method I used to make clothing labels was to cut out heat transfer vinyl on my Cricut Maker (affiliate link) and iron it on to my t-shirt. I don’t want to go into a whole heat transfer vinyl tutorial. I’ll just say to remember to mirror your words to cut out and iron on, and follow the instructions for your particular machine.

Heat transfer Vinyl used to make an iron on clothing label

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