In Sewing Tutorial, Thrifting

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve been knitting up a storm for the Pussycat Project! The Pussycat Project is a way you can show solidarity with the people attending the Women’s March on Washington (and sister cities) on January 21st.  I’ve already knit a dozen hats to be handed out to attendees using my knitting machine! (Read more about the project and it’s mission at the official Pussyhat Project website.)

Pussyhat Project Betz White

I’ve gotten a lot of comments from sewists that don’t knit but would like to participate and contribute hats to the march. I decided to make this quick tutorial for a pussyhat you can make out of a recycled sweater!

Pussyhat Project Betz White

I had this pink cashmere sweater in my stash. Perfect! It’s been washed and has shrunk a little but still has a bit of stretch. If you’re using a 100% wool sweater it may be less stretchy, but that’s ok!


Pussyhat Project Betz White

Use the ribbed edge if the sweater as the bottom edge of your hat. Wrap the edge of the sweater around your head as snug as you’d like your hat to be, then measure that width. (Remember you want the direction of the stretch to go around your head.) Take that number then divide by 2. Cut 2 rectangles to that width plus 9″ in height if you plan to cuff that hat (about 8″ high if you don’t plan to cuff it).


Pussyhat Project Betz White

Place the rectangles right sides together, and sew the sides and top with a 1/4″ seam allowance, being careful not to stretch the fabric, starting ABOVE the ribbed cuff. To sew the cuff seams, place the edges  wrong side together. This will hide the seam allowances when the cuff is turned up. Trim the seam allowances at the top corners at an angle.


Pussyhat Project Betz White

Here you can see the seam allowances for the cuffed version. If you opt not to do a cuff, just sew the whole hat right sides together.


Pussyhat Project Betz White

Turn the hat right side out, pushing out the corners. Tack the cuff up if desired. And you’re done! That didn’t take long at all!


Pussyhat Project Betz White

I love how the square hat makes “ears” when you put it on your round head!

Couple of notes…I chose to make one seam on each side because it makes the “ears” more uniform vs. only having one seam. You should be able to get at least 2 hats out of a pullover sweater, depending on the size. Maybe even get a baby hat out of the sleeves! If you can’t find a sweater to chop up, you can use fleece and hem it.

Get involved and show your craftivism! Visit the Pussycat Project site for other patterns! There’s tutorials/patterns for knitting, crocheting and sewing. Act now if you’re interested! The turn in date is fast approaching!

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Showing 18 comments
  • Deb

    Love that you are doing this! Thanks for a non-knitter tute.

  • Kelli

    Saw this on Facebook and just finished my pussyhat. Thanks!

  • LynnAgain

    Thanks for the tip about using 2 seams instead of one to make the ears look even! Mine will be made of polar fleece.

  • bev l

    What a great idea to use a sweater! Love it!

  • Angela

    Thanks for this! I haven’t sewed in 25 years, but tonight, I made three recycled sweater pussy hats! Woo hoo!

    • Betz White

      That’s so awesome!

  • Diana Rambles

    I’m a visual person, so I am unsure about the double side seam. Is it just another stitch line in close parallel to the side seams? Since the hat is sewn by turning the corner at the top, did you go through that seam with the second line?

    • Betz White

      You might be overthinking it! I simply meant there are 2 side seams, one on each side of the hat. (If you were to cut a wide rectangle and seam it only once into a tube then seam the top, the ears wouldn’t match. One would be held up by the side seam and the other side would droop)

      • Diana Rambles

        Gotcha!! Definitely overthinking it. It’s so simple that I am going to reach out to all my friends attending marches and see if they want me to make one.

  • BevL.

    I love the hat and the idea of using a sweater – just got one from thrift store today.
    I don’t understand the 2 side seams you’re talking about – please explain.
    Thanks -Bev

    • Betz White

      I edited the copy for clarity. I simply meant there are 2 side seams, one on each side of the hat.

  • Nadine

    Super idée! Génial et déclinable! Merci pour l’idée

  • Sandra

    Many thanks for your support of the Women’s March. You are always an inspiration!

  • Ara

    Thank you this is so awesome for those of us who can’t knit!
    Question: can I leave one of the side seams to the sweater in tact, so I only have to sew 2 sides (one side and the top)? Would that work? Or do you need to cut the 2 rectangles?
    Thanks, can’t wait for tomorrow !

    • Betz White

      Sure, you can use the original sweater side seam.

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