Pussycat Hat Block and Tutorial

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I’ve been processing the events of the last week, heck, the last few months, and witnessing in absolute horror what is happening here. I’m having a hard time digesting all of it – so much is being thrown at us – and the country I live in changed overnight into something I don’t quite recognize.

We all know the PussyCat hats from the march on Washington last week and what it symbolizes. Many women around the world knit or made a hat to wear. I don’t do yarn, and I didn’t make a hat to wear, but I have been thinking about putting a hat into a quilt. For me, it’s starts with a block and a quick tutorial.

I did get a little overzealous putting this together so I might be missing a photo here and there, but I’ll give you enough to get you going, and you can always ping me for help.

Start by downloading the pattern. The layout is a pdf with the finished size of the block. The template diagram will show you where the paper pieces go, and template 1 and 2 have the paper piecing patterns. And yes, I’m sorry in advance for not linking the files together – I haven’t figured it out yet, and I’m too eager to get this up to deal today. Horrible, I know.

Layout cat-hat
template Diagramtemplate-diagram
Template 1 cat-hat-ppieces
Template 2 cat-ppieces-squares

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Once you’ve downloaded and printed the patterns, cut them out. Ideally, you will print the pieces on foundation paper. It’s easier to work with but you can use regular printer paper, too. You can buy 8 1/2″ x 11″ foundation paper at a variety of places online or at local craft supply stores.

Because not everyone has foundation paper floating around or the desire to go get it, I used regular printer paper. I have a few tricks to make it easier, and I’ve included that information here.

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If you are using printer paper, lightly score EACH SOLID LINE ON EACH TEMPLATE before sewing. I use a postcard so I can keep the straight line and a stiletto to score.

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I started with the ears. Cut a piece of fabric that will cover the pink ear. I recommend measuring the length and width of EACH section before you cut then add a generous 1/2″ to all sides so you cut the right size square for the pieces, so a 2″ square is plenty for your ear. If paper piecing makes you nervous, add an inch. You can test by covering each section with your fabric before sewing pieces together and coming up short. Been there. Done that. Not fun.

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Once you’ve determined that your fabric is large enough to cover the appropriate section of your template, take an acid free glue stick, and place a small amount of glue on the BACK of the pattern where your pink piece of fabric will go. You do not need a lot of glue, just enough to hold the fabric to the paper.

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Flip the template over and use a postcard, or other thin, stable board with a straight edge (cereal box parts work well) along the solid line between the pink and white side portion of the ear.

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Fold the paper over the cardboard to reveal the excess fabric underneath.

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Using an Add-A-Quarter tool, cut off your 1/4″ seam allowance.

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Place a piece of white fabric, right sides together, on the pink fabric, aligning edges. I didn’t do this, but you should use a straight pin to hold the pieces together. Silk pins without a head and flat head pins work well.

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Flip the piece over and sew your first seam. Be sure to sew INTO the seam allowance. I also like to sew 2 or 3 stitches beyond where the seam line should end to make sure that the pieces won’t come apart. If you are using printer paper, adjust your stitch length to 1.5-2. The smaller stitch length will help the paper tear more easily. If you are using foundation paper, I recommend a size 70 needle. I used a size 80 needle with the printer paper and 50wt. Aurifil thread.

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Press without steam. Steam will make your paper curl.

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Flip the template over, fold and trim along the remaining seam line.

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Sew a piece of white fabric to the top of the template.

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Press and trim.

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Repeat the process with remaining template pieces and sew together. When you sew the rows with the angled sides, please triple check that your fabric will cover the white sections before piecing. You might need to add extra fabric to cover the white sections on the edges.

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If you are using foundation paper, I recommend keeping the paper on the pieces until the block is finished. If you are using printer paper, it gets pretty stiff, so I recommend taking off at least the bottom parts.

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You will need to sew a strip of white to each side of the hat main and accent strip section. My block finishes at 8 1/2″ square but you can make your piece larger or smaller depending on how much open area you want behind your hat block. You will also need to sew a strip of white fabric to the bottom of your hat. Again, depending on how you plan to set it into a block is your decision.

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