Santa Rathats

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Flox
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Santa Rathats

Post by Flox » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:52 am

Cross-posted from Instructables, where I secretly put this until Christmas gifts were given :)

This recipe makes three seasonal rat hat nests/sleeping pouches, which you can leave freestanding (possibly attached to the cage bars for security) for or hang from the roof of your cage. You don't need to make three, but to make one you need about a third of a large circle of fabric, so you may as well use the other two thirds. That's all good though, because these make excellent Christmas presents - or you can just totally over-hat your own cage.

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Ingredients

Essential


Outer fabric (red fleece)
Trim (white fake wool)
Inner fabric (black fleece)
Pins & needles
Wool
Gin
Vacuum cleaner

Optional

Padding for the base
Bendy needle
Eyelet punch and/or hanging tabs (made from fleece, webbing, whatever)

Regrettable

A blanket with a pattern designed specifically to make it absolutely impossible to find anything of any colour you happen to place on it after you've looked away for a second (unpicker, thread, scissors, friends)

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Measuring (copying my measurements)
You could figure out what size to make all the parts to fit a pattern that's specific to you (see the next step) - or you can just use the same measurements as me:

I want the base of my hats to be 20cm in diameter
I want the cone to be 35cm tall

This means the circle from which the cones will be cut needs to be 36cm in radius (centre point to edge).

Pieces required

Point outer (red) - 36cm radius circle (makes 3)
Point inner (black) - 36cm radius circle (makes 3)
Trim (white) - 36cm radius circle (makes 3)
Base outer (white) - 20cm diameter circle
Base inner (black) - 20cm diameter circle
Padding (foam) - 20cm diameter (ish) circle

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Measuring (doing it yourself)

This is a bit boring so I'll just give you a link instead :)

Marking and Cutting

Cone

First, for the point of my hats you need a circle that's 36cm in radius, divided into three (I'm assuming you're using my measurements here - substitute your own if not).

Tie a pen to a piece of string and then measure 36cm of string from the pen. Holding the end of the string in the middle of the fabric, sketch out a circle with the pen.

Using a protractor and ruler, divide the circle into three sections of 120 degrees.

This is not an exact science - unless you're a hemming pro they're likely to change in shape slightly as you sew anyway.

Trim

Your trim is cut from a segment the same as the inner and outer cone parts, but will only come part way up the final cone, so you'll need to make it shorter. Decide how high you want it (don't make it too short - the door needs to fit and you'll lose some height when you sew it all together) and using the pen and string again (or some slightly more sophisticated method if you have one) mark an inner ring and cut it away.

Door

My first experiments showed that you probably don't need your door as big as you think you do. It will stretch, and if it's too big it will look daft.

An archway is the easiest shape to do. If you're some kind of genius and can work out how to hem circles, by all means... but the arch also offers a lot more space for fat rat *please do not swear* to get in and out. Make sure you mark and cut the door in the same place on each of the three pieces of your cone. Fold the fabric in half to find the middle, and use a template AND pieces you've already put a door in to make sure it all matches up. You can see the sort of size I used in the photos.

Line up your inner, outer and trim to make sure you cut the same size door in the same place on each. Having everything line up nicely now will save you a lot of pain and trouble later on.

Base

Dead easy, this. Using the pen and string just draw your circles and cut 'em out. If you're using something like foam as a padding, cut this just a little smaller than the other pieces.

Finished?

Well done! Cutting all the pieces out is slow and boring. Have some gin.

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Pinning

Pin your fabric together. For the base, this is pretty simple. Pin with the fluffy side and the nice side of the fleece facing inwards.

If you want to loosely stitch/tack the pieces to hold them together then go for it. I don't have the patience and luckily wasn't punished for it.

For the cone, take your time and be careful to align the edges as well as you can. It will make it a lot easier to sew if you know you're hitting all three layers. Lay them out in this order:

1) Inner (black) - nice side up
2) Trim (white) - nice (furry) side down
3) Outer (red) - nice side down

If you get this wrong, you'll end up with the AntiHat.

If you're not sure, try making little demos for yourself. My brain gets a little upset when it's asked to understand how things work when they're turned inside out TWICE, which is why I've explained the order to save you the same pain. If you're a lot cleverer than that and don't have a problem visualising it, you go ahead and enjoy that smugness but keep it to yourself.

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Sewing

You may want to hem the top (longer) line of your trim. I didn't do this with my first hat, and it looked a little naff, so I did it with the other two (and fixed the first by hand). It's just a bit neater.

My terminology is probably a bit off, so by 'hem' I mean 'turn the top edge over and sew it down so it looks like you cut it better than you did'.

Sewing the base is dead simple. Just go round the edges. Leave yourself a gap of about 4cm so you can turn it right way out.

When you sew the cone, start at one side of the door arch and continue round to the other side. Again, leave a gap at the top of the arch to turn it right way out.

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Tidying

Turn your base and cone the right way out through the gaps you left.

If you get confused half-way though turning the cone out, you've probably not had enough gin.

If you're padding the base, stuff your padding thought the hole.

Seal up the gaps you left using invisible ladder stitch. A bendy needle is really very useful for this - specially if you're making three at once and still want to be able to use your hands afterwards.

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LOOKING GOOD!

It's looking hattish! Toast your awesome crafting skills with some more gin.

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Construction

You want to sew the cone onto the base. We're still working inside-out here, so get your inner cone (black) and the inside (white) of your base facing outwards.

Start at the back seam - not the door. If you start at the door you may get the angle wrong and end up with a really wide door and overlapping ends - or the opposite, a narrow door and ends that don't meet.

You do, however, want to sew the white inner base to the white outer trim - this will ensure the black lining doesn't show on the outside. Sounds (and looks) a bit odd, but I did it about three ways before I figured the right one out, and there it is to save you some time.

Use your invisible ladder stitch again and it'll look lovely and neat on the outside.

For the back seam, I left an emergency exit (to discourage ratties making their own). The perfect spot for this would be right where the trim is - for a start, you have three layers of fabric there so sewing it together is going to be a *please do not swear*. It's at the bottom, which is where you'd want a door, and the fluff of the trim will make it more subtle.

So, start stitching just above the trim. Hold the two edges together, and using ladder stitch, stitch together the red (outside) edge - you don't want the black inner poking through your seams.

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TA DAA

Turn your creation right-way out through the door or the emergency exit. OMG LOOK WHAT YOU MADE!

IT'S A HAT!

It really is! Well, aside from the hole fer your head bit, which is fairly critical for hats but we'll ignore that. Still, it's pretty recognisable. Congratulations! You deserve some gin.

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Pompoms

Do you remember how to make 'em? If not, shame on you! It's a skill no adult should be without. You never know when something might need an emergency pompoming.

If you remember, then good on you. If not, here's a quick reminder.

Cut yourself some circles of card, two for each pom pom. Make them roughly as big as the final pom pom wants to be. Cut a circle out of the middle to make a doughnut.

Cut lengths of wool. For three pom poms I used around twice the amount you can see in this picture.

Place two card doughnuts together face to face and wrap the wool around the outer edge.

Keep going until it starts to pad out.

When it's looking chunky enough, stick your scissors into the edge and cut down until you find the card.

With the scissors between the two card pieces, continue cutting around until the wool is free on both sides.

Take a length of wool and tie it around the pom pom, between the two pieces of card. Leave the ends long - you'll use these to attach it to the hat. Slide (or cut) the card off - fluff up your pom pom, pull out any loose bits and give it a trim so it's nice and neat.

Using a wool needle, thread the two 'legs' of each pom pom through the seam at the top of the hat. Poke the tip of the hat back inside out so you can see the ends of the wool. Tie them together and then trim them.

Poke the tip of your hat back out, obviously.

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Finally

You have a couple of options here. You can either glory in your mad crafting skills and raise a glass of gin in recognition of your winningness, or you can use your eyelet punch to make hanging thingies at the top of your hats. I did both.

Since these photos were taken I replaced the chenille pompoms with some normal wool ones that more closely match the colour of the trim. Perhaps a little fussy for something that's gonna be chewed to shreds in short order, but where's the fun in doing half a job?

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PS: I have no idea how to wash these. Mine's been soaked in pee since Christmas because I know it'll just turn pink if I wash it. Suggestions more than welcome!

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