Thursday, February 21, 2013

Adult Chemo Cap For Lady At Church Pattern/Tutorial

I have just joined a small ladies class that meets on Wednesday nights at my church. I haven't gone to my husband's church for very long. However, I've quickly come to the conclusion that the regular adult class my husband goes to is taught by a dead guy who is resurrected just on Wednesday nights. :( Yes, it's that lame and boring! I am NOT a Texan hillbilly but i don't understand his auctioneer pace of speaking either. In order to "survive" Wednesday nights, I boycotted his class and went to the ladies only one.

"My" class is invigorating and involved. The teacher reminds me a lot of my little sister who is also a church teacher. They have the same style of lessons.Apparently one of the members has advanced cancer and is on chemo; obviously laid up in a hospital somewhere. I don't know her but I deduced she is a very beloved lady as there wasn't a dry eye in the class as they prayed for her the other night.

They are having a small, private "hat drive" for her. Cancer is a disease that has personally and intimately affected me throughout my life. Not only have I cared for many cancer patients throughout my 17 years of medical professional experience, but I have had MANY family members with cancer.It seems my family does three things very, very well....get cancer, get pregnant, and collect ex-husbands. :D (I am right on track with two of the three!). It wasn't all too long ago we were having funerals back to back, one after another after another. I was extremely close to all my recent lost loved ones.

I can't afford to buy this stranger a hat, but I have a bedroom full of fabric! (much to my husbands chagrin) As soon as I heard of the hat drive, my face lit up and hat patterns immediately began to dance wildly in my head like tap dancers on crack. Oh the embellishments! The colors! The fabric!

Just one thing as reality hit me (after I blurted out I would be making her a hat)..... I don't have a sewing machine anymore.

Worse, i have NEVER hand-sewn before. I would probably jack the outfit/hat up so badly that it looked like a kangaroo had sewn it! :(

I immediately went home after church and began going through all of my filing cabinets and large plastic totes (I call them coffins because of their color and size) of fabric. I grabbed several hat patterns....but given I didn't have time to alter them up to an adult size ( I have primarily sewn for children), I threw out the patterns. A brilliant idea popped up in my head....that nice hat my ex-husband got me one year (I also got an  unplanned baby that year....but I digress). It took me "forevah" to find the dumb thing that I rarely wear (mostly because it reminds me of him). I decided to use it as a pattern template.

Here is what I came up with....

However, I decided not to use fleece at the last minute because the fleece I had on hand was a bit juvenile (again, because I usually make clothes for children). Given I don't know this lady,have never met her, and don't know her ethnicity or age (makes a HUGE difference when choosing fabric colors and hat styles), I went with fabrics that were as conservative (and the least juvenile!) as's my "collection" along with the aforementioned hat I used as a template.

I don't know why my pictures were so blurry today!

The only difference with the rogue drawing I made (above) was that I decided to use a circle piece for the top so it would look more like a bucket hat than a beanie. (why does chemo have to be unfashionable??!) See? My hat has a circle top too....

Too bad I don't have this lamb's skin fabric and suede for her hat!

Here's me trying on the lining (white, boring flannel that will feel good against delicate, bruised skin) of the hat before I sew it together.... I wanted to make sure it would actually fit an adult head. :(

And now the outside piece of the hat.......

Aren't I so gorgeous at 8 in the morning?! Grab your trash can in the event you feel nauseous! (My husband thought I looked like a sexy college girl but I think he's just saying that so I will wash his jeans....) I realized at this point that I am aging faster than my fact, I now look older than her! UGH. No more pictures of me from now on!

Then I put the lining inside the outside layer. I did a gathering stitch around the circle part so it will have a pretty ruffled look at the top (way more feminine than a harsh straight edge). No seams will come in contact with her fragile skin this way.....

Pretty embellishments cover up the hideous hand sewing that I obviously can't do well......

You think she would like metallic confetti on her hat???? :D kidding!

I'll stick with the white jersey knit I gathered into a ruffle and attached to the middle of the hat all the way's soft and pretty....the goal of this project.

Maybe I'll get this done sometime today.....(bring on the Spongebob Squarepants for my 4 year old!)....

(he seriously was having way too much fun entertaining himself on this day. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him playing with the empty laundry baskets and making pirate faces at me. I grabbed the camera. I'm convinced he will be a wealthy actor someday!

Maybe I will even make it to my lunch date with my friend today......

Maybe not....(spoiler alert: I didn't. It took me two days to make a silly hat by hand!)

Oh well, lets cram more embellishments onto this hideous thing..... (at least it's not a turban! How hideous are they??! No offense it you actually like beloved great aunt was buried with one....she looked like a Middle Eastern genie.... :/ )

I mean, the only thing worse than having cancer is wearing a hat like this.....

....or I right?!

I have this super yummy, luxurious black lace that's very soft, silky, and stretchy. At 4 inches wide, it comes at $8 a yard. :O So, it comes as no surprise that I only get it on the rare chance it is in the remnant section of the store. I had a little bit of it left and sacrificed it to put on her pretty hat. It made the most sexiest bow! I know her hubby will adore it on her!

yes, that's a head between my legs :P

.....and there you go! So easy (?) even a kangaroo can make it!

UPDATE: I learned after making the hat that the lady is my age with two young girls. I muttered and complained throughout the project just how unfair it was that I didn't have a sewing machine to make this thing in just 1 hour. (and imagine how much better it would have looked!) So, imagine how bad and guilty I felt when i learned from my friend (whom I had had lunch with) that the lady got bad news about her liver cancer test results. She was immediately flight lifted to a big city cancer hospital a few hours from here. It doesn't look good for her. :( I immediately dropped my funky hat and cried and prayed and thanked God I still have my hair, my health, my life, dead squirrels in the walls (another blog in of itself!), and the best husband/kids ever.

I told my friend that giving the lady this hat made me feel like i was showing up to a starving tribe in Ethiopia riddled with AIDS with a teaspoon of salt. My friend assured me that the hat was awesome. She had made a prayer shawl for a lady not long ago. My friend saw all of the mistakes and faults of her "ugly, too small, crooked shawl". However, as she related, that lady was not the type to compliment anyone....and yet she cried with happiness to have the shawl. Honestly, as long as the lady with cancer doesn't throw my hat in the trash, I will be thrilled. I also hope God knows how thankful I am for what He has blessed me with.

Happy creating!


  1. We are blessed, aren't we Ivy? ....squirrels and all. The hat is pretty.

  2. Thank you mom. I cant have aunt shirley, uncle Bill and Doyle, and daddy back. But when I do nice things for other people, it's like they are sitting right beside me....i can almost hear thheir voices!
    and then I feel giddy and happpy someone will feel nice. I love that feeling!
    suddenly the sewing machine just doesnt seem so important anymore. My aging face, smelly squirrel decomp, screaming 4 yr olds....none of it seems to matter.

  3. I love the hat - very sheek and perfect for a young Mom - I hope she is giving a little joy as she wears it! :)

  4. Thank you Ana! My mannequin head is smaller than an adult the size of a 10 yr old...again because i normally sew for kids. It will fit her better. I've been told she is quite petite. She will have enough brim to keep down to sheild her from the sun and to fold up if she desires.

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