Sunday, March 24, 2013

Harley Quinn Hat DIY

Those of you who know me, know that I am a life-long Batman fan. My nickname has been Joker since I was a small child for various reasons that have nothing to do with me being insane. LOL Really, it's my sense of humor and love of purple and green ... and possibly my creepy laugh.

Anyway, for a few years now I've wanted to do a great Harley Quinn costume. Much of what I could find online was very generic, like bodysuits that do not look good on most people. Or people put together their own outfits and didn't give instructions as to how they managed this. Some did and those were helpful, but I didn't find many. While I continue to perfect my own costume I realized that the next accessory I needed was a great hat.

So, I started looking for Harley Hats. Do you know that as far as I can find, no one manufactures them? I thought that was weird. I found a few (overpriced) on Ebay and thought, "I could do this myself."

I started looking for patterns and found that no one was willing to share a pattern for a Harley hat. BUT, I did find a few blogs talking about how to make a jester hat. I modified that a little and made my own hat.

It turned out so well, I decided to make one for my dog Roscoe too. LOL A good little minion should always match his evil mistress.

First, here's what you'll need. 

Red and black fabric. You can use something soft like fleece or something that will stand up better. It depends on if you want your hat to be floppy or stiff. Ha. Ha. It's up to you. My hat is made out of a stiffer wool. Yeah, I know that's not the technical name, but I can't think of it. I got a half yard of each color because I plan to make a pillow eventually too. You should have plenty left over.

Pom poms or jingle bells. You can get these at most craft stores or even at Walmart. I chose to use pom poms because I didn't want to jingle all the time.

Sewing machine is optional. It would be easier if you have one. I don't. It took me 6 hours to stitch my hat by hand and about an hour to do Roscoe's. The only reason it took me so long on my hat is because I had no idea what I was doing.

Black and red thread.

Okay, first you need to make your pattern. This is really easy. Measure around your head just above the eyebrows. My measurements was 56 cm. But, I wanted the hat to be loose, so I used 58 cm. as my measurement.

My hat is 52 cm. up the long/pointy side and 30 cm. down the short side. If you shorten the short side or lengthen the long side, you will get more of an extreme point. Likewise if you don't want your hat to be as "pointy" (Ha. Ha.) then you can shorten both of these measurements.

So, here is what I figured. 58 cm (circumference of my head) divided by 4 (because you need 4 panels). That equals 14.5 cm. That means that the base of my pattern needs to be 14.5 cm.

I measured this out on some "Happy Birthday" tissue paper and cut out my pattern.

Next, you need to cut 4 pieces of material using the pattern as your guide. You can either pin it to the fabric, or use a pen to trace it lightly. This will not show on the final product because your seam will be about 1 cm.
You need 2 black and 2 red. Make sure their slant all faces the same direction. (Wow. That sounds vaguely obscene.)

Take a black and a red piece and put their short sides together. Fold them in half and sew them together, but don't sew the "points." I hope that makes sense. I'm trying to be as clear as I can, but I'm no seamstress. 

Once you've done this, open them out and finger press the seam open. Repeat this for the other pair. 

Place the two pairs "right" sides together. This means the hat will look like it's inside out. Sorry if I over explain, but I need things simple. Now, you might find it easier to pin the hat together while you stitch. That's what I did. With the "right" sides together, start stitching sides (outside edges) together. Be sure to have a red side facing a black side so that the hat turns out with the correct "Harley" look. You may need to trim off excess fabric at the tips when you stitch them. Mine weren't perfectly matched. LOL The pic just above this paragraph shows the hat after both sides have been stitched together, but before I turned it right side out.

Next, lay your hat flat (still wrong side out) and trim off about 10-15 cm from the bottom, depending on how wide you want your brim.

Slide this band/brim over the bottom of the hat, aligning the cut edges. The wrong side of the hat (seams out) should be facing the right side of the brand/brim. Make sure your colors alternate. Now that all the seams match up at the bottom, stitch.

Turn the hat right side out. I used a pen to poke out the points of the hat as much as possible. Now, flip the brim up to the right side and tuck the very top (rough edge) under about 1 cm or more if you want a thinner brim. Pin it in place, matching the seams and stitch the top near the folded edge. 

All that's left to do is sew some pom poms or jingle bells to the tips and start getting your freak on with The Joker. HAHAHA!!

For Roscoe's hat, I measured his head and his ears and basically followed the same steps. I just used smaller pom poms and put straps on the sides, alternating colors. This pic gives a side angle of his little "points." They are custom fitted to his little ears, but because I was laughing, trying to hold a little dog, and take this pic at the same time, his ears slipped out. LOL

Have fun!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Luck O' The Irish Brownies

Since St. Patrick's Day isn't far away, I thought I would share an awesome and "lucky" recipe. Why is it lucky? Well, because it's chocolate. That's the same reason it's awesome. LOL

Now, without further ado, here is the recipe.

Luck O' The Irish Brownies

4 (1 ounce) squares of unsweetened chocolate

1 cup margarine, softened

2 cups white sugar

3 eggs

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups confectioner's sugar

2 tablespoons mile (as needed) You can also use lactose free milk, like I do.

1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract

6 drops green food coloring (or more if you want a darker green)

1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

6 tablespoons butter


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

2. Melt the unsweetened chocolate in a cup or small bowl in the microwave. Stir frequently until chocolate is smooth. Allow it to cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the margarine and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Stir in the flour just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and spread evenly.

3. Bake until the surface appears dry and the sides are beginning to pull away from the edges of the pan. (20-25 minutes). The brownies may look more like cake and jiggle slightly in the center, that's okay. Remove  from the oven and cool in the pan. You can place the pan on a wire rack, or onto a stove eye. (Turned off, of course.)

4. To make the middle layer, beat 1/2 cup of butter with confectioner's sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Add milk as needed to get a spreadable consistency. Stir in the peppermint extract and green food coloring. Spread this over the cooled pan of brownies. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips with the butter until melted. Stir every 20 seconds until the chocolate is smooth. Stir in vanilla, then pour over the chilled brownies and quickly spread to cover the surface. Cool again until firm. (About 10-15 minutes) Then, cut into squares and serve.

How awesome and easy is that?