How to Make a Mountain Man Fox Hat

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A homemade fox fur hat is sure to be a conversation starter among friends and family.
A homemade fox fur hat is sure to be a conversation starter among friends and family. (Image: red fox image by Lee O'Dell from Fotolia.com)

Wearing a fox skin hat as worn by the mountain men of long ago can make anyone feel like they can take on the wild. The hats may conjure up images of Daniel Boone in his coon skin cap, Davey Crockett, as well as rough, tough men who wrestle bears, hunt deer, and live off the land in a time long gone. It may seem difficult to create one of these hats, but in fact it is relatively simple. What's great, once you have mastered how to make the mountain man hat, almost any skin will work: coon, fox and coyote, for example.

Things You'll Need

  • Fox skin
  • 1 piece of cardboard
  • Tape
  • Ruler
  • Marking pencil
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Needle and nylon thread
  • Sharp Knife

Cut a 4-inch wide band from the piece of cardboard and place it around your head. Carefully mark where the ends of the band meet and add an extra 0.5 inches. This will allow you to add the seam later in the project. Next, cut the excess cardboard from the band and measure the circumference of your head. Take the measurement and divide it by 3.1417 (pi) for the diameter. Finally, divide the diameter in half and use these measurements to draw a circle on the cardboard and cut it out.

Lay the skin flat with the fur side down. Fold the fur's head straight up and lay your cardboard circle behind the center of the fox's face. Mark your circle with your marking pencil. Next, cut your cardboard band into two even pieces. Lay a half on each side of the circle. You will find that you will not have enough hair at the moment. This is normal. Simply mark the cardboard where you run out of fur. Cut around the fox's face and stop when you hit the intersecting line. Cut the marks you applied to the bands earlier but be careful to not cut the marks completely off.

When finished, the fox's face, the cap top, and parts of both hands will be attached to one another. Place the bands head to tail and cut the band strips to finish your pattern. Try to match the grain and color of the two smaller pieces of the headband to the larger headband pieces. This will ensure the hat will look like a legitimate period piece.

Join the pattern pieces together with pins and place them on the flesh side of the fox with the largest piece of the headband centered opposite of the head. With a sewing needle and nylon thread, begin to sew the bands around the circle with a top stitch using your blanket stitch (a strong reinforcing stitch that will hold your fox together perfectly). Start at the back of the headband and begin to stitch in the crown. Make sure the hair is flowing in the same direction as the attached bands. Join them with smaller stitches. This will ensure the attached fur will seem to be in a single piece. Do not pull the thread too tight or you may cut the skin.

Slice the base of the tail one-third of the way on each side with your sharp knife. Next, blanket stitch the tail together into a tubular shape all the way down its length. Once the hat is finished, sew the tail opposite of the fox's face.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take your time. One mistake could ruin the appearance of your skin.
  • If you wish to add a satin lining, use the same pattern but cut the entire headband as one solid piece and the crown separately.
  • While hunting and skinning your own animal would make this a legitimate mountain man hat, you do not have to go that route as many leather shops will carry or order the skin for you

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