To make a coon skin hat you will need a large skin that is free of bald spots
and blemishes. The tail should be well marked and full. If you have a large
head, it may be tough to find a single coon big enough for the job. If that's
the case, cut the circle and face from one and cut all your bands from another.
Remember to check the hair patterns so that the hair is always going from head
to tail of the cap. Use a heavy grocery bag or cardboard to cut your pattern so
that you can tape them together to be sure you have the fit you want. You may
find that you like a somewhat elongated crown (about an inch longer than it is
wide) as opposed to the round pattern described next.
To begin, cut a 4 inch wide band of cardboard and place it around your head.
Mark where it touches and then add an extra 0.5-inches to allow for a seam. Cut
the excess from this band. Now measure the length which is the circumference of
your head. Take your circumference measurement and divide it by 3.1417 (pi) for
the diameter of your head. Finally, divide the diameter in half and using that
radius, scribe and cut a circle out of cardboard.
Lay your hide out flat, fur down. Fold the head straight up and lay your
cardboard circle flat down directly behind the center of the face. With a
marking pencil, mark you circle. Now cut your cardboard band into two equal
pieces. Lay a half on each side of the circle going from head to tail and mark
it. Note: You will not have enough hair up front! Mark
your cardboard band exactly where you run out of fur. Carefully cut around the
coon's face and stop when you hit an intersecting line. Cut the marks on the
bands but DO NOT cut them free of the circle.
When you finish, the cap top, coon face, and parts of both bands will be
attached to each other. Put your bands on the remaining fur the same way (head
to tail) and cut band strips to complete your cardboard pattern. Remember to try
to match the grain and color of the two smaller pieces of the headband to the
larger headband pieces.
When your pattern pieces are cut join them together with pins and place them on
the flesh side of the skin with the largest piece of the headband centered
opposite of the head. With a fine needle and nylon thread begin sewing the bands
around the circle top stitch using a blanket stitch. Start at the rear part of
the headband and stitch in the crown.
When you add the extra pieces to complete the hat band make sure sure that the
hair is flowing the same direction as the attached bands and join them with
smaller stitches so the joined fur will appear to be a single piece. Be careful
not to pull the thread too tight or you may cut the leather.
Using a sharp knife, slice the base of the tail 1\3 of the way on each side.
Then blanket-stitch the tail together into a tubular shape all the way down its
length. Once your hat is finished, sew the tail directly opposite of the coon
When the coon skin hat is complete you can add a satin lining by using the same
pattern but cut the entire headband as one solid piece and the crown separate.
Turn the fur hat inside out and the satin lining right side out then stitch them
together around the skins lower edge. When this is complete, push the lining
into the inside of the fur hat and it is ready to wear.
If you want to make a coon skin hat but prefer not to hunt for the skin, most
area leather shops will be able to get the fur for you.