Do you have a group of cousins in your family that are the best of friends? This DIY tutorial will show you how to make them an adorable set including a cousin crew shirt and hat.
This past Christmas, my husband’s side of the family got together to celebrate a bit earlier than usual due to availability. We wanted to make the day as special as possible for the parents, siblings, and kids, so even though we didn’t do our typical present exchange that day, we still tried to surprise the kids with some special goodies. My contribution was a matching shirt and hat for each of the six kiddos.
The cousin crew shirt and hat sets were an absolute hit, and all the kids loved that they got to match one another for the day while representing their favorite colors. They also really loved that they got a hat to wear all the time in their favorite color. Even though it was pretty warm in the house, they all kept their hats on all day because they loved them so much!
Materials You’ll Need to Make a Cousin Crew Shirt and Hat Set
To make the shirts for this set, you will need:
– A Shirt for Each Person – I purchased mine from JoAnn Fabrics and Hobby Lobby
– Iron-on Vinyl – I used white
– A Cutting Machine – I used my Cricut Explore Air 2, but any Cricut or Silhouette machine would work
– Cousin Crew SVG File from The Design Hippo – Free Download!
– An Iron or Heat Press – I used my Cricut EasyPress Mini
To make the hats for this set, you will need:
– Yarn (weight 3 or 4) – I used Yarn Bee Soft Secret
– Circular Knitting Machine – I used my Addi King (46 pin), but the Sentro 40 or 48 pin would likely work as well.
– Yarn Needle
– Bon-Fire Beanie Pattern by Taylor Lynn Crochet – Free Pattern!
When purchasing the materials to make this set, I made sure to first ask all the kids’ parents for their current sizes. If they were between sizes, I sized up so they could wear their shirts as long as possible. I chose the colors based on each kiddo’s favorite color, but you could certainly make them all match or make each set of siblings match.
I used Yarn Bee Soft Secret to make the hats because the softness and sleekness of this yarn makes it work really well for running through the knitting machine. I have found that Caron Simply Soft is very similar, and I often use that yarn interchangeably with Soft Secret. If you opt to use a different yarn, especially one that is heavier, just keep in mind that you will want to adjust the row counts and tension to make sure the hats will fit their recipients.
Making the T-shirts
To make the t-shirts, I started by downloading the free SVG file from The Design Hippo and uploading it into Cricut Design Space. I used this chart from i Craft Vinyl to determine what size to make each of the decals for the shirts based on each of their sizes. I duplicated my image in Cricut to make a total of six images, adjusting each size accordingly. I then mirrored the image and cut it out on white iron-on vinyl. By using my 12″ by 24″ cutting mat, I was able to fit all six designs on one mat with just a little bit of rearranging.
While the SVG file will size the word Cousin and Crew together when you adjust it, it doesn’t keep the two words together when it moves them to the cutting mat. This didn’t bother me too much, but if you aren’t comfortable with placing the words on the shirt, you may want to make sure the words are attached before cutting so the design stays as intended.
Once I cut my vinyl, I weeded out all of the excess vinyl and cut around each word. I then matched up each image with the correct shirt based on the size of the design.
Using the chart from i Craft Vinyl and a ruler to determine placement, I put each design on the shirt as straight as possible and ironed it on with my Cricut EasyPress Mini. I made sure to have an ironing board under the shirt while ironing and a thin piece of material over the transfer so it didn’t overheat. Once the design cooled enough for me to touch it, I pulled off the clear overlay piece to see the finished design. I repeated this process until all the shirts were done!
I chose to keep all the shirts the same in regards to the design, but the creator of the free cut file offers you choices. On The Design Hippo’s website, they not only offer the “Cousin Crew” design, but also a matching set of other designs that say “Biggest Cousin,” “Big Cousin,” “Little Cousin,” and “Littlest Cousin.” You could really personalize these shirts if you wanted to go in that direction!
Making the Hats
If you’ve never operated a knitting machine before, you’re missing out! It’s so fun to make a beautiful design so quickly with such precise stitches. I use my Addi King and Addi Express all the time, so I knew I definitely wanted to use them to whip up some extra special hats for the kiddos in my life.
The Bon-Fire Beanie pattern by Taylor Lynn Crochet has been my favorite pattern to work with for hats. The type of yarn used, the row counts, and the tension recommendation have been perfect for creating hats that will fit pretty much anyone. They also work perfectly as a slouchy beanie or a fold-over brim beanie. I used her exact row counts for all of the hats except my daughter’s since she is so tiny. For hers, I used about 10 less rows.
If you have no idea how to operate a knitting machine but want to purchase one and try it out, the Bon-Fire Beanie pattern is really beginner friendly. She even has a video tutorial included, plus other blog posts that explain how to use a knitting machine. Just be cautious – they are addicting!!
I opted not to use pom poms for these hats, but you could definitely add some to dress up the hats. I love using faux fur pom poms with an elastic loop. To attach them, I simply sew a button into the inside of the hat that I then use to hold the pom pom in place. This allows the pom pom to be removed so the hat can be washed or so that you can change the pom pom if you want.
If you decide to not use a pom pom like I did, you will want to make sure you secure the inside of the hat to the outside by sewing the whole way through the hat when finishing it. This helps make it a little more secure and kid-friendly without strange bunching taking place.
Packaging the Cousin Crew Shirt and Hat Sets
When giving group gifts, having all the kids open their presents at the same time can be a little interesting. As soon as the first kid opens their gift, it takes away some of the surprise from the rest. To try to keep them all excited, I actually chose to put all of their sets in organza bags with the back of the shirt facing out. This allowed them all to see what color combination they were getting and that they were all getting the same thing without letting any of the know what the surprise was.
They all got so excited when they each had a special bag that was filled with things in their favorite color. We had all the kids open their individual bags at once, and the excitement grew as they each figured out what they got. This gift was seriously such a hit that it warmed my heart and made every second of this project totally worth it!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial for making adorable matching cousin crew shirt and hat sets! If this inspired you to make a matching set for some kiddos in your life, please be sure to share! Tag me on social media or comment below so I can hear all about your process!
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