The Russian fleece cap , the Ushanka , was the incredibly characteristic winter wear of the Red Army soldier from 1942 to the present : so far the only ones offered in 1/6 , by DML , are much too big , because they have been lined and made of the wrong quality fabric , really don't look very convincing at all .
What I'm trying to do here is show a simple way to make an " other ranks " version that looks convincing : all it really entails is sewing a cylinder of grey fleece , of a single thickness .
First find a suitably piece of grey fleece : this one was made from a scrap from a fleece jacket bought in a local charity shop : £3 , which is enough for about 50 hats ! Pale grey is best , but mid-grey and browny-greys will also do.Grey fleece gloves are also very cheap , and you can get about three ushankas out of a pair.
Cut out a rectangle that is going to be wide enough to go round your figure's head , and long enough to go down and up , if you follow me : I've used the old Kodak 35mm canister as a guide :
You can see the card template marked with the circumference of the dolly's head , with an allowance either end for the seam : the edge in between is shaped into four equal sized , right-angled flaps : these are going to be sewn together to form the top .
Wrap that around the canister and catch it together with the thread :
Then start sewing the four flaps together : remember the fleece is on the outside at this stage :
When the " cross " is finished it will look like this :
And you can sew the back seam down for about 12mm at the same time : all these seams are going to end up on the INSIDE of the cap .
Turn the cap inside out , with the seams you've done now inside , and replace on the canister : the remaining open seam is now turned outwards and sewn up : this is going to be hidden inside the fleecy turnup :
This cap is only of a single thickness : we are faking the fact that the originals had a fabric outer and a fleece lining . To give better illusion , I paint the outside a darker grey , using acrylics laid on fairly thick :
When it's dry it will look like this : I've trimmed back that outside seam to the absolute minimum :
Now to the fun bit : cutting it to shape : apply to the head of the victim :
And then cut two vertical slits as shown : these are going to make the face opening and the flap over the forehead , which on this one is 25mm wide:
Trim this flap to size and shape , and the side flaps to their curve :
Add the ties from suitable ribbon : some had a button and a loop :
And you can turn up the flaps , or leave them down as you prefer. The finished cap may need a little adjustment , and I can't guarantee absolute success on your first try , but I think they look a damn sight better than the commercial ones .
Word of advice : don't fit them too tight to start with : once they are sewn up they have a mysterious habit of coming out smaller