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stuffed stuff: Ushanka hat (a.k.a Castle Crashers bear hat)

April 17, 2012

in stuffed stuff

This blog post is going to be about why I haven’t been blogging… But wait! I have something cool to show you!

I’ve been working my butt off at the Behemoth to bring awesome plushy products of the Behemoth characters. But these things take time… Still, I thought it’d be sad not to have anything to show at PAX East in Boston which took place between 4/6 ~ 4/8.

So I decided to make 20 hats of the bloody bear from Castle Crashers to be sold at the Behemoth booth at PAX East as the very first official plushy products of the Behemoth.

That’s right. I made each one by hand. TWENTY of them!

This hat idea didn’t sprout overnight. Actually, a couple of years ago when I was still just a fan of The Behemoth (still am!) they asked me if I wanted to make a prototype for them. I squealed in joy for about 3 minutes and accepted the project. Over the course of couple of years, we went through many prototypes with different shapes and different fabrics.

Bloody bear hat concept

Never before seen concept art for the hat!

Ushanka hat prototype - fleece

Ushanka hat prototype - fleece

Ushanka hat prototype - fake fur ver.1 w/ cotton lining

Ushanka hat prototype - fake fur ver.1 w/ cotton lining

Ushanka hat prototype - fake fur ver.2 w/ cotton lining

Ushanka hat prototype - fake fur ver.2 w/ cotton lining

Ushanka hat prototype - fake fur ver.3 w/ fleece lining

Ushanka hat prototype - fake fur ver.3 w/ fleece lining

Ushanka hat prototype - fake fur ver.4 w/ fleece lining

Ushanka hat prototype - fake fur ver.4 w/ fleece lining

Bloody bear hat concept

Never before seen concept art for the hat! Take 2

Long story short, after I became a full-time employee and moved to San Diego, we decided to use already-made fake fur trooper hats (we called them “Ushanka”  which are the same type of hat in Russian) to make couple dozens of hats as a “test run.”

I’ve made multiples of a plush before. 15 HotDog Fairies for random Enforcers at PAX, 7 Plush Pyth for the Supergiant Games’ staff, 3 Golden Whales for the Behemoth’s staff, etc… but never made 20 of something. Granted the hat was already made, it still was a time consuming task.

Making of Ushanka hat

This is the hat I used.

Making of Ushanka hat

I had to remove the flap on the front first.

Making of Ushanka hat

Using a ripper, I took the flap off... This seemingly easy task took forever!

Making of Ushanka hat

The flap is finally off.

Making of Ushanka hat

I turned the flap inside out, and traced the shape of the ear.

Making of Ushanka hat

For the inner part of the ear, I cut pink fleece and sewed it onto the ear.

Making of Ushanka hat

I sewed it on the fur side, using zig-zag stitches.

Making of Ushanka hat

Put the backside and sewed it together. Why so many pins? Sewing fur can be tricky. They are to keep the sew line where you want it to be.

Making of Ushanka hat

Making of Ushanka hat

Making of Ushanka hat

Cutting the excess fabric around the ear while being careful not to cut too close to the sew line. Otherwise, the fur near the seam will be a lot shorter than the fur around it.

Making of Ushanka hat

And turning it inside out...

Making of Ushanka hat

Taking the fur out of the seam. I know there's a special brush for this but I just use the back of my huge ass needle.

Making of Ushanka hat

And one ear is done!

Making of Ushanka hat

Now repeat that 39 more times!

Then I marked where the ears would go, cut slits, put the ears in and sewed it up.

I didn’t have time to take photos but believe me, it was NOT EASY to sew four layers of fake fur.

I cut felt into the shape of the blood stains, pinned each piece on the front and sewed it on with a sewing machine. This was the MOST time consuming part. That’s 4 blood stain pieces for one hat, that means 80 pieces for 20 hats! Not only that, the fur would get in the way so I had to keep the fur away from the needle as I sewed.

Making of Ushanka hat

Testing two different types of blood stains. I decided to go with the left one.

After all the blood stains were sewed on, I sewed the seam close.

To make these hats extra special, I hand stitched a number on each hat.

Ushanka hat

This is what it looked like in my hotel room in Boston the day before PAX East.

Ushanka hat

Our travel buddies just couldn't resist to trying them!

Ushanka hat

Since these were hand-made and super limited, hats were priced at $60, and all proceeds would go to Wigs for Kids.

Wigs for Kids is a non-profit organization which helps kids who lost hair due to chemotherapy, burn accidents or other medical conditions to get a wig made with human hair. You can also donate your hair (must be longer than 12-inches). See how you can help on their website! http://www.wigsforkids.org

Also since the Behemoth loves the Penny Arcade guys and their charity Child’s Play, we decided to donate one hat signed by Dan Paladin and Tom Fulp to the Child’s Play’s dinner auction.

Making of Ushanka hat

Super special Ushanka hat for Child's Play dinner action signed by Dan Paladin! (I got it signed by Tom Fulp later but I totally forgot to take a photo of it. T_T)

I was attending PAX East, and not working at the booth. And I must say I was a bit nervous of what people would think of the hats… So I was pleasantly super surprised when I was told that all 19 hats had sold out within 2 hours after they opened!

Whenever I saw someone wearing the hat, I wanted to hug them!! (but I restrained myself because I didn’t want to get kicked out of PAX East.)

Making of Ushanka hat

Finished Ushanka hat!

Making of Ushanka hat

We are planning to make this hat into a product but we don’t know when it will be. The final products will probably be more affordable but different from this limited version and won’t be numbered.

I think I can say that my very first official product from the Behemoth was a success!!!

Hopefully I can bring more of the Behemoth characters into stuffed stuff form in the future.

More PAX East related stuffed stuff posts to come…!

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

PandeNo Gravatar April 17, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Hey, I LOVE the hats… maybe you could make one more? :)
If not I will await the day they come out for sale.

Reply

Natalie KipperNo Gravatar April 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm

You are my hero. Just, you know, by the way.

Reply

MelissaNo Gravatar April 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Amazing work as usual. I so would of spent the $60 too if I was there! ( Also kills me because I am within reasonable distance of Boston and should of attended! ) But anyways I just wanted you to know that I’ve been a fan of your blog for a long time now! You are so talented and inspiring, I honestly wish I can meet you one day. And I also decided to finally make a comment to congratulate you on getting the behemoth job, congrats! I’m looking forward to more of your blogs Anna~

Reply

DanNo Gravatar April 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm

I’ve been an avid fan of your bento and plush projects for quite a while now. I was fortunate enough to attend PAX this year (on my 30th birthday, no less!), so the moment our queue was let into the expo hall just after 10am I ran (almost literally) straight to the Behemoth booth for hat #15. Your work always shows a dedication to quality and accuracy, and this hat is no exception – plus it is downright ADORABLE. ^_^ It got compliments from quite a few strangers and I even wound up on the Behemoth dev blog (pic 19 of day 1, pretending to play a broken Super Soviet Missile Mastar). Thanks so much for making such a wonderful item, it really made my birthday extra-special. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next! ^-^

Reply

PatrickNo Gravatar April 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm

These are totally awesome! I really hope they go up for sale because I would get one so fast. :D

Reply

jessicaNo Gravatar April 18, 2012 at 8:30 pm

omg i lost my hair 3 times because of chemo you have a really big heart :D

Reply

EmiliaNo Gravatar April 30, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Can’t wait too see some of your stuff at PAX Prime this year!

Reply

yvonneNo Gravatar May 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm

amazing! it’s a pleasure n delight to read this article!! love the design, love the hard work to execute the design! love that it’s for such a gd cause!
hats off to u =)

Reply

Russian ArmyNo Gravatar October 5, 2012 at 2:15 am

Very nice – even better than Soviet Army ushankas ;)

Reply

Amir MuradNo Gravatar March 25, 2013 at 6:36 pm

This is AMAZING! I really wish i could have gone to PAX. Quick question, is this the hat you used: http://www.amazon.com/Russian-Soviet-Special-Military-Ushanka/dp/B002Y43ASE/ref=sr_1_34?ie=UTF8&qid=1364261041&sr=8-34&keywords=ushanka

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