How to Make a Yamaka

by Rhomylly Forbes

A yamaka, or yarmulke, is a small, round cap worn either all the time or just during prayer or other religious activity by devout Jewish men. Also referred to as a kippah, the yarmulke is not simply a flat circle, rather it is slightly peaked or domed to better fit the contours of the back of the scalp. Yarmulkes have no standard size or color, although most wearers seem to prefer small, unobtrusive ones for comfort. Since there is no strict style, you can make your yarmulke any pattern or color you wish.

Design your yarmulke. According to websites that design and sell their own yarmulkes, you can make yours out of pretty much any material you choose including leather, satin or cotton. You can also add some fun to a yarmulke for the younger wearer by incorporating a sports design like a soccer ball or baseball.

Choose your fabric. You won't need much fabric for a yarmulke, so if you don't have the right piece of fabric scrap at home the remnant bin at the fabric store will likely have what you want. You will want to consider aesthetics, fabric weight and washability when choosing your fabric.

Make a pattern. Determine how big you want your finished yarmulke to be and draw a circle on a sheet of newspaper exactly that size. Draw another larger circle 1/2 inch around your first one to add seam allowance. This is your basic pattern.

Cut out your fabric. Pin the pattern to the fabric and cut around the perimeter of the circle. To make a slightly peaked yarmulke, cut into the circle directly from the edge to the middle (one radius).

Sew your yarmulke. Stitch up the radius on the wrong side of the fabric, using approximately 1/4 inch seam allowance and press the seam open. Fold over 1/4 inch around the perimeter of your circle, and press with the iron. Fold over another 1/4 inch and stitch.

Design a more complex pattern. Take your original circle pattern and divide it into quarters. Trace one of the circle quarters onto another piece of paper and add 1/2 inch to the two straight and one curved sides of the quarter. Cut four pieces using this fabric and stitch the straight sides together to re-create the circle. Hem the perimeter as above.

Tip

  • If your fabric is machine washable, make sure to run it through the washing machine and dryer before sewing so it won't shrink after construction.

Items you will need

  • Fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Yesterday's newspaper
  • Iron
  • Ironing board

Photo Credits

  • Diana Westberg/Demand Media