Picture of Checkpoint Charlie Hat
This is a copy of a hat my friend Doc Pop brought back from (East) Germany. He got it near Checkpoint Charlie so that's what he calls it; to me it looks more like the hat Governor Tarkin is wearing when he gets insulted by Princess Leia. But either way it's cool.

I made this from a thrift store blazer, rather than buying fabric new. It cost about $9 (in expensive San Francisco) and I'll get another 2 hats from it, easily. If you have fallen in love with yardage, you'll need about a third of a yard -- but take the pattern to the store and lay it out there to be sure.

For the brim, I use a piece of flexible clear plastic of the kind blister packages are made from. Many packages have large flat areas from which the plastic can be reclaimed, although a lot are just too closely molded to the product. I have a stash of flat plastic for brims. Yay reuse!

The only other material needed is a yard or so of quilt binding or wide bias tape for the inner hat band. Tools required are sewing machine (although you could do this by hand as well), pins, and scissors.

Update: pix of one made from paper! http://www.flickr.com/photos/29317731@N08/sets/72157617448800455/
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jmeowmeow6 years ago
Finally done with my denim realization. Piecing was a little tricky. My next will be in corduroy (with interfacing).


rachel (author)  jmeowmeow5 years ago
Hey, this looks fantastic! I must have missed when you first posted it. Great work!
Thanks! I get complements on the street. Despite (or because of?) its lopsidedness. From a look at the streets of Seattle, hats (or at least cute little caps) seem to be coming back in fashion. Now that I've made one, I look more closely at others. (spell check: not in dictionary: "denim", "Seattle" !?) I can't wait to see DocPop's denim rendition, if he ever slows down and gets a chance to do a little tailoring.
Hat #3.  Gray denim, no front strap, no brim stiffener, extra topstitching.
As modified for Halloween, with a Star Wars Rebel Alliance insignia, stitched red felt on white felt.

This Instructable has won the "I Made It" Challenge, Thanks for being a part of the instructables community!

astrobug3 years ago
Excellent Instructable, and it turned out to be much easier than it looked! (Though, admittedly, I probably cheated by using fleece)
Paymeister3 years ago
Just made one of these: too small, alas! But as a first try I'm quite pleased. Thanks for the instructable!
fishydrew33 years ago
Thanks so much for making this instructable!!!! Made one out of what I had lying around the house. That one I made too small for my hubby. The second time around got a thift store old wool mens coat & made it prefectly. I did use iron-on stiffing for the bill instead of plastic. My husband loves it, because he can cover his ears when it's cold. Thank you again:)
rachel (author)  fishydrew33 years ago
That looks great! Thanks for posting the pic :)
Jamtaktics4 years ago
So far, because of my printer, Ive done this all by just looking and measuring...and scissors....however, its coming nicely. Im making mine out of old jeans
mamapeanut5 years ago
What a great, sassy pattern! Thank you so much for providing it!

I made mine out of a fleece boucle onto which I applied a light interfacing on the back of all pieces. Instead of using anything (other than the interfacing) inside the brim as a stiffener, I topstitched five lines. The end result is not stiff, but stiff enough to do the job. I realized that the hat was going to be too big the intended recipient according to the given dimensions, so I cut out all pieces on the pattern lines (i.e., not cutting them larger for a seam allowance), then sewed with a 1/4" seam allowance - meaning that each piece was 1/4" smaller on all sides when finished. This worked well for all parts except for the ear flaps, which I wish I'd made longer.

Thanks again for a great pattern. Much appreciated.
Photo on 2010-09-07 at 22.49 #2.jpg
rachel (author)  mamapeanut5 years ago
That looks great! And you made it your user icon, aw!
Thav5 years ago
This step is so hard. One side keeps trying to sneak away and then I get these krinkles that make it fit badly. :[
rachel (author)  Thav5 years ago
Yeah, sewing opposite curves takes some practice.  if it's really beating you up, try basting it by hand first.  Just sew with a needle and thread (a contrasting color is helpful when you go to take it out) along the problem areas, to hold them in place for the machine.  Since you're doing one stitch at a time by hand, you have a lot more control over where the fabric pieces meet.  Good luck!
Thav rachel5 years ago
Thanks! I'll give it a shot. It at least has taught me to use a seam ripper better.
rachel (author)  Thav5 years ago
Ha!  I've been sewing since i was 8 and I can probably count on one hand the number of things I've made where I didn't need to rip out something!

Post a pic of your hat when you're done, I'd love to see how it comes out.
neumaics5 years ago
First, thanks for the pattern!

With very little previous sewing experience, I managed to make a couple of hats a while ago.  For the first version, I used unmodified pattern pieces, which turned out to be much (much) too big, so I adjusted the pattern to fit my head better. It serves me well as my work hat, now.

Thanks again. 
Thav neumaics5 years ago
How did you reduce the pattern? I printed them out all at like 90%. I measured the first hat I tried and compared the inner circumference to the circumference of my head and ended up with that ratio. Just wanted to see how you scaled and if it worked out well for you before I try.
neumaics Thav5 years ago
  How did you manage to scale them?  I attempted scaling but ran into problems, then decided to modify the pattern pieces instead.

On the side and flap pieces, I removed an inch from the length by taking  it from the center.  I cut a triangle shaped wedge from the top piece, so the circumference removed equaled what I took out of the sides.  I'll make diagrams if I didn't explain well enough.

The bill and band didn't need modification.

I imagine scaling would work better than what I did, especially for smaller iterations where my method would break down, but this was sufficient for me.
rachel (author)  neumaics5 years ago
If you can print the pieces at a reduced (or increased) ratio, that's going to be the easiest way to modify the size, because it preserves the proportions.  neumaics, your way is fine since it worked, and I usually will do something like that myself. But a bit of care is needed to make sure that the seams that go together don't change so they are different lengths, or at least not by very much!
rachel (author)  neumaics5 years ago
Thav5 years ago
Made it to step four. The pattern was too big for my head. My head is 22". I tried sewing some elastic in between the cap and the flap. I was concentrating so hard on that I put the flap on all sorts of crooked; not centered at all. Going to try again if I can figure out how to reduce the pattern some.

I had a little trouble following step 4. In the third picture, is that the unfinished edge of the flap facing down?

Attached is a picture of where I ended up. I used some flannel, probably about 1/4 yard x 60 inches (no liners).
rachel (author)  Thav5 years ago
Ha! This is an awesome picture.  Did you finish it?
Thav rachel5 years ago
No! Never did. I made the flap waaaay too crooked and I had so many stitches through that, some elastic and the sides that I couldn't cleanly undo it. I'm going to try again sometime.
jmeowmeow5 years ago
I used a plastic piece cut from a 2-liter bottle for my second hat, and it seems to have picked up a permanent crease.  My first hat used cloth-backed upholstery foam for the brim stiffener, which seems to have endured wear better.  Maybe I'll try topstitching the 3rd hat to stiffen the brim.
NetReaper5 years ago
great hat! It suits you well
nostahl5 years ago
could we get a pdf version of the pattern pieces so it prints out accurate in size.
alnator5 years ago
I was considering making this cap at some point and was curious as to what kind of fabric I should use, I was thinking twill or possibly a cordoroy. Would anyone be willing to make a reccomendation?
rachel (author)  alnator5 years ago
Any medium weight woven fabric that's not too stiff should work. Twill and corduroy both fit this description. The wool I used is actually a kind of twill. You may be referring to a cotton twill, which should make up nicely.
kronkoburg6 years ago
jmeowmeow6 years ago
At the end of this step, is the flap actually sewn or merely basted? The next step (the brim) uses the word "sewn" to describe how the flap is attached first before the brim is sewn over it. I imagine either way would work, since the step of attaching the inner band goes through the flap and crown. Can you believe "sewn" is not in the spelling dictionary for Instructables?
rachel (author)  jmeowmeow6 years ago
Basting is a subset of sewing. In this case it doesn't matter much; I used the term baste here mostly to indicate that further stitching will be done later. What's needed is for the flap to stay in place while you sew the brim and later the band on. You can sew the flap down as firmly as you wish here.
Thav6 years ago
I took the gifs you posted and traced them in Inkscape and saved as an SVG format. I set up the spacing so that the dimensions in Inkscape equal the dimensions you wrote on. I also wasn't sure if any of the other patterns needed the seam allowance drawn in, so I only included it on the brim. These should be viewable in Firefox if nothing else.
rachel (author)  Thav6 years ago
Fantastic! Thank you for doing this. I should learn more about Inkscape... All the patterns need seam allowance, except the stiffening which goes inside the brim. To put it another way, all the fabric pieces need seam allowance so they can be stitched together. But it is easy enough to add this when you're cutting the pieces out.
Thav rachel6 years ago
Okay, so I've added seam allowances to the other images as well. I chose either 1/2" or 1/4", whichever seemed like it would work. I look at sewing instructables more than I actually sew so I don't know what's appropriate. If you want to change them and you have Inkscape, if you select the seam allowance path and hit either Ctrl+( or Ctrl+) you can change how far away the allowance is from the pattern itself. I also noticed the font I used on Windows is not available on Linux. Woops.
scott86926 years ago
thank you very much
Robotrix6 years ago
What! First of all, using an old blazer for hat material is GENIUS. Secondly, you are a GENIUS! Star Wars reference in a hat making 'ible? i don't think life gets better than this.
muffin16 years ago
Also, dose anyone know what "kind" of hat this is?
you can find a similar hat called the Cadet Cap
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