Picture of How to Sew a Cute Cloche Hat
I love vintage hats - and this Instructable is inspired by the cloche hats of the 1920s! Cloches were close-fitting hats that were worn quite low - almost down to the eyebrows. They were made in a variety of styles from brimless to turned-up brims. They only cost between $1 and $5 back then! This hat in the Instructable is quite easy to make - so let's get started.
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Step 1: Materials Needed for DIY Cloche Hat & Pattern

Picture of Materials Needed for DIY Cloche Hat & Pattern
Materials Needed:
  • half a yard of premium felt (or other material for hat)
  • sewing machine
  • hand-sewing needle, thread & pins
  • pattern
  • *optional: starch (I used Sta-Flo liquid starch)
Before You Begin:
First, you can download the pattern pieces in this step and print and cut them out. The hat I made is for a head size approximately 21 1/2 inches. If you need to increase the hat size, you can do so by adding material to the ends of the pattern pieces. This tutorial here on increasing or decreasing a hat size pattern may help you.

The large flower on the hat I created was made from an online tutorial and free pattern download here. Thank you so much to Joy Kelley for the pattern for the beautiful felt camellias!

Step 2: Cut out the Pieces

First, cut out all the pattern pieces. Then, take the Hat crown front piece, wrong-side up and pin it to the hat top piece, also wrong-side up. Head over to the sewing machine and use a 1/2 inch seam allowance and stitch the pieces together. Once done, then turn it right-side out.

While still at the sewing machine with the material right-side out - look underneath the stitching to see the direction in which the under part of the seam is facing. Move it to one side (your choice as to left or right) and put the presser foot down. I chose to push the under part of the seam towards the back part of the hat (left). I then did a topstitch to the left of where the two pieces are joined (see image) while carefully pulling the material so there wouldn't be any bulges. Doing this creates a really nice finished-look for the hat, while also smoothing and flattening out the seams.

Step 3: Finishing up the Main Part of the Hat

Now set that piece aside for a moment. Take the back crown piece and the back top piece. Lay them out as you see in my images - and pin them together. The back crown piece is the bigger piece. Sew them just as you did with the front crown and top pieces. It will get more difficult to do the top-stiching once you get to this point - so just take your time and be careful with it.

Once done,  the four pieces will be connected as follows: front crown piece, front top, back top and back crown piece. The crown pieces are larger. Try the hat on to see how it fits and lies on your head. If you prefer how it looks as it is - great. You may find that if you flip it so the back crown piece is in the front that you like how it looks that way - either way is fine. The main hat base is now completed!

Also, if for some reason the hat is slightly more snug than you prefer - you can get it damp (spray the inside with water) and put it on your head to sort of re-form it and stretch it a little bit.

Step 4: Adding the Brim

For this step, cut out the pattern piece for the brim. Have a pin ready as well as a needle and thread. Fold the tapered end in half (see image) and then in half again and pinch and pin it. Then sew that little end up - an inch and a 1/2 starting at the end. Then get more pins ready and start at one side of the hat. I started at the right front side of the hat and began pinning the brim on. It helps to pin the very end on first and then try the hat one and move the brim around to see how you like it. Some people may like it lower and others higher. Pin and try it on before your final pinning. Once you like the placement, then you'll need to sew it on. As you can see in the photos, you are only sewing it on from the top part of the brim. The bottom part will fold up.

The end of the brim will not be totally secured down. So you can also move it around how you like it and if you like, do just one or two small stitches to secure it onto the hat. I think it looks better this way - otherwise it may stick out awkwardly.

Step 5: Sewing the Flowers On

Now for the fun part! Time to cut out flowers and get them ready and then sew it on. I basically tried the hat on again after sewing the flowers and held the flowers to the side to determine where to pin it on. Once pinned and I was happy with the placement, I then hand-sewed them onto the side. If you didn't download the pattern for the flowers, it is available on Joy Kelley's website here - thank you Joy!

Next, before I forget to add this - you can fold the back side under about 1/2 inch or less and sew it under. It's also fine if you leave it un-sewn - that is up to you.

Now for the last step - if you have some starch to spray onto your hat to stiffen it up a little bit, that will help the hat keep its shape and stability.

Step 6: Finished Product

Picture of Finished Product
The cloche hat doesn't take too long to make. Once you have the basic hat shape - the fun thing is that you have unlimited options for customizing it the way you like it! It's fun wearing it too because you don't see these hats everyday - a lot of people have complimented. But my son still says he doesn't like it and it's not my style! I think it is - and I love it! :) Time to make some more...:)
jabuj22 months ago

you are beautiful physically n heartedly

silver_girly made it!6 months ago

Thank you so much! I had to try twice and I still have some bunching on the seams, but I think with practice I'll get it just right. (I'm open to suggestions - I was just guessing about how to line up the ends of each section.) I found this felt at a thrift store for $2 and I can probably get 4-5 hats out of it. I know what everyone is getting for every gift this year - ha!

marcia.urban17 months ago

so please tell us what percentage we should do to print it out? Like one hundred percent or 75 percent. So that I can get it to the 21 and 1/2 inches print out size?

jodi810 months ago

Hi, love the hat. I'm a bit confused about what size to print the pattern out in printer options, as it's seems too big when I try. Cheers

waggy1011 year ago
I love it
foobear1 year ago

very lovely and 20s

foobear1 year ago

very lovely and 20s

swhirley1 year ago
Sorry I didn't get back to you, but I have felted wool knitted items. I have found several sites that sell wool felt fabric and it is quite reasonable in a wide variety of colors.

Wow, you make it look so easy! I will have to try this sewing project someday soon. Thanks for sharing!

shazni1 year ago

this is gorgeous! ...love I

swhirley1 year ago
This looks fun to make. Did you use wool felt?
HollyMann (author)  swhirley1 year ago

Thanks swhirley. :) I didn't. I just used the best felt I could find at my local Joann store. I do though have half a dozen vintage wool felt (and one or two fur felt) hats and I am learning how to deconstruct and reblock them. If I master that, I will post about it....:) Hope so! Do you have experience with wool felt or hat making? :) i love learning more about it.

I love it! It's such a lovely modern take on all the Downton Abbey hats! Great tutorial! :)

HollyMann (author)  doodlecraft1 year ago

Thanks so much Nat :))) Next time I just need to use some nicer material :))

kenralph1 year ago
is the graph paper in inches, or millimeters. (before I buy the wrong stuff!)
HollyMann (author)  kenralph1 year ago

Inches :))

sunshiine1 year ago

I have been wanting to make one of these. I think you look great in this style. Was the starch used to stiffen the brim? Thanks for sharing Holly and have a great day!


HollyMann (author)  sunshiine1 year ago

Hi Sunshiine :)) Yes I did use the starch to mostly stiffen the brim ...also because I wanted the hat to stiffen up a little bit. :)

cute and cozy! love that flower :)

HollyMann (author)  Muhaiminah Faiz1 year ago

Thank you so much :))

faiza0071 year ago
awesome holly..!! ;)
HollyMann (author)  faiza0071 year ago

Thanks Faiza!

kenralph1 year ago
the ladies at Lindyhop will love this, thanks!
HollyMann (author)  kenralph1 year ago

Yay that's great!

Sometimes I get confused when people put "cute" in their title, because I'm like, "how do you know?" Well, ma'am, you are incredibly right, this is just so adoribly cute!

HollyMann (author)  Penolopy Bulnick1 year ago

;) Thank you for the "cute" comment Penolopy! Made me smile! Glad you think it's cute also!

It is just adorable :D And your cat is staring me down! But, still, the cat is also adorable :)

HollyMann (author)  Penolopy Bulnick1 year ago

:) I know about the cat!...it's my new fav. picture of her. She thinks she's a model - so she had to strike a serious pose there! I love it!

Holly I am biggest fan of your sewing skills, the Hat is super cute and you look sooooo beautiful in that :)

HollyMann (author)  Tarun Upadhyaya1 year ago

Thanks so much Tarun! I am a HUGE fan of all your creations..I love your style!