How to Make a Cadet-style Cap





Introduction: How to Make a Cadet-style Cap

It's been my experience that finding a good fitting Cadet style hat is difficult and even if you can find one that fits correctly, I've found that there is usually some other problem either with the quality of the manufacturing or something else won't be quite right (crooked bill, uneven tops, etc.) This lead me to create my own, and since it's winter time here I made it out of fleece.

Step 1: Layout of the Main Part of the Cap

first you need to lay out the fabric and mark it for cutting. Because I created a hat with a special logo on the front my cutting is a bit more complicated, but the basics are as follows:

1. Measure around your head where you want the cap's bottom to be. Write this down somewhere you can get to it later because if you ever want to make more hats you'll appreciate not having to remeasure. For my hats I normally create one strip of fabric 23" long by 5.5" tall (I wear a size Small-Medium hat normally).
2. Using a ruler and a marker or pencil mark your cutting lines on the fabric
3. Cut out the strip(s) of fabric (in my case I made 3 pieces: two 10"x5.5" and one 4"x5.5" but normally I would only make one 23"x5.5" strip)

Step 2: Sew the Top Band Together

Sew the fabric band together making sure to leave the good side of the fleece / fabric facing out (so basically you'll sew with the fabric laid inside-out).

If you're following what I did and using three pieces of fabric you'll get what's in the photos below, otherwise you'll have only one stitched area that will be the back of your hat.

Step 3: Finish the Bottom Edge of the Hat

at this point it's easiest to finish the bottom edge of the hat and give it a nice looking / professional edge.

I fold and pin approximately 1" of the bottom of the band of fabric and then sew it twice; once around the upper part of the fold and once around the lower part of the fold. This gives a nice double stitch that looks good.

Step 4: Make the Top of the Hat

To make the top of the hat I found that a large plastic canister of coffee was approximately the same circumference as the band of fabric I created in the previous step. I use the coffee canister to give me a good circular shape but the actual circle I draw is about 1/2" larger than the canister. Additionally I used a kids marker (which doesn't dry on the fleece so it will wash off later) to draw the circle because the chalk pencil pulls the fabric too much.

Cut out the circle of fabric.

Step 5: Pin and Sew the Top to the Hat-band

flip the hat-band inside out (if not already so) and pin the circle of fabric to the edge all the way around.

I've had best results by starting with a pin at the back and then pinning the front and then each side followed by a pin in between each location. For me this ensures that the pinning is even all the way around.

Sew the top on and flip the hat back right-side-out and try it on. Hopefully if everything has gone ok it will fit exactly where you want

Step 6: Make a Brim (the Threadbanger Way)

To make the brim I follow a tutorial created by Threadbanger and found here. Because their tutorial is so great I won't go into too much detail here, but basically I traced the brim of another hat onto some construction paper (which gives a nice flexible brim). To get the depth of the brim I measured my other hat which was a little over 1.5" and freehand drew the inside shape. I then folded the paper at the midpoint and cut it to ensure both sides are the same.

After cutting out the shape I covered both sides in duct tape and then traced out and cut two pieces of fabric 1/2" larger than the brim. When cutting out the fabric make sure to cut straight across the back edge (don't follow the inner curvature of the brim pattern).

Pin and sew the two pieces of fabric together along the curved front edge and flip it around so the stitches are inside of what is now a pocket.

Place the paper brim inside the pocket and pin and sew along the back curve of the brim making sure that the fabric is pulled tight from front to back before pinning.

Step 7: Sew on the Brim

Now it's time to sew the brim to the hat. I simply measured to the center of the brim and marked the fabric along the back curve and then measured to the centerpoint of the front of the hat and matched up the points.

The bottom edge of the hat-band should follow exactly along the sewed back curvature edge of the brim.

After sewing I cut the extra fabric off of the brim pocket so that it doesn't interfere with how the hat fits (though you could also leave it if you like).

That's it! If you're really feeling confident you can try to create a liner, but I don't like my hat to get too hot so I tend to leave that out. Thanks for reading and I hope this helps someone!



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    I'm in the army cadet force but in Wales! Much more disciplined then the American cadets.

    1 reply

    I survived Rookdom in the Norwich University Corps of Cadets. Norwich is located in Vermont. Wales has never seen snow like Vermont. Wimps! :-)

    Great hat! I make hats but never thought of using fleece for a more structured hat. My daughter will love this. I'll make her one in camo fleece this weekend. Thank you!

    it is just a rotary cutter... these can be picked up at any arts and crafts store and are great for cutting fabrics like fleece

    If you buy a rotary cutter you may also want to invest in the proper cutting mat, like the author uses in the photos. It looks like a Fiskars brand mat. Olfa is another brand. They are most often found with quilting supplies. Using the mat will GREATLY prolong the life of your cutting blade as well as protect your table, Quite often you can buy a small rotary cutter with a mat in a "travel quilting kit" for a reduced price. If you plan on learning to sew and doing a lot of sewing buy the largest mat you can easily afford. I started with a small mat and immediately regretted not getting the larger one.

    If you live in the USA and live near a Joann's or Michael's 40% off coupons are commonly available.

    and did you use cardstock for the brim or something? and was it pretty sturdy?

    yes, it was just cardstock... I wanted a pretty lightweight and flexible brim... if I were to make this hat again I would probably purchase a plastic brim insert from a craft supply store and just cut it down to size.

    I have used iron-fusible stiff interfacing, like Pellon Peltex 72F for hat brims. You can buy it at fabric stores like Joann's or Hancock's. It's great because it's washable. I also know some people use milk jug plastic for brims.

    can this be adapted for duct tape?

    Really great job - I'm going to try this. Would it be possible to see a photo of the whole hat inside out? And maybe a close-up of the stitching. I need all the help I can get, thanks, g_g

    1 reply

    thanks for the comment, unfortunately I gave this hat away to my bandmate and so I can't take any more close-up photos. The stitching is all pretty basic straight stitch (no zigzagging) and the spacing really depends on the material you use (fleece needed about a 1/16th inch spacing I think). Hope this helps!

    wow! looks really nice. great job!!

    That's some great work man, keep it up. -Duck