Introduction: How to Make a Deerstalker Hat Out of Denim and a Shopping Bag.

About: Hello. How's your life? I like to make things. Sometimes I sew clothes I never wear. Sometimes I make wacky, flamboyant cardboard creations that ultimately are dismantled by a cat. If that's your thing, follow…

Who hasn't longed for a deerstalker hat at some point in their lives? Come on. Admit it. You have always wanted to stride proudly out of your house looking as though you are about to go and solve the mysterious, fatal conundrum of some flustered old woman in Victorian London. Despite this being entered into the "Silly Hat Challenge", it is minutely possible to wear a deerstalker hat unironically, although you may have some difficulty in this area. It can be used for both this and cosplaying. Regardless, deerstalker hats are cool. Sherlock Holmes is cool. I just got a new sewing machine (A John Lewis JL110 in Aqua, if you were wondering). Hence this project.

Why I made a deerstalker hat from denim and a shopping bag is irrelevant. You can make a deerstalker hat out of anything you want in this day and age. I don't have any tartan or tartalan. Leave me alone.

I am not a professional milliner, and this is rather obvious when you see the final result. If you want to make a more wearable and finished hat, I refer you to Bernadette Banner, who made an amazing video about how to construct one, which I referenced for this. My hat would probably only be good for a Halloween costume or something. Perhaps, for Halloween this year, I could make a whole Sherlock Holmes outfit from denim. Because that would go well.



-Exterior- Really, whatever. Just scraps will be fine. Medium-weight tartan apparently works best.

-Lining- Again, whatever material works fine but something lightweight would be best.

-Construction- Any very stiff material you have. I used a shopping bag. Give me one reason why not.

Other Stuff

- A sewing machine, if you are machine sewing this. If not, a needle. I used a combination of both.

- Appropriately-coloured cotton thread

- A penny or other small, disc-shaped object.

- Scraps of appropriately-coloured ribbon

- A ruler



-Tape measure

Step 1: The Construction

The main construction of the hat will be made from your stiff material (a shopping bag in my case). It will be made from five trapezium-shaped panels that will be sewn together and will form the base construction of the hat.

Start by measuring the circumference of your head, making sure that the tape measure is perpendicular to the floor and you are measuring over the hairstyle you plan to wear with the hat. Write down your measurement. Divide it by five. Draw a line that is this long on a piece of paper and add on two centimetres for seam allowance. Find the middle of the line and draw a perpendicular line 6 inches up to make the crown of the hat (lengthen or shorten this as you wish depending on the size of your head). Draw two lines from either end of the bottom line leading up to the top, starting to taper and curve in the middle, as shown, making sure that, unlike mine, it is symmetrical. In fact, I folded my paper down the middle line and cut out the line of one side only to make it exactly symmetrical because my brain does not do geometry. This will form a triangle shape.

Congratulations, you've got a triangle. Pin it to your chosen construction fabric, (probably not a shopping bag if you have any sense), and cut it out. Repeat this four more times until you have five triangle shapes cut from your construction fabric.

Keep the triangle template because we will use it in the next step.

Step 2: The Actual Hat Bit (also Cutting the Lining While We're at It)

Using the template, cut out five triangles from your chosen outside fabric (in this case, denim). While you're at it, cut five triangles from your lining fabric also, and put them aside because we will not need them for a short while.

Sew one triangle of construction fabric to one material of outside fabric, making sure the right side of the outside fabric is facing you. The orientation of the constriction fabric does not matter because it will not be visible once you put the lining in. Make sure the lines of sewing are very close to the edge so they will not be visible when the hat is finished. Don't be an idiot like me and think that you can do this without pinning them to each other first. It will not work.

Once you have five shopping-bag lined bits of denim, in my case, sew them together into a dome shape by lining up the right sides together and repeating this until you have a dome where the construction fabric is facing you, then turn it inside out. Sew a seam around the bottom so that the hat is neat and you cannot see any of the construction fabric.

Make the lining by sewing a dome using the same method out of your lining fabric shapes you set aside earlier. However, do not put it into the other dome yet as we need to do some other things before that. Speaking of which,

Step 3: The Peaky Capped Parts on the Front and Back ( I Don't Know the Technical Term)

You know how those deerstalker hats have peaky cap bits on the front and back? Well, now we are going to make those. Start by putting your hat dome on a piece of paper and drawing around half of it. Find the middle of the arc you have drawn on the piece of paper and mark there. Draw another, larger arc leading from each point of the smaller arc you have just drawn, as shown, making sure that it is symmetrical. Cut it out.

Repeat but this time, make the second arc a little smaller as this will be the peak on the back.

Now, cut out two peak shapes of each size on your outside fabric, so you have a total of four. Cut two more peak shapes (one of each) out of your construction fabric. This is because you are going to sandwich the construction fabric in the exterior fabric, so that the peaks do not just flop disappointingly. Speaking of sandwiching the shopping bag peaky arc shape in the denim peaky arc shape, do that. Sew all three layers together around the edge so you have two nice, stiff denim peaks. Cut off any excess and progress to the next step.

Step 4: The Ear Flaps

Now to make the ear flaps. These can be tied at the top of the hat or under your chin.

Cut out a semicircle on you paper. Literally, just cut out a symmetrical semicircle you think will look large enough to be tied at the top of the hat and/or over your ears. Cut out four of these semicircles from your exterior fabric. It really is that simple. I'm so terrible at millinery. Why are you still here? Why haven't you gone to someone who will sew a decent hat and will explain to you clearly how to do it properly and like a sane person?

Anyway, with the wrong sides facing out, sew the semicircles together, leaving a gap at the top. Turn inside-out so you have a little pocket.

Cut two fairly long strips of your ribbon. I used the hem of the jeans from which I harvested my denim, but you're probably not an idiot and will do it with proper ribbon. Sew these to the bottom curve of your little pocket, adding a button so it looks neat. Yes, I realise my buttons are mismatched. I figured that my hat looked bad already so I may as well make it look like my terrible sewing was deliberate.

You should now have two stiff peaky parts, a dome made of your exterior fabric and two ear flaps with ties attached. Now to put the whole thing together and add the lining.


Sew the large peaky cap bit onto what you want to be the front by sewing the edge into the inside, top facing up (make sure you use a matching thread to the exterior fabric as you will be able to see it). Do the same to the small peaky cap bit but put it on the back. Sew the two side ear flaps onto the sides with the buttons facing out, by sewing the top to the inside of the dome, making sure that it is neat.

Finally, add the lining by sewing your separate lining dome to the inside to hide the unholy mess that is the inside of the hat dome. I would recommend hand-stitching this unless you really want to break a needle on your sewing machine. Congratulations! You have a deerstalker hat. To top it off (literally haha), take your small, disc-shaped object (I used a two-pence piece) and cut a circle from your exterior fabric that is about two centimetres larger than it. Hand-stitch around the outside, put the penny in the middle and gather the stitches, going back and forth a few times with your needle to seal it in. Sew this to the top of the hat.

You're done! I hope that if you are still here you enjoyed making this project, or just watching me fail. The finished product did not end up fitting me at all, but it did fit my cat. I'd have loved to get a photo of him wearing it, but I just got some blurry photos of him shaking it off before slinking away indignantly. I would say definitely add on a few centimetres on the circumference of your head to make room for seam allowance and whatever else might take place. This is entered into the "Silly Hat Contest" and I would be eternally grateful to you if you were to vote for it. Until the next atrocious project, have a good day.

Silly Hats Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Silly Hats Speed Challenge