Wool Hat




About: I have been sewing and crafting for several years, my children are grown so now I have lots of time to be creative. I enjoy photography, cooking, cake decorating, painting and sharing my projects with others.

This women's hat is made from a wool skirt. It is quite time consuming to make but the end result is very nice. It cost me next to nothing because I found the skirt at my local thrift store for a dollar. Make sure you have enough thread, I chose to use a zig zag stitch and I ran out of thread before I got the crown finished. That's the thing about living in a small town, there is no where to buy thread, unless I want black or white. I was able to hand sew the rest of it and that works too. The most important thing to remember is, the strips need to be cut on the bias. This will give them the ability to be manuevered around curves. The most challenging part I found was starting the crown. You may find it easier to begin with a small circle of fabric, maybe 3", and turn under the raw edges about 1/4". Then just start pinning the bias strip under that. I think I may try that on the next hat. However you decide to start the crown section, just make sure all the raw edges are tucked under and hidden. I am pleased with the finished result and think it makes a nice winter hat. 

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Step 1: Supplies

I found a wool skirt at the thrift shop. You will need to have a styrofoam head to shape and pin the hat to. You can purchase one at a beauty supply store for under $5.00. sewing machine, scissors, pins, thread, tape measure, lightweight denim shirt or dress(you could also purchase heavy weight interfacing) to reinforce the brim of the hat. I chose a skirt that I thought would have enough fabric to work with. It was smal, size 4, but long. From far away, it looks like a solid but up close, you can see there is a pattern to it. I thought that would help conceal the zig-zag stitching on the crown.

Step 2: Deconstructing the Skirt

Cut the waistband and zipper off the skirt. Cut the skirt apart at the seams and cut out the lining. Set the lining aside for the lining of the hat. Cut bias strips 2" wide. The bias strips use up most of the skirt. It might be a good idea to cut one circle of the brim out first, and then if the crown section of the hat takes up the rest of the hat, you can find another contrasting fabric for the underside of the brim.

Step 3: Starting the Crown of the Hat

starting the crown will be a little frustrating, but you just have to mess with it and rearrange it until it does what you want. Turn under the edges and start turning the bias strip into a circle. Pin a small section, sew it down, pin some more, sew some more, etc... keep placing it on the styrofoam head, from time to time, making sure it is being formed into the correct shape. keep working around in a circular fashion until the back of the hat reaches the top of the neck. tuck the end of the strip underneath and tack in place.

Step 4: Brim of Hat

cut a 12" circle out of paper for the pattern. Using the pattern, cut out 2 circles of the fabric and 1 of either a lightweight denim or heavy interfacing. fold the interfacing in half and then in half again. using the measuring tape, measure 2" from the point, mark with a pencil. Cut on the line. unfold this circle. Use this as a pattern to cut out the other 2 circles of fabric. Make a cut in each circle on one side to the middle. Fold each circle in half and sew the seam, here is where you can make the brim flat or tapered. For a more tapered brim, make the seam allowance more narrowed towards the outside of the circle. Open the circles and press the seams open. Layer the circles in this order: fabric right side down, interfacing, and finally, fabric-right side up. I staggered the seams a bit so all the bulk wasn't all in one place. Pin together. using the sewing machine, stitch all around 1/4" from the edge. sew bias strip wrong side together all around the brim. Turn bias strip and hand stitch down.  

Step 5: Making the Bias Strips

sew the ends of the strips together. use 1/2" seam allowance and sew 4 o5 strips to start out with. Add more as needed. Fold in half length-wise and press.

Step 6: Finishing the Brim

Place the crown on top of the brim. Mark with pins where the crown sits. Take crown off and cut the inside circle larger, leaving 1-1/2" from the pins. clip around the inside circle, DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY TO THE PINS. you can always cut more if needed, but if you cut too much, there is no way to undo it. Try this on the styrofoam head and make sure it's a snug fit. Pin to the crown and hand sew.

Step 7: Lining

Using the lining from the skirt, cut a piece 24" x 8". sew the short ends together with 1/2" seam allowance. Cut a circle about 8" in diameter. Place the long section on the styrofoam head. Place the circle on the top of the head and pin the sides of the lining to the top circle. Trim the excess. Remove from head and sew around. Pin inside of the hat and hand stitch in place.

Step 8: Finishing the Hat

Decide if you want to add a hatband or a bow. Maybe some fabric roses tacked onto one side? I think it would also look nice if the Bias trim on the outside of the brim matched the hatband. The possibilities are endless!

Step 9: Hatband and Bow

Cut a piece of fabric for the hatband. Fold the long edges down to hide the raw edges. Wrap around the Hat and tack into place. Make a bow out of fabric and sew that onto the back of the hat over the hatband.

Step 10: Velvet Cloche

The Cloche is a hat that was very popular in the late 1920's. The word "Cloche" is French for Bell. I am a big fan of the movie "Thoroughly Modern Millie" with Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore. This type of hat was worn in that movie and also "The Changeling" with Anjelina Jolie. Sometimes the hats were embellished with ribbons and/or flowers, sometimes they were left plain. Usually they were made of felt.
I found a long purple velvet dress at the thrift store, I think there was enough fabric in that dress to make 2 hats!  Instead of adding a brim, I just continued shaping the strips around and enlarging it a little bit at a time, until it was the size I wanted.  To make the lining for this hat, do the same thing with the lining fabric, cut into strips, sew in a spiral fashion and hand stitch inside the hat. This will give it a little more stability and warmth. 

Step 11: Grey Wool Hat From Suit Coat

This is another version.

Step 12: Tan Wool Hat

I made a flower for this hat out of the leftover pieces. The brim on this hat is a bit smaller than the green hat. 

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    10 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I love making hats, and would like to try this new technique, well explained !

    The problem is with the head : the styrofoam ones are small, very small...And I have a large head."one size fit all" never fit me... I have tried to sculpt heads but the result is miserable.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    I understand about some hats being too small sometimes, what you can try is to measure your head and then take some fabric strips (or an ace bandage) and wrap them evenly around the Styrofoam head until it is the size you need it to be. Hopefully that helps.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Lovely! I've made hats using this same technique of spiraling the bias strips. You might consider using milliner's (or other lightweight) wire for the edge of the brim to help it keep its shape! And a piece of grosgrain sewn inside the hat around the opening will help keep the fit.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great technique using bias strips. Never would have thought of it! Thanks for the great instructable!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is great, I've been wanting to make a hat for ages!