Saturday, May 28, 2011

Easy Cadet Hat Tutorial Boy Girl or Adult Lots of Pics!

Here is the pattern I came up with to make hats for my little kids at school (toddler age). It fit all the kids (though a little looser on some) and even fits my 5 year old - but I think he has a small head like me! :) They turned out so great I wanted to make one for myself. It was so simple, I made 6 in one night.

1. Use a heavier weight fabric like denim, corduroy, duck, decorator (apholstery), or twill. The blue owl hat is twill and the grey butterfly one is corduroy.

Here is what you need:

-enough fabric to make a band 4" x (head circumference) and a circle up to 10" in diameter. I always buy a yard of fabric, but I think 1/3 would be plenty. You could even use up scraps and make it kind of a patchwork hat.

-cutting mat and rotary cutter (optional but very helpful, you can cut out with scissors if you don't have these.)

-a compass or if you don't have one (like me!) then use a round object that is close to diameter you need - I used a plate.

-straight edge ruler for cutting and measuring the band part. -notebook for calculations and to write down sizes (sorry, I am making you do math!) you might also want a calculator.

-fabric marking pen (but I just used a plain one because it doesn't show anyway).

-paper or cardstock if you want to make a paper pattern for your hat.-soft measuring tape .-matching thread (and a sewing machine of course!).

-optional: embellishments such as buttons, ribbons, appliques, etc. fray check if you want to keep the inside seams from unravelling. 1/4" or 3/8" elastic if desired.

3. Measure the victim's - I mean recipient's - head circumference but wrapping the soft tape around the head at the forehead then angle down a bit around back and over the ears. Sorry, I didn't get a pic of this. If you don't have the person around to measure, just look up some "average" head sizes and go from there - it doesn't have to be perfect.

For the kid's hat, the circumference was about 20 inches or so - I went with 21 to add a bit for seam allowance. This was a little big on the 1 year olds, but fit my 5 year old great. Mine was around 21.5 if that gives you an idea. Just remember, I have a small head!

4. Calculate the diameter of the circle for the top of the hat. Remember "pi"? Well, this is what it's for! You take your circumference and divide by pi (3.14) and that gives you the diameter of a circle with that circumference. Again, this doesn't have to be exact. I fudged a little and went with:

Kids Small 21 inch cir divided by 3 = 7" diameter. The plate I used was actually around 6.5", so I just cut down the band a tiny bit to fit the circle when sewing.

Kids Large/Adult Small 24 inch circ divided by 3 = 8" diameter. I found this to actually be a little bit big, (remember my circ was actually closer to 22") but my plate was 8" and I didn't want to figure out how to draw a circle. You'll see how I made up for it at the end!

5. OPTIONAL - Make a pattern for your hat. Using your straight edge ruler draw out a strip that is 4" wide and the length of your circumference for the band. Using your template (aka my plate) trace your circle for the top of the hat piece. For the brim trace 1/2 of the circle, move the plate up so you have a 1/2 moon shape and trace again - make sure it is the width you'd like for the brim. That's it! Only three pieces to this pattern. (I told you it was easy.)

I didn't use a pattern, I just traced and cut directly on the fabric (cuz I'm lazy and LOVE to cut corners, he he).

6. Cut out your pieces - I love my rotary cutter for this step. For the brim, fold your fabric over so you can cut both pieces at the same time. You only need to cut one of the top and band. I like to fold it and cut so I get enough pieces for two hats at once - just remember you have to do 2 brims then.7. Stitch the ends of your band together with right sides of fabric together. ALL stitches here on out are regular straight stitches unless otherwise noted.8. Sew your brim pieces together - right sides of fabric together OUTER CURVE only. Then turn it right side out.9. Now this part is a little tricky. I hardly ever pin (remember when I said I'm lazy?) but it is very helpful on this step. We are going to pin the top of the hat (the circle) to the band, right sides together. It takes a little patience to pin a straight edge to a curve, but you can do it! Then stitch the pieces together and turn right side out. It's already looking like a hat! :)
10. Now we are going to add the brim. If there is a side you like better, pin it on with that side FACING the right side of the hat. I like to fold the hat and the brim in half and pin to match up the middles. Then pin the entire brim piece to the front of the hat piece and stitch together. Fold the brim down and voila!
11. Now, to hem the bottom start at the edge of the brim. You will fold the bottom of the hat under about 1/4" - on the brim part, fold the band part down slightly onto the brim and stitch down.

It's kind of hard to tell, but the first pic shows folding the band down slightly on the brim (sort of covered by my fingers) and the next pic is the underside where it is folded under.

Continue stitching making sure that the corner of the brim is stitched nicely under the band part. Keep stitching all around the hat, folding under 1/4" as you go. You could pin the entire thing if you prefer, I just eye-balled it.

*Note* If you don't want a raw edge on the bottom, you can hem once THEN add the brim, then continue to hem a 2nd time as directed here.

12. Lastly top stitch the front edge of the brim for a crisp look. And you're done! :)13. Unless you want to do more... You can add buttons, appliques, bows, faux flowers, etc.

14. Now, I didn't like how loose mine fit, so I added some elastic to the back half. I just stitched with a zig zag slightly narrower than the elastic, pulling the elastic tight as I sewed. (top pic is before, bottom is after, then the back view).

That wasn't so bad, was it? I knew you could do it! Enjoy putting your new hat on yourself or your little one!


  1. thanks! I pinned this, looks easy enough (one day when I feel like math I'll give it a try)

  2. Looking forward to trying this pattern.....I think it would be fairly easy to embroider onto it as well!! Thanks so much for the step-by-step!!

  3. I love this! I can't wait to make some. Any pointers for making baby caps or just use your math…thanks for the details btw…Preggo brain is not good with math lol!!