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While scrolling through Pinterest, I became intrigued by pictures of vintage patterns. Many of these patterns had been originally published in old periodicals but were recently scanned and posted online! I decided to try some of these patterns to see if I could follow them and possibly created authentic period hats! I primarily focused on free patterns, although updated patterns are available on Etsy and are much less challenging!
The first pattern I tried came from https://vintagepatternsdazespast.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/vintage-hat-patterns-over-the-top-toppers-fascinators-head-pieces/ . I’m guessing that the pattern dates from the late 1930’s to early 1940’s. Although there were sadly no directions, the pattern looked simple enough. I began by printing out the image.
The next step was to enlarge the pattern to standard size. I was guided by the little squares covering the pattern pieces in the picture. I guessed that the squares in the full-sized pattern should be equal to a square inch. I cut out the pattern pieces and used my copy machine to enlarge the image until the squares reached one inch. (In some cases, you may have to copy the pattern pieces in sections and put them together like a puzzle.) Here is the pattern piece for the crown of the hat.
The picture of the finished hat showed a crown with a pronounced sloping peak. I taped my pattern piece together according to the pictures to estimate the shape of the finished crown. Thanks to my tape and paper mock-up, I decided against the original slope of the crown. To help lower and round out that peak, I folded the crown pattern into roughly the shape it would be when sewn. I then traced a more rounded shape in pencil before cutting it out.
Here is the modified crown pattern when unfolded.
I taped the modified pattern together (again!) to see what half of the finished crown would look like. I liked this shape much better! (The hat size could be measured at this point if full sized paper pieces were taped together and “tried on” like a hat.)
Here is the pattern all ready for the fabric!
I correctly guessed that the pattern pieces should have their centers aligned on folded fabric. Keeping this in mind, I cut out 2 of each pattern piece on red felt.
Time for sewing! I first pinned and sewed the brim pieces into circles.
Next, I pinned the brims right sides together and stitched around the outed edges.
After turning the brim right side out, I gently ironed the seam flatter. Voila!
I then pinned the inner edge and basted it closed for reinforcement, although this is optional.
Now on to the crowns! I pinned each crown together as shown in the pattern picture and then sewed.
I snipped the seam allowances slightly, as shown in the pattern picture, to allow the fabric to curve. I did this on both the crowns and the brim.
Hurrah! Now I just needed to assemble the pieces.
I inserted one of the crowns into the circle of the brim. With right sides together, I aligned the raw edge of the crown with the inner edge of the brim. I pinned then stitched them together.
The second crown piece became the lining of the hat. I inserted it into the existing crown with wrong sides together. The seam joining the crown/brim got tucked under the lining. The raw edge of the lining was also tucked underneath. Once pinned, I hand stitched the lining in place.
Here is the finished hat! I like the modified slope of the crown, which to me looks more 1940’s. In future, I would like to try using wool felt to create a more finished look. An iron-on interfacing, such as Pellon, could help create additional rigidity.
I wore my hat with a thrifted dress that was probably from the 1990’s. The perfectly matching belt was a providential thrift store find. Vintage jewelry, vintage bag, and old Clark’s shoes completed the look.
You may recognize an early hat prototype from this post!
We love vintage-style hats!