How to Sew a Hat

How to sew a hat - detailed tutorial and free template for all head sizes - shows you how to draft/sew any kind of hat.

Hey y’all – we’re wrapping up menswear sewing month with this tutorial on hats. I’m going to show you how I made this particular hat, but also share a template that will help you draft any kind of hat you want and then sew a hat.

Let’s start by talking about the parts of a hat, as shown below. There are really only 3 main parts – the crown, the side band, and the brim.

Parts of a Hat -

And here I have a crown template. When you download it, it looks like this:

Hat crown template - how to sew a hat -

It has crown sizes 24 1/2″ all the way down to 19 1/2″. Which means that you could use it for babies up to grown men. But first let’s talk about how to use it.

Depending on the hat style, you may want the crown about the same size as the head circumference (like the flat brim hat I made here), slightly smaller than the head circumference (like this rain bucket hat was) or larger than the head circumference (like how you gather in the crown of a chef’s hat).

In general, you’ll want to measure the person’s head and add 1/2″ (this is for the thickness the brim seams will add), then choose the size of the crown based on that. For example, my husband’s head measured 22 1/4″, so adding 1/2″ that gave me 22 3/4″, so I went with the 23″ template. BUT that doesn’t mean that the crown was 23″ – because of seam allowances. So when measured in 1/2″ (the seam allowance I used) the crown gets smaller.  Like the image below.

Hat crown - How to sew a hat -

Another way to determine this is to measure in 1/2″ (or whatever seam allowance you’re using) on the template and then look at which circumference that it. In this case, measuring in got me to the 21″ circumference.

Use a hat template - How to sew a hat -

Once you have your crown template cut, you can easily draft the rest of the hat. Let’s start with the side band. First, determine the side band height you want. In this case I used a height of 4 inches – which would put the hat above my husband’s ears. Draw a rectangle that is the height you want by the head circumference plus 1/2″ measurement. Cut this rectangle into 8 pieces, then overlap the top edges enough to equal the seam measurement from the crown of the hat.

For example, I started with a 4″ x 23″ rectangle. Then I overlapped each piece 1/4″ so that the top of my side band was 21″ and the bottom was still 23″. Add seam allowances all around the side band, and you’ve got your side band piece.

Draft the side band - How to sew a hat -

To draft the brim, first you need to decide if you want a flat brim or a shaped brim. In this case I went with flat, and drafting that is as easy as determining the brim width (in this case I started with 5 1/2″ because the hubs said he wanted a really wide brim, but after showing it to him, ended up doing 4 inches as the brim, including the seam allowances. Don’t forget to add a seam allowance to the inside of the brim when you cut that circle out.

Draft the brim - How to sew a hat -

If you wanted a shaped brim, you would take a pie shaped wedge out of the brim and then close the gap – this would create a brim that would either flip up or flip down, depending on how you sew it in. The bigger the pie slice, the more the brim would angle.

Drafting a hat brim - how to sew a hat -

Once your brim is drafted, here’s your cut list:

  • Two brims of main fabric and at least 2 of interfacing
  • 1 side band of each fabric – main, lining and interfacing
  • 1 crown of each fabric – main, lining and interfacing

Heavy duty sew in interfacing is a must with hats to give them body. For this brim I used 4 pieces, sandwiched on top and bottom of the two brim pieces. Sew around the outside edge.

Sew the brim - How to sew a hat -

Trim the seam down to 1/4″ or less, then turn the brim right side out.

Trim seams - How to sew a hat -

Press the brim. A point turner (affiliate link) is helpful for this.

Press brim - How to sew a hat -

To reinforce the brim even more, I sewed a bunch of lines about 1/2″ apart (except for the two closest to the outside edge  those are 1/4″ apart)

Topstitching on brim - How to sew a hat -

Next, sew the side band together at the side seam. I sew the interfacing with the main fabric, and the lining separately.

Sew side band - How to sew a hat -

Pin the side band to the crown. As you can see, the crown is flat at the seam line, but not at the edges. Stitch. Repeat with main fabric crown/side band.

Attach crown to side band - How to sew a hat -

Notch the brim in the seam allowance all around the inside edge.

Clip curves on brim - How to sew a hat -

Pin the brim to the crown/side band assembly. Stitch.

Attach crown & side band to brim - How to sew a hat -

Add the lining into the hat, wrong sides together.

Insert lining - How to sew a hat -

To finish the inside, add ribbon. 1 1/2″ or wider grosgrain or satin ribbon cut to the head circumference plus 1/2″ and seam allowance works best. Sew the ribbon into a loop and then pin it over the raw edge of the hat and lining, so that the ribbon is against the brim. Stitch, then flip the ribbon to the inside of the hat.

Finish fat with ribbon - How to sew a hat -

Topstitch around the bottom edge of the side band to hold the ribbon in place and you’re done.


Topstitch - How to sew a hat -

And there we have it – a hat perfect for mowing the lawn and other outdoor work.

Men's hat - How to sew a hat -

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  1. Patricia says

    Thanks so much! I need to make hats for my husband who was just diagnosed with melanoma. Now I can custom
    fit and style what he wants.

  2. Kathleen says

    Cool idea! Love your site and creativity. Now if I can only get him to mow the lawn and do yard work…..

  3. talliana says

    I was looking to buy some new hats for the kids but now I am going to make them hats and swimsuits. This beats spending $30 for a new hat.

  4. Gina B. says

    Thank you for showing that a hat’s crown is oval, not round, and the sides sloping somewhat, not straight. That is a much more professional approach, and not more difficult than the unflattering “bucket” seen everywhere!

    Add a band, a string and some vents, and you’ve got something close to a Tilley hat — at a fraction of the price – and suitable for us girls, too.

    • Liza says

      I have a Tilley hat, which is a great hat! I thought I lost it, looked at other hats, which weren’t as good. Knew I wouldn’t be satisfied. With this tutorial I could make something I would be happy with if I had to.

  5. Gina B. says

    Not sure what you mean by “4 pieces [of interface], sandwiched on top of bottom”. Can you explain?

    Thanks in advance.


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