Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hatmakers school: How to resize a hat pattern

Sew Chic Pattern #101 Cloche Hat
I love hats. One day I hope to get into this craft a little bit deeper, but for now, I must be satisfied with my one cloche hat pattern, developed as the third in my learn to sew teaching pattern series. Why a hat? Because no fitting is involved. Well, no fitting if you are an average 21" head, that is. So when one size does not fit all, the question is how to alter a hat pattern to fit?

When it comes to hat fit, a little bit of ease is okay, giving your head some room to breathe, but no more than 1/2" or the fit will be sloppy. Also keep in mind that the fabric you use- thin vs thick- will make a difference in the overall fit too.

For this hat, altering at the center back seam, adding or subtracting from the circumference at the bottom and tapering to nothing at the top works great. Make sure you split the difference (need to add 1" becomes 1/2" increase) and add to both ends of a cut one pattern. The brim and lining must also be altered to match. The brim is shown, but the lining pattern would be altered in the same way. Do not change the crown lining piece.

Use this same method for any hat that is shaped like a bowl. Because this hat ends at the top of the head, we don't want to alter there, only at the bottom of the cap where the circumference affects the fit. If you were working with a different hat style, say a pill box type, this alteration method would not be the best choice.


If the person you are fitting has an overall larger or smaller head, a quicker way to alter the pattern to fit is with a photocopier. This is technically against copyright law, but you have permission (with my hat pattern) to do this as long as it's for personal use only. Divide your pattern up into smaller than paper size chunks, adding cross marks at what will be your page intersections to help you match it up and tape it back together correctly. Be sure to label each section too.

 Enlarging by 2% will provide a 23" circumference, and enlarging 5% will give you 23 1/2" and increase the overall span (over the head from ear to ear) by 1/2". A reduction by the same percentage will produce similar smaller results.

Happy Hat Making!

1 comment:

Susannah said...

As one with a larger than 21 inch head, thank you! Hats are fun to make and necessary for me since off the rack hats are too small for me.