Hi, I’m Christine from House of Keevers. You may know as the creator of the Australian Sewing Advice and Inspiration group on Facebook. I was recently inspired to post a Two Hat Method tutorial on the ASAaI blog as it is frequently brought up when our members are discussing bucket hats and how best to make them. I was taught this method of finishing as long time ago, longer than I care to admit, but since then I haven’t looked back. I’ve gone on to make countless bucket hats from the Flosstyle Ultimate Bucket Hat pattern in all different sizes. I hope this tutorial inspires you to do the same.
The Ultimate Bucket Hat pattern from Flosstyle Patterns is easily one of the best hat patterns around. It has a great fit and is so versatile, having sizes from newborn up to large adult. There are a variety of options, including standard brim, jumbo brim, bonnet and scrubs hat, that all sew up beautifully. For the purpose of this tutorial, I will be focusing on the basic bucket hat style with the standard width brim and I will be constructing it using the ‘Two Hat Method’. This is an alternative to the construction method found in the pattern. This method isn’t better than those from the pattern, both have their merits, this is simply an alternative option that I prefer.
Alright, let’s put on our togs and dive right in!!
Once you’ve printed out your pattern, stuck the pieces together and selected your fabric, its time to get started. You will need to cut out two brim pieces, two wall pieces and one lid piece from both exterior and lining fabric. I also cut out interfacing for all of the pieces, both exterior and interior, so four brim pieces, four wall pieces and two lids, followed by fusing it to the corresponding fabric pieces. The pattern recommends using interfacing on only the brim, however I have found that fusing it onto all of the pattern pieces helps the hat hold its shape and remain firm ,while still allowing flexibility and comfort when being worn.
Construction of the Two Hats
Place each of the pattern pieces right sides together, brim to brim, crown to crown, and sew down the short edges, creating a fabric loop. To save time, I feed my fabric in one after the other. I still back stitch at the start and finish of each piece, but it saves time on finishing off and trimming every time.
It makes for such a pretty lump of fabric when you’re done!
Once you’ve separated the pieces, press the seam allowance open, ready to be top stitched. It should also be noted, at when they are sewn together, they do not make a perfect circle, it is more of a wonky oval that’s smaller at the top than at the bottom.
Top stitch the raw edges down 4mm from either side of the seam. It probably isn’t necessary, but I think it gives the hat a nice, professional finish, along with helping to strengthen the seams.
When top stitching, I always lengthen my stitch to as long as it goes. It helps to keep your top stitching straight and neat.
It is at this point that we start deviating from the original pattern instructions. Rather than join the exterior and interior brims together, we are going to start assembling out exterior hat.
The first step is to divide your brim, wall and crown pieces into quarters. Using the seams as a guide, line them up and fold the brim piece in half. Iron the top folded edges, or use a wash away fabric marker, to mark the half way point between the two seams. Repeat with the top and bottom of the walls piece.
When dividing the crown piece, it is important to remember that it is not a circle, rather it is an oval. This means that you need to match the two longest points and the two shortest points to divide it up. With that in mind, fold up the crown piece length-wise and width-wise to make the quarter marks.
Now the real fun begins! To begin assembly of your bucket hat, match up the seams with the side creases of the crown, right sides together, and clip into place. Next, line up the front and back creases in the wall piece with those on the crown. Clip into place.
This next part is a little bit tricky. I always go slowly and always focus on only one section at a time. If you make a mistake, don’t get discouraged, just unclip and try again. Making sure the raw edges meet up, I ease the crown piece into the circle of the wall, sometimes stretching the wall to match, dividing each quarter section in half, clipping the crown to the wall, then I divide each 1/8th piece in half again, clipping it in place again. I know this may seem a bit excessive, but I have found that it is the best way to avoid puckers and creases when it comes time to sew. Pins may also be used, I am just so ridiculously uncoordinated with them that wonder clips are the easier (and safer) option for me.
The trick to sewing this is to go slowly and pull on the wall fabric a bit so the crown and wall stay flush. Adjust as you go when needed and, most importantly, remember to breathe.
To finish up sewing the lid to the walls, you just have to top stitch the seam allowance down to the wall of the hat. Be sure to keep a firm grip on the wall piece to avoid it puckering above the top stitching line.
I would like to note here that I don’t actually snip my curves for either the crown to wall join or the wall to brim join. I find that it doesn’t retract anything from the structure of the hat and it makes it easier to top stitch it down.
Once this is done, turn it right side out and marvel at how your creation is taking shape!!
Repeat the above dividing and clipping process to attach the brim, right sides together, to the bottom of the wall.
Once you’ve sewn the brim onto the walls, flip it out and top stitch the seam allowance to the wall to complete the exterior hat.
Repeat the above process with your interior/lining fabric.
Now is where the real fun begins. It looks a lot more daunting than it actually is and now that you’ve constructed the two hats, the hard part is over.
Assembling the Final Hat
Take Hat 1 and Hat 2 and match up the side seams, right sides together, then clip them in place.
Smooth the two brims together and clip around the edges, working around from one side seam to the other. You shouldn’t need as many clips as when you were joining the lid to the walls, or walls to the brim, as the two hats should fit together neatly.
Sew the two brims together at a 7mm (1/4″) seam allowance.
When sewing the brims together, be sure to leave a 5cm (2″) gap in the seam. This is used to turn the hat right side out.
The next step is to snip wedges out of the seam allowance. You may be tempted to omit this step, but doing so would mean that the edge of your brim wouldn’t sit nice and flush. You could get away with just snipping straight lines into the seam allowance, but for the best result, always go with wedges.
It is now time to birth our baby!
Push your fingers into the gap and grab hold of the opposite side of the hat. Pull it back towards the hole and start easing it through.
Keep working the fabric through the gap, being aware of the stitching and the fabric on either sides of the gap, ensuring that it doesn’t tear.
Once you’ve finished turning the hat, take a few minutes to have a breather and a drink of water. These kinds of births can be quite traumatic.Once you have regained your composure, marvel at your creation so far!
Working from the inside of the hat, push out the edge of the brim, ensuring that it is all sitting smooth and flat. Going slowly, iron the edge flat while pulling it taut to give it a sharp, crisp edge.
Fold the seam allowance of the gap into the hat and iron that flat as well so that it is flush with the rest of the brim. Clip closed.
Iron the entire brim to get rid of any unwanted creases or puckers in the fabric, ready for top stitching.
Increase your stitch length and top stitch the edge of the brim at about a 4mm (1/8″ish) seam allowance. Ensure that the turning gap is sewn closed when doing this. When top stitching the brim, it is a good idea to have coordinating colours in the bobbing and top thread, matching the exterior and interior fabrics.
The final step to completing your hat is to top stitch the brim. You can do this as close or far apart as you wish, keeping in mind that the more rows of stitching you have, the more structure the brim will have. Use your presser foot and machine markings as a guide to keep your stitching consistent as you going around and the keep the gaps because each line the same.
Once you’ve finished top stitching the brim, shake your hat out and marvel at your handiwork!
Congratulations!!! You have successfully completed a bucket hat using the two hat method!!
Thank you for taking the time to read this tutorial, and happy sewing.
– Christine PK