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Jun 24, 2012

The Bucket Hat



Readers, do you like bucket hats?  For summer, they're my preferred headwear, though I'm very picky about them and rarely find ones I like.  I've yet to make one myself.

I've owned the red one up top for -- I kid you not -- twenty years.  I picked it up at a thrift store on Martha's Vineyard on a day visit in 1992.   Here I am wearing it the day I bought it; it was redder then.  It's made of sailcloth canvas and is incredibly durable. 



Here's my second-favorite bucket hat, which I picked up at a local thrift store at least a dozen years ago.  It's made from imported cotton madras and actually has a union label.





What's unusual about the madras hat is that except for the brim, it's made from a single layer of fabric (as opposed to two, which is more common) and the seam allowances are finished with rayon bias tape.



I want to make a few bucket hats to wear this summer, just like the ones I own.  But I don't want to go to the trouble and expense of buying a pattern.  There are a few out there, but not a lot.







Lilly Daché, anyone?  (That yellow number looks less like a bucket and more like a wastepaper basket.)



There are also some free downloadable bucket hat patterns for kids available which I can modify.



One of the distinguishing features of a good bucket hat (for me) is an oval top.  My head is oval, and a perfectly round hat looks juvenile.  Notice how the flower-print hat on the right, which my old friend Brian gave me (he made it from Simplicity 5581) has a round top.  On me, it looks silly and not only because it's made from two vintage Seventies sheets.  The sides are also too wide, imo.





I prefer a soft hat with a firm brim, and many are either too firm all around, or have very floppy brims.  Or are too heavy.  Or all polyester.  (Like I said, I'm picky.)

Readers, have you ever made a bucket hat for yourself or perhaps for a child?  Was it hard?  It seems like it would be pretty straightforward.  Of course, many RTW hats have metal grommets, but you can find kits to make those pretty easily.

Any advice and/or recommendations?

Do you wear bucket hats yourself and/or like them on others?  (Be honest.)

Happy Sunday, everybody!

43 comments:

  1. I have made some for the boys. Not hard. Make sure that the "sweat band" is not too sloppy or it will stick out and look stupid.

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  2. boocat: I use various straw hats during the summer, as I find them cooler than cloth. But I have a couple of cotton velveteen bucket hats I use in the winter when it's raining.
    I never paid any attention to whether the top was round or oval, though. (Now I'll have to go check them!) Usually I wear wool berets when it's cold.
    The bucket hats always make me think of fishing.

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  3. You definitely need an update :-). Although the madras single-layer one is worth copying, simply for its heat-fighting properties. I recommend Japanese books - like http://www.ebay.com/itm/STYLISH-CLOCHE-Japanese-Hat-Making-Craft-Book-/360371149756?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item53e7cb5bbc or http://www.ebay.com/itm/HAND-MADE-HATS-Japanese-Craft-Book-/170165201421?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item279ea2ea0d (OK, there are no men's woven hats books, but still, maybe Cathy could get a couple hats out of them too..).

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  4. Lemme go dig through my pattern stash. I know I have a pattern, but as I use other parts of it fairly often, I might need to trace you a copy...

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  5. Try wild ginger - not sure they have it now but they used to have a free taster piece of s/w which included some nifty hat patterns. Put in your measurements and print patterns.

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  6. As you're adding a bucket hat to your bucket list, bear in mind that a terry sweatband is a great touch that can really add comfort, particularly for those of us with, um, challenged follicles...

    That 1992 photo of you makes me despair - you have not changed an iota in all that time! Confess - you have a portrait in your attic that's taking a beating! ;)

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    Replies
    1. The big difference is that in 1992 there was HAIR under that hat! LOL

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  7. I always wear hats outside. I had to go for a skin cancer check once and that taught me that I don't want skin cancer - the check up was bad enough (naked on a table with two nurses and a doctor looking at all my skin through magnifying glasses!). But I digress, I've knit several hats for winter and this winter I sewed a beret but I haven't made a bucket hat. Can you trace a pattern from the red one you love?

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  8. I sewed one once for my DH. He has a slender face and oval head like you do.

    It was slightly too large...really screwed it up when I tried to downsize it. I used a Kwik Sew Pattern which had an oval top. I gave up on it.

    This is the pattern I used.

    http://www.sewthankful.com/KWIKSew3699.html

    It will help that you have a hat to copy, I think so there will be no guessing about the size.

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  9. Love bucket hats - it's in my DNA. We call them giggle hats - Australian military hat. When he got a new one he would wet it, put it outside on a basketball in the sun until it had aged sufficiently to be deemed wearable.

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  10. Easy! Why not cut a pattern from your extant hats, and make a toile? They really are very simple to make. :) Being from NZ, where bucket hats are issued to kids in the playground and our cricket team wear them, well, they're not cool as in groovy but I suspect yours will be - leftover toile du jouy perhaps?

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  11. Very Hunter S. Thompson... what's not to like?

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  12. You mean a "peepaw" or "tilley" hat. I always associate these hats with retirement-aged (or 'close-to") males who wear those fake Yuppie style "yachting" clothes. Also didn't "Gilligan" of "Gilligan's Isle" wear this hat? On the back of his head? Neither image exactly resounds with "cool". Why not find a nice chic Panama-style straw hat?

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  13. I've made a few of them and they're not hard at all, though sometimes getting the sizing just right can be! I used Betz White's pdf pattern http://www.etsy.com/listing/60974354/reversible-bucket-hat-pdf-pattern which has the bonus of including instructions for repurposing old cargo pants, shirts etc. if you really want to make them on the cheap! I think the crown is round though, and perhaps the sides are high like the hat you don't like so much. The bonus is instant gratification with a downloadable pdf :)

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  14. I just checked my Betz White pattern and the crown isn't exactly a circle, it's slightly oval but not overly (haha)

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  15. Does anyone still wear a hat?

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    Replies
    1. In the Australian summer Yes!

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    2. Absolutely, every day. Its automatic. I don't leave the house without one.

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  16. I've made a couple large sun hats. I used cotton duck to underline the brim, making it more stiff. The rings of top stitching also help to stiffen the brim as well. Make sure to pin well as you can get lots of puckers when sewing ring after ring of top stitching.

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  17. I had a hat making phase when my daughter was a teenager and wanted a velvet hat, then all her friends wanted one. There seemed to be more hat patterns about then. Hat making is not hard but you have to get one thing right and that is the head circumference measurement for where the brim of the hat will sit, then about 1-2 cm of ease. That's it!
    Love the yellow 'bin' hat. All it needs is the Eiffel Tower on top!

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  18. Kismet. I just made a hat yesterday, myself, but it was a beret. I have made several bucket hats for a friend who works outdoors in summer. He likes them because he can throw them in the wash with his clothes each day. I used a lightweight canvas and attached a rope tie under the chin. They are very easy to make but require a bit of patience to manouevre under the presser foot for nice even topstitching. I inserted some round brass holes like in your red hat, but they took a while to get right. I love making hats because it's a fun way to use up bits of fabric that are too small for garments and too big to throw away, but they always make a big impression for a small amount of work. Plus, as I almost always make hats out of leftovers, they feel like a free garment. If you would like a copy of any of my patterns I am happy to trace them for you, just let me know.

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  19. I have the Simplicity pattern - made the shirt and the shorts from it for my husband and I have been thinking about the hat, but more likely for my boys.

    I did just pick up a really cute bucket hat pattern at the sewing expo in Raleigh this weekend.

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  20. I'm having slight problems locating it, but as soon as I find it, if it's as I recall, I'll be happy to loan the pattern to you, Peter.... as long as I get it back!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Laura -- I think I'm going to try tracing the hats I have and see how that works out.

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  21. www.wildginger.com has a free download called Wild Things that has a bucket hat. You just put in your measurements and it will print a custom hat.

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  22. I made a sun hat that matched a bathing suit and coverup when I was a teenager. The bathing suit was a two piece and when I jumped in the water, the elastic stretched out. The hat though, was great. (and easy to put together.)

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  23. I've made many bucket hats, all from my own pattern. Yes, I'm real picky for all the same reasons you mentioned.

    Most of my hats are made from scraps, so many of them end up looking like odd patch-work quilted hats - I not only like the look, but I like the idea of using up nearly every scrap of fabric lying around. Some have clean pieced seams, others are just layered with rough frayed edges. I choose my hat for an outing based on my mood. Adds to the fun and adventure of life!

    I've got a big selection of my hats (all clean and washed) so guests can borrow one if needed. And if they like it, they can have it as a souvenir of our time together.

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  24. I've made the Simplicity 5581 hats a few times- for my daughters and once for myself. The sides are comically too tall... Think Abe Lincoln style. But once I figured that out and cut them down, it's a great simple pattern. It's an oval top, and if you do rows of stitching around the brim roughly 1/4" apart it adds a nice amount of firmness.

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  25. Have made many, many -- most as theatrical costume pieces, but some for regular wear. I prefer to line mine. Can make them reversible that way, too. Dense channel stitching stiffens the brim sufficiently for me, without extra interfacing in the brim. My favorite patterns are a 1994 McCall's Fashion Accessories by Emeaba (afro-centric, but I LOVE view D); and 1992 Simplicity 8268 (mother-daughter hats: I use view 4 the most -- take a big wedge out of brim to bring the brim closer to the head, and you can style it to look like the 1940s).

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  26. I have made a bajillion (ok, about 6) of the Oliver and S kids pattern which you can find for free at this link.
    http://www.melaniefalickbooks.com/storage/STCCraft_OliverS_BucketHatPattern_.pdf
    You can adjust how stiff you make the brim by the weight of your interfacing and how closely you space your rows of stitching.
    As Mrs C above has mentioned, in New Zealand bucket hats are issued at birth - not kidding!

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  27. I'm just about finished my one. I took apart my oldest hat (which is falling apart) and copied it. This worked a treat; I get to have my favourite hat back, better than new. Perhaps this is not an option for your red one, because it is not falling apart yet, but it's one to consider.

    My problem is getting hats that fit because I have quite a big head and most places sell a medium-sized bucket hat. Next stop is a water-proof one.

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  28. I've just accumulated an assortment of summer hat patterns over the years. I make a few each summer to wear and give as hostess gifts at the beach. I'll often use heavier drapery, light upholstery, or heavy "home dec" fabric which provides the perfect weight.

    They are fun and addictive to make.

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  29. The Sew-It-All TV show on PBS had an episode on making bucket hats. The video had some helpful construction tips, but sadly you can't watch it online. But they do have a download link for the pattern + instructions: http://www.sewitalltv.com/content_downloads/BucketHat.pdf And here's a link to the episode page: http://www.sewitalltv.com/episodes/series_200/episode_202.html

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  30. I've made a few hats, more floppy than the bucket. I like a broader brim for the most sun protection. I concur with Ubanite that it's an opportunity to use heavier home dec fabrics -- which can be really fun. I just bought the new Vogue 8405 and the B view is bucket-like (brim is a bit wider). A like this twist on MPB: Milinary Pattern Boldness.

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  31. When you choose the hat you will make, can you please do a hat-sew-along for us beginning sewers? It would be a fun little project to practice our skills!

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  32. I've made several hats, for theater and Ren Faire. It's not difficult. The hardest part is figuring out how to set the lining in a way that it doesn't affect the hat size.

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  33. I have a madras hat that must be 15 years old and I still love it. Finding the right interfacing for brims is always the biggest challenge for me. If you really like your red one doing a rub-off would be one way to replicate the style. Kenneth King has a Craftsy class that bascially explains how to do an accurate rub-off

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  34. Great timing, Sew Mama Sew had some links to summer hat/bucket hat tutes and articles. This one has some great observations and photos, and a link to this no-hands-sewing construction tips tutorial. These looked helpful to me even though they focus on kids' hats.

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  35. Hats are beautiful, and a wonderful accessory to own or make. I love hats, but hate that they mess up my hair. I love gromets (and any metals in the hat), but hate that they rusts or tarnish. I love sewing hats, but hate that they need stiffening for support. Hats are nice if you do not perspire to make them stain, as that they are very difficult to clean. Nice to have around, but kinda fussy when it comes to storage. So....I have a love/hate relationship with hats and sewing them. But I do love to see other people wearing them, and keeping them on.

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  36. I looooove hats and they are a necessity in the summer. Do not want to get skin cancer on my scalp. I have made several bucket hat patterns but never been totally satisfied, alas. I have two hats on the immediate to-make list. I'm sure yours will be adorable! Also, please do not say that 1992 was 20 years ago. Even though I just went to my 20th HS reunion, we are trying to keep it on the downlow!!!!

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  37. Fun blog... I am searching for a bucket hat pattern to replicate a tweed-pattern fleece hat i had for years and then lost in a trans-atlantic move. i miss it, and now that i can sew, i am sure i can make my own. after all, i sewed a slip cover for a sofa, so how hard can a hat be?

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