Hat Design Project

So it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything! Between holidays, house hunting, moving out, moving in, and then having no internet I haven’t really had the time to get as much sewing or blogging done as I’d have liked. In classic Phoebe Roberts fashion I have several unfinished personal projects on the go at the moment including an elizabethan hat, a shirt for my dad, and the 19th Century Corset. So here’s a post about a project from 1st year where we had to design and make a hat to tide you over.

We were given different categories, ways of approaching design, that we had to explore. For example natural forms, reversal of meaning, style fusion etc. The hat I chose to make was a fusion of an Ancient Egyptian headdress and a Bauhaus painting.


King in red wicker work crown of Lower Egypt 3000BC from ‘The Mode in Hats and Headdresses’ by R. Turner Wilcox


Composition from masters’ portfolio of the Staatliches Bauhaus 1923 by László Moholy-Nagy


my fusion hat design

After making a mock up of the Egyptian hat from the pattern in From the Neck Up: An Illustrated Guide to Hatmaking by Denise Dreher, an amazing book now out of print and therefore expensive to get hold of, I wish I could own a copy. I then made the pattern for my hat using the flat pattern cutting ‘slash and spread’ method. I made a mock up out of card to test the the size and shape on my head, adding extra to the width so that once covered in fabric it would still fit. At this point I did not make the pattern for the tip.

buckram pattern

buckram pattern

top fabric pattern

top fabric pattern

I then cut my hat pieces in brown buckram, and then two layers of heavy weight fusible interfacing. For my top fabric I wanted something soft to stitch into, wool was too expensive so I ended up buying a fabric used for lining curtains. While the rest of my hat was cut in two pieces (due to buckram width constraints), I cut the top fabric in one, placing the seam where I knew it would be covered by decoration.

When I had my hat wired and covered, I could decide on the final placing of my coloured rectangles. Originally they were all going to be fabric, but in the end the majority ended up being stitch. I was heavily influenced by these images I found on Pinterest.patternprintsjournal12wells 5153873426_0c384113d6_zIMG_2492

I sampled on some scraps of buckram and fabric before working on my hat.


Once the decoration was finished it was time for the tip. I made the pattern simply by placing paper on the top of my hat and drawing the shape. I lined the pieces separately with white cotton, and then slip stitched the two together. Ta da!
IMGA0057IMGA0041IMGA0050IMGA0066And here’s some close ups.IMG_0657 IMG_0664 IMG_0665IMG_0661


Possible Improvements: I would make the darts at the back bigger so that it sits more closely to the head at the back.

If you’d like to see more of my hat designs for this project, as well as some of my inspiration, have a look on my Pinterest boards phoebe roberts designs and makes, and hats and masks.

One thought on “Hat Design Project

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