Bucket hats began their life as a simple and practical head covering for fishermen to wear out at sea.
Irish farmers and fishermen wore them commonly in the early 1900s to protect them from the weather.
It is a simple hat, with a wide and down-slanting brim, affording effective protection for the wearer’s face. They are made of durable material but can be easily folded to fit into a pocket.
Following this, bucket hats were repurposed through the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. It was made of plain fabric and used practically to protect serving troops.
In the 1960s bucket hats were all the rage in the fashion world as well. By the 1980s many rappers such as LL Cool J, Run DMC, and the Sugar Hill Gang had all incorporated bucket hats into their signature style.
In the 1990s it became a staple element of street fashion. Fashion has come back around, and bucket hats are now a staple in 2020 wardrobes.
In the period between, many looked down on bucket hats and they were the subject of ridicule. Whatever your personal thoughts on bucket hats are, they are an iconic piece of headgear.
If you can’t find a hat that suits your personal style, making your own is the perfect way to resolve this. Plus, it will be totally unique!
What else is there to do in the cold, wet winter when we are all stuck inside?
- Heavy-duty exterior fabric (such as canvas)
- Fabric to line the interior
- Medium to heavy-weight interfacing
- Sewing machine
- Measuring tape
Before You Start
The most important thing to do is to measure the size of your head. This will allow you to work out the circumference of the top of the hat.
Divide this number by to work out the diameter to fit your head.
A standard hat should be around 8 inches (20cm) in diameter. This pattern is better for kids, measuring 17cm in diameter.
Draw a large circle of the right circumference according to your measurements on your exterior and interior fabrics. Leave ½ an inch of space around the edge of your circle to allow for seams.
If you are making an 8-inch diameter circle, cut 2 rectangles from each of your fabrics. These should measure 12 x 3 inches (30.5 x 7.6cm). They will form the banding of the hat, giving it the classic bucket hat structure.
If you want your hat to be taller, make these rectangles 4, 5, 6 inches tall. If you have cut a circle that is larger or smaller, adjust the size of the rectangles accordingly. They should measure half of the circumference each.
You will need to cut 2 arcs from each fabric. These will form the brim of the bucket hat. For an 8-inch hat, you need the interior curve length to be 12 inches. The exterior of the curve should be 18 inches and the width should be around 3½ inches.
If you want a wider brim for the hat, we suggest increasing the width of the brim to between 4½ and 6 inches. If you have cut circles that are not 8-inches in diameter, adjust the length of the interior curve to match the length of the rectangles you have cut.
If you are using interfacing to reinforce your fabric, now is the time to attach it. Cut the interfacing into pieces the same shape as your fabric pieces, ensuring they are ½ inch smaller.
Iron onto the reverse side of one of your fabrics. This does not need to be done on both of your fabrics, as this will make your hat incredibly stiff.
Get your 2 rectangles made from the same fabric. Pin them together with the right sides touching and sew, leaving a ½ inch seam allowance. Repeat this step for the rectangles made from the other fabric.
Repeat this process for the brim arcs. Ensure the right sides are facing in. Only sew the short, straight edges to create a large circle. Use a ½ inch seam allowance here as well. Repeat this process on the arcs made of the second fabric too.
Pin the body pieces to the circles of the corresponding fabrics. Ensure the fabric is turned inside out. Sew around the edge of the circle, leaving a ½ inch seam allowance the whole way around. Repeat this with the second fabric type. You should now have a hat that appears similar to a fez.
Pin and sew the brim to the corresponding fez-style hat. Ensuring the wrong sides of the fabric are facing out, pin the brim onto the body of the hat. Sew around the entire length, leaving ½ inch seam allowance. Repeat this for the other fabric.
Turn one hat the right way around and leave the other inside out. Tuck the hat halves inside each other so the seams are facing out.
Pin and sew around the widest edge of the brim, using a ½ inch seam allowance. Do not sew completely around the edge, ensure you leave around 4 inches unsewn. This will allow you to reverse the hat so it is the right way around.
Cut some notches into the fabric, taking care not to cut through the seams you have just sewn. Reverse the hat, ensuring it is not misshapen.
Tuck the exposed edges into the seam and play around until you have a smooth and even seam all the way around the brim. Use an iron to press this flat.
Add a row of topstitching to the brim of the hat, ½ inch away from the outer edge. If you wish to, you can add more rows of topstitching to the brim to make it appear more professional. We suggest leaving between ¼ and ½ inch gaps between each row.
You can also add rows of topstitching to the body and brim of the hat if you like.