When the Hat doesn’t Fit

One of my favorite things about crochet is how handy it is for fixing things. Whether it be making decorative motifs to cover stains or repairs in clothing or in this case making a hat fit better.

As many of my readers know, and can guess from my logo/banner, I really like the color – hot pink.  I am also extremely pale due to my Scottish, Irish and German ancestry. So I burn easily and am a big fan of sun screen and broad-brimmed sun hats.

Last summer when my family and I were traveling I found an awesome Hot Pink and Buff colored ribbon sun hat at a shop along our route. I love these types of hats because they can be rolled up and stuffed into a carryall until needed.  Unfortunately it turned out this one was actually a bit too tight in the crown, so I didn’t wear it much.

This past Easter weekend my family and I went to the Denver Zoo for a wonderful sunny afternoon adventure. As we headed out the door I grabbed sun hats for all of us (my boys are just as pale and easily sunburnt as their pasty parents). Not remembering the fit issues with the pink hat it ended up being the one I grabbed.

I made it work for me during the afternoon, but decided something would have to be done about this hat to make it more comfortable and usable. On the drive home that evening I gave the hat a very detailed scrutiny to determine how I could modify it. My initial thought was, remove the crown and use the brim with a crocheted crown.

This hat, and the other ribbon hats I have, are made by a spiraled ribbon that is seamed top edge to bottom edge with appropriate gathers for shaping. This particular hat also had a grosgrain ribbon sewn inside as a hat band. That was part of what was making the hat too tight.

Deconstructing the Hat 2

Deconstructing the Hat

So I started my modification with removing the hatband. Unfortunately that did not create enough ease for a comfortable fit. Next step was to unravel the stitching that held the ribbon together for the crown of the hat, and down into the brim just far enough that the brim (with an open crown) fit comfortably around my head.

Finished Brim

I then used the loose thread to re-stitch the ribbon and finish the end cleanly.

Crownless Hat

I used the thread I had pulled off to sew the ribbon into place and secure the loose end. I now had a lovely wide-brimmed crownless hat. I was a wee bit tempted to leave it this way, but I never like the way these types of hats look on me.

Cottontots Yarn from Stash

Next I went digging in my cotton yarn stash for some yarn to crochet a crown from. I was very happy when I discovered I had a nearly full ball of Bernat’s Cottontots yarn in the “Strawberry” color.

Now you might be wondering why I was obsessively determined to modify this particular hat (no comments from my friends that think obsession is my middle name). It’s not just that I like the look of the color, it’s that the color is very flattering.  As I said earlier I’m pale.  I’m about as pale as you can get without actually being an albino. But I’m not particularly fond of wearing makeup on my skin. Big makeup for me is mascara and lipstick, most of the time I’m wearing tinted lip balm and my naked, well-moisturized face.

But a hat with a predominantly pink brim sheds very flattering color on my face. When my clothing and accessories can boost my color without me doing any thing extra it is a win. One reason why I wear a lot of pink/peach/salmon/coral colors. They give me a punch of color without having to do more than get dressed or toss on a lovely scarf or hat.

Crocheting new Crown

To begin my crocheted crown I measured around the circumference of the crown opening on my new brim. That gave me the measurement I would need for the completed crown. I used my favorite hat stitch: half double crochet, and worked a flat circle until it was the desired diameter (all these numbers are further explained in my post “Pi Recipe”). Once I got to my target diameter I worked evenly in a simple pattern stitch joining each round and turning to keep the pattern.

Pull the tail up thru the last st and use a needle to draw the end thru the top of the st joining to.
Pull the tail up thru the last st and use a needle to draw the end thru the top of the st joining to.
Use the needle to draw the tail back down thru the ending st and weave into the wrong side of the fabric.
Use the needle to draw the tail back down thru the ending st and weave into the wrong side of the fabric.

After I reached the crown depth I wanted I fastened off with an eight inch tail and used an invisible join to finish, this keeps the join from being bulky or noticeable once the crown is attached to the brim.

Invisible Join is Invisible

My crown was now ready to be attached to my hat brim. I gathered up my sewing supplies; thread, needle, and straight pins.

Openings marked for even joining.
Openings marked for even joining.

I wanted to be sure that the crown and brim were matched well. I put a stitch marker where my join was on the crown then folded the crown opening and flattened it in half to find the point directly across from the join and marked it. I then folded the crown opening so the 2 markers met and used the same method to mark the points half way between the previous points. I continued this way until I had marked the crowning opening with 8 markers. I did the same using sewing pins for the opening on the brim.

Finished Hat

After I pinned the crown to the brim it was a simple matter to sew them together using  thread that matched my yarn. Now I have a beautiful pink hat that fits comfortably and can be rolled up into my backpack or carryall when I am out and about.

So how have you used crochet to make something you already have be more usable for you?

2 thoughts on “When the Hat doesn’t Fit

  1. That’s a great idea for modifying a hat. The trouble with crochet hats can be that anything used to stiffen the brim makes it too heavy so I like the idea of a crochet crown and a fabric brim.

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