Fabric Party Hat {tutorial & free pattern}

My little Pudge-meister celebrated the big 1 about a month ago. Remember how I stayed up late working on his ensemble for his special day?
photos by the ever talented Dusty Nance Photography
Well, I wasn't up late because it was difficult... only because I didn't start until late and I was creating my own pattern for the party hat. Which I will graciously share with you all now. :)

I made the shirt like Char makes over at Crap I've Made. I used her template (at the bottom of her post) and *awesome* applique instructions for the 1 onesie. I wanted a matching hat like hers, too, but her tutorial is for covering a pre-made cardboard party hat with fabric. I wanted an actual fabric party hat -- no buying a full 12-pack of yucky SpongeBob hats since I only wanted *one* hat anyway. Just one hat, made from just fabric, for my one special birthday boy. All of the other party hat tutorials that I could find required a cardboard party hat to make the pattern.

Finally, I stumbled across this eHow tutorial that, miracle of miracles, included calculations for the dimensions of the hat! The dimensions gave me a starting point (and yes, I did sneak in with a piece of string and measure my sleeping baby's head), but I didn't love the construction method and the finished hat seemed too tall, too "wizardish," as my husband put it.

So, I tweaked the dimensions to make my own hat. Once I had the right size, I had the hat made in under 30 minutes. It only took me another 30 days (plus some) to sit down and punch out a tutorial. :)

Fabric Party Hat
for personal, non-commercial use only

You'll notice that this tutorial has no instructional photos, and only one diagram. Yes -- this project is THAT easy. If, however, something doesn't make sense, please let me know and I will clarify. :)

What you'll need:
  • A piece of scrap paper or cardboard about 10 inches square OR my free pattern here
  • A ruler and pen/pencil
  • Two coordinating fabrics, about a fat quarter each (I used scraps -- mine were about 8x14 inches each for a toddler-sized hat)
  • WonderUnder (or Heat n Bond), the same dimensions as your fabric (one half yard will definitely do the job)
  • Ribbon or other embellishments
  • Elastic thread
  • Sewing supplies: iron, sewing machine, scissors, sewing needle
Download my free pattern for a child-size hat, fitting ages 9 months to 3 years, I'd guess OR follow the steps below to create your own custom-sized pattern.

Create your own pattern (no pre-made hat required!) custom-sized for your party-goer

1. Measure the wearer's head circumference halfway between their hairline and eyebrows (my baby's was 16 inches). Add two to that measurement and divide that number by 2 (16+2=18 and 18/2=9). Then draw a horizontal line (line A in the diagram) that many inches long on your cardboard piece and mark the center.
2. Draw a vertical line 1.5 inches shorter than line A (9-1.5=7.5), starting in the center of line A and going straight up (line B).
3. Create a triangle (blue in the diagram) by drawing one line from the left end of line A to the top of line B and another line from the right end of line A to the top of line B.
4. Draw another horizontal line parallel to line A and about one inch above it (line C).
5. Sketch a nice smooth curve (green in the diagram) going from the point where line C touches the triangle on the left to the center of line A (the bottom of line B) to the point where line C touches the triangle on the right.
6. Cut out your rounded triangle shape.
7. Fold your shape gently in half to be sure that the straight sides of the trianglish shape are the same length and that the curve is even. Trim the sides and even up the curve as needed.

Your finished shape is approximately 1/6 of a full circle and your pattern to success! Or at least to a successful party hat.

Make the hat
Your fabric and WonderUnder pieces need to be approximately twice the size of your pattern since you'll cut the pattern on the fold. My toddler-sized hat required an approximately 8x14 inch rectangle of each.

1. Fuse (iron) the WonderUnder to the wrong side of your exterior fabric, following the directions on the package.
2. Fold the fabric with the WonderUnder adhered and trace your pattern piece, placing one straight side on the fold.
3. Cut out your traced piece.
4. Carefully peel the paper off the WonderUnder and fuse (iron) the WonderUnder-fabric combo to the wrong side of the interior fabric.
5. Trim the interior fabric so you are left with a double-sided fabric piece that is the double the size of your original pattern piece.
6. Attach any embellishments. I just added a ribbon around the rounded edge of the hat, which will become the brim of the hat, but you could add a monogram, medallion, or myriad other cutenesses.
7. Fold the fabric exterior-sides together (to form a triangle/cone) and sew along the straight side (1/2 inch ish seam allowance) to form a cone.
8. Trim the seam allowance at the point of the cone at a downward angle (so you remove the bulk from the point of the hat).
9. Turn the hat exterior-side out.
10. Thread a sewing needle with approximately 20" of elastic thread.
11. Stitch one end of the thread to one side of the hat and then the other end to the other side of the hat (to leave a long loop) to make the chin strap. Be sure to keep the seam of the hat facing toward the back (in the middle of the two points where you attach the chin strap) while you attach the elastic thread.

Put it on your adorable party-goer's head, grab some balloons, and party on!

Sharing at these fantastic parties: CreativeShareWednesdays


Heather said...

I pretty much think you are amaing. I LOVE IT!!!! Yet another awesome project I will be copying. I am so glad Pudge is older than my Squidget so that I can profit from your experience :)

Megan Harmeyer said...

What a cute hat!! I love the colors. Maybe I'll offer up this craft to one of my coworkers when her boy turns 1.

elizabeth @ twelvecrafts said...

Cute hat for an even cuter boy!!!!! Love your tutorial too!

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

Love this idea, Lorene! And a fabric party hat is probably more comfortable than having the edge of a piece of cardboard digging into your head. Great tutorial!

Brandy@YDK said...

great tutorial. how freakin cute is that baby.

Crystal said...

So adorable! WAht a fun idea.

Tina said...

You are the best for posting this. I just finished my little guys hat and it came out ADORABLE! ThankYouThankYouThankYou!

Unknown said...

You're welcome, Tina! Glad to help add some adorable stuff to the world :)

Christine {Pure Joy} said...

Pure Joy Events is having a Party Tutorial Contest. Link up your tutorial at http://www.purejoyeventsblog.com/2011/03/party-tutorial-contest.html for a chance to win some fabulous prizes!

Marla said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been looking for a party hat pattern. My daughter wants party hats for her "Too Purpley" birthday party so I am making them since we can't find cute purple ones. :) Your son is ahhhhhhdorable! Thanks again!

Chris and Emily Kennedy said...

I used this tutorial to make my son's 1st birthday hat in the spring if 2011. Well my second baby boy is turning one in two weeks and I was just sick when I realized I didn't have it bookmarked. After scouring google, I am so so happy I found it again! It's the perfect hat! A fabric-covered paper hat just wouldn't be nearly as cute to save. Thanks again!

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