Flat Patterned Hats


Is it not always necessary to use hat blocks to create a hat, however without them you are restricted in the designs you can produce. A flat patterned hat can be created, but would need to be wired to form its shape and it certainly is more time consuming. The information here is for creating a covered hat, where the foundation canvas is cut from millinery patterns designed to obtain the shapes required.

Wire is placed:

a. Around the tip of the crown section.

b. Around the inner head size opening of the brim

c. Around the brim edge.


1. From the base millinery pattern to create flat patterned hats, cut additional patterns, one being for the Canvas which includes 1.5cm seam allowance at the headline and 1cm on one side only at the centre back (CB).

The pattern for the fabric to cover the foundation canvas should include 1.5cm seam allowance at the headline, 1.5cm at the outer edge and 1cm on each side of the CB.

2. Cut out the canvas as per the prepared millinery patterns, marking all lines including head line and (centre front) CF & CB etc.

3. Stitch the CB using herringbone stitch (refer stitch sample).

4. Then shape a head wire into an oval (This should be your head size + 1.5cm, and include 7cm overlap)

5. Sew the wire to the upper side of the brim at the head line. This can be done either by hand or machine.

6. Sew a wire to the outer edge of the underside of the brim allowing at least 12-15cm overlap. The larger the brim size, the more the wire should overlap.

7. Snip into the seam allowance at the headline and fold the allowance up (as if into the crown).

8. Depending on the fabric used to cover the flat patterned hat, a craft felt or pellon may need to be used as an underlining to avoid the weave of the canvas showing through.

9. Cut the underlining to the exact size of the base pattern and glue lightly to the canvas with stainless glue, butting the CB join to create a smooth finish.

10. Cut 2 of the covering fabric as per the allowances above.

11. Sew (preferably by machine) the CB seam and place the upper covering on top of the canvas brim and pin securely at the headline seam allowance.

12. Backstitch (refer stitch sample from STITCHES page) to secure the fabric at the head line and then stretch the fabric taut over the brim pulling to the outer edge of the brim, making sure that it is not stretched to the extent of buckling the canvas.

13. Pin securely and the backstitch just inside the outer edge wire.

NOTE: INSTRUCTIONS HERE ARE FOR A BIAS BOUND EDGE, other procedures are used for different brim edge techniques applied to flat patterned hats.

14. When, and only when the upper fabric is securely stitched, repeat the process on the under side, securing the fabric at the head wire and then stretching the fabric to the outer edge until taut, again, making sure that it is not buckling the canvas.

15. Cut a strip of fabric on the bias, long enough to reach all around the edge.

16. The width will be determined by the width that the bias strip is cut, however, 7cm would be the minimum to create a 1cm wide bind.

17. Press the bias strip in half (width) and pin to the brim edge, placing folded edge facing in and the raw edges laying at the brim edge, and stretch as you pin to determine the length required.

18. When the length is determined, pin at each end to mark the length and remove the pins except the ones indicating the length.

19. Lay the bias (opened out) and fold the ends to the centre to have the pins meeting.

20. Cut the two ends on the straight grain of the fabric (which means it will be cut on an angle of the bias fabric).

21. Join the two ends making sure the bias strip edges are straight when the seam is pressed open.

22. Refold and press the binding and re-pin the binding to the brim edge placing the join at the CB. If the binding requires two joins, place them at an even distance from the CB.

23. Stitch the binding by machine 1cm from the edge, then fold the folded edge over the wired edge of the brim and hand stitch to the machine stitch line to create a smooth bind. Keep in mind, if you have chosen to use a wider bind, the position of the stitches from the edge would by placed accordingly.

Flat patterned Hat - crown:

A flat patterned crown consists of two pieces, the side band and the tip. Although the shapes and sizes can vary, the construction is the same.

NOTE: No matter what size and shape, the head wire always measures same, as it needs to fit the head. The tip of the flat patterned crown should be cut with the bias of the foundation material from centre front to centre back. The side of the flat patterned hat crown should be cut on the bias, and if the top is larger or smaller than the head wire size, the side should be cut accordingly.


To achieve a shaped flat patterned crown side, the head wire edge is always the same, but the top either larger or smaller. Create a straight sided band pattern and measure equal distances over the length of the band.

Determine how much larger or smaller the top is to be, divide that measurement into the number of equal distances, then cut and separate or cut and overlap that amount on your pattern piece, at each equal distance until you have the desired size. You will note that the pattern pieces will become curved rather than straight.


1. Cut additional patterns for the canvas and the fabric. Seam allowances for the canvas requires 1.5cm at the head line of the band (sides) and 1cm at one end only. And 1.5cm around the outer edge of the Tip (top of crown). Seam allowances for Fabric requires 1.5cm at the top and bottom of the band (sides) and 1cm at each end. And 1.5cm around the outer edge of the Tip (top of crown).

2. Cut the canvas to the chosen shape.

3. Prepare a second head wire exactly the same size as the brim head wire.

4. Prepare a wire to fit the tip of the crown (Style will determine this size).

5. Join the CB of the crown band using herringbone stitch.

6. Place the second head wire at the head line (temporary).

7. Place the tip wire to the line 1.5cm (seam allowance) in from the edge of the tip.

8. Snip the seam allowance and fold that seam allowance in to stand at a right angle.

9. Place the tip into the upper edge of the crown side band and backstitch. This will allow the tip wire to support the tip as well as the band, forming the desired shape.


After the brim and crown foundations are wired it is necessary to coat each shape with sizing (stiffening).

Usually it only requires one coat, but if the fabrics is a heavier type, extra coats will improve its durability, but will also add weight.


At this stage, you can see the results of your work. Throughout all the process of building the flat patterned hat foundation it is essential to keep everything in good shape in order to create a smooth and well shaped hat.

The brim and crown are still separated when applying the fabric covering. This enables a neater finish as most of the raw edges are directed to the head wire and can be camouflaged by the lining and petersham head band.

Some fabrics tend to show the weave of the canvas or netting when pressed. We purposely choose fine fabric to keep the weight to a minimum, but, by inserting an underlining it will not be a problem.

Choose a soft and stretchy underlining, so that its existence is virtually undetected on completion of the hat. A fine Pellon or felt, which can be stretched over the block is perfect for the job. White is best to use so that any color doesn't reflect through the finishing fabric.

Continue with the following steps:-

10. Glue underlining to the tip and trim back to the tip edge.

11. Stretch the covering fabric over the tip.

12. Pin securely and then backstitch approx 1cm below the wire. This backstitch should be no longer than 1cm long.

13. Trim the seam allowance as close to the backstitches as possible, so that NO seam allowance is left.

14. Place an underlining, from the fabric overlap to the head wire. Then sew the band fabric to the edge (inside out and upside down).

15. Glue a second layer of underlining to cover to the tip edge, the pull the fabric down and secure with backstitch to the seam allowance of the crown.

Once the underlining is attached, the fabric can be stretched or draped to form whatever finish is required. On completion the crown and brim can be secured together with a back stitch (see samples). Any trim is then applied.

Completing the Flat patterned Hat

1. Remove the temporary head wire from the crown and place the crown onto the brim.

2. Pin the seam allowance together making sure there is not obvious easing at any area.

3. Backstitch to secure.

4. Place the hat onto a hot block, sized to fit head, (if you access to one, otherwise press VERY CAREFULLY with an iron to smooth the bulk of the seam allowances).

5. Decorate the hat to your choosing.

6. Pin a Petersham band into the pressed hat to determine the length of the band.

7. Remove the Petersham and stitch the ends together.

8. Block a prepared lining to the size of the hat and place this inside the crown to measure the length of the lining.

9. Cut the lining, to the depth of the crown, and place the Petersham band on to the edge of the lining so that the bottom edge of the Petersham is level with the edge of the lining, and stitch by machine, using a small stitch to allow each stitch to penetrate each of the rib turns of the Petersham.

10. Trim back the lining to about half the depth of the Petersham. Hand stitch the Petersham (lining attached) to the headline of the crown.

11. Re-block the completed hat to achieve a smooth and professional finish.

Click here to get information on techniques to create fabric covered hats other than

Flat Patterned hats