The Afternoon Hat | Free bucket hat sewing pattern and tutorial
Hello fellow stitchers, and happy 2019 to you all! Summer is in full swing in Cape Town and the sweltering days are eased by dips in the brisk Atlantic water followed by lazy sundowners on the sand.
This is my favourite hat that often accompanies me on such an occasion. I’ve had it since I was a toddler, and it is getting very faded and love-worn. In fact, it’s actually embarrassingly too small for me now but I defiantly jam it on my head anyway. I don’t think I will ever fully retire this hat, but I have made a new one (that fits!) to last me another 25 plus years. So I’m sharing the pattern here, in case you would like to do the same.
It’s a basic bucket hat, fully lined, and ready for a trip outdoors. I’m calling it simply, the Afternoon hat. If you make one, please show me the adventures you go on together! You can email me, or @ me on Instagram and tag your pictures #afternoonhat
The Afternoon hat – FREE
The Afternoon hat is a basic bucket hat shape, fully lined and ready for a trip outdoors!
What's in the download?
Afternoon hat pattern (3 sizes) for print onto A4 or Letter paper
What's my size?
The Afternoon hat comes in three sizes to fit a head circumference of 53–58 cm (approx. 21–22 1/2”)
What will I need to make the Afternoon hat?
35 cm (1/2 yd will be generous) main fabric and lining, for all sizes (medium-weight fabrics with some body work well, such as canvas, denim or cotton twill)
How do I put it all together?
I have my download, now what? Follow the tutorial below for how to sew your Afternoon hat!
Questions? Read our FAQs at the bottom of the page.
Print and assemble your pattern
The Afternoon hat pattern is only three pages (your choice of letter or A4). Open up the PDF and select either ‘actual size’, 100% or ‘no scaling’ in your print options panel. This is to make sure that it prints at the right size. There are test squares included so that you can double-check the measurements before you start sewing. A seam allowance of 10 mm (approx. 3/8”) is included on the pattern pieces.
There is very little pattern assembly required! Glue the pattern pieces for the top of the hat together, then simply cut out the top, crown and brim pieces in your size.
Preparing and cutting your fabric
This hat is a great way to use up larger fabric scraps. Just jigsaw your pattern pieces onto your fabric and cut them out.
If you want to buy fabric specifically for your hat, you will need 35 cm main fabric and 35 cm lining. You might need more if you want to pattern match or if your fabric has a strong directional print.
To cut out, spread your fabric out right side up. I will demonstrate below with the lining.
Fold the right selvedge edge in, providing enough width to place the crown piece on a fold. Cut two crown pieces.
Trim the scraps off the right edge and fold it in again, providing enough with to place the brim piece on a fold. Cut two brim pieces.
Finally, cut the circular top piece from a single layer of fabric.
I find that this method of cutting out is most economical and leaves a decently sized piece of fabric behind. Depending on fabric width and hat size, it can be enough to get two hats out of your 35 cm.
Cut out your main fabric in the same way as the lining. Now we have all the pieces to start construction.
Sewing the brim
Place the brim pieces right sides together and stitch the side seams. Press the seam allowances open.
Sewing the crown
Place the crown pieces right sides together and stitch the side seams. Press the seam allowances open. This is a good point to try the crown on and assess the fit. If it’s slightly too snug or too loose, you will be able to make small adjustments by decreasing or increasing your seam allowance.
Turn right side out and top stitch on either side of the side seams. Below is what the top stitching looks like from the outside and the inside.
Attaching the top
Mark the top piece into quarters. I like to think of it as the face of a clock, marking 6, 9, 12 and 3 o’clock. You will notice that the top piece is slightly oval. The height of the oval at 12 o’clock is the front of the hat, 9 and 3 o’clock are the sides of the hat.
Match the top piece to the crown, with right sides together. Make sure the sides of the top piece match the side seams of the crown.
Ease the circumference of the top into the crown. I find it useful to clip into the curves just a little to make it easier to, um, ease!
Once the top is attached, press the seam allowances down towards the crown. Turn right side out and top stitch on the crown, close to the attachment seam.
Attaching the brim
Now for the brim! Match the brim and the lower edge of the crown right sides together, taking care to line up the side seams.
Stitch together, then press the seam allowance up towards the crown. Turn right side out and top stitch on the crown, close to the attachment seam.
Repeat all the sewing you’ve done so far for the lining.
Joining the two hats
Once you have assembled the outer fabric and repeated all the steps for the lining, you will have two hats! To join them, place one over the other, right sides together. Match the brims all the way around.
Stitch together, leaving a gap of a few centimetres for turning.
Finishing the brim
Reach into the gap left in the brim and turn the hat right side out.
Nestle the lining into the crown of the hat. Round out the brim, being careful to keep the lining slightly towards the inside of the hat. The fabric in the gap will naturally curl towards the inside. Pin in place and press gently.
Top stitch along the edge of the brim, catching the lining underneath.
To hold the rest of the brim lining in place and give the hat a bit more structure, top stitch concentric circles around the brim.
And you’re done! Admire your handiwork and head on outside!
Thanks for sewing along and making the Afternoon hat! Please share on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with #afternoonhat – I’d love to see what you made. As always, if you enjoyed the pattern or have any other feedback, please feel free to email me. Now go show that hat some sun!
Download these instructions [2.3 MB PDF]
Bucket hat FAQs
I can't seem to open the file?
The pattern is supplied in a compressed folder that needs to be unzipped. This shouldn't require any additional software – if you right click and select 'extract', it will unzip the folder and show you the PDF files.
Please make sure to use a laptop or desktop computer (rather than your mobile or tablet) to download and print the pattern.
I want to make this hat for a child, what size should I use?
The pattern is sized for adults, but this site has a useful chart of 'average' child head sizes. Please measure if you're not sure, or do a quick search for a child-specific pattern – they are out there! :)
What can I use to stiffen the brim?
Most medium-weight fabrics like canvas or denim will usually hold their shape without the need for extra reinforcement. If you are using a lighter fabric, you can use some iron-on interfacing to stiffen the brim pieces if you like.
The top appears to be too big for the crown, am I doing something wrong?
No, you're right! The top piece is larger than the crown and needs to be eased in. The idea here is that it creates a slightly domed shape for the top of the head. The same goes for the lower edge of the crown – it also needs to be eased onto the top of the brim.
Okay – how do I ease the pieces together without folding or overstretching?
When easing, pin generously and gently pull the excess fabric taut between the pins as you sew. You can also make very small clips (no bigger than the seam allowance) into the curves to make it easier to match.