Sewing Hats - Tips and Tricks

Serpentine Hat Sorrento Bucket Hat

Hey mates. 

Two of my most popular sewing patterns are the Sorrento Bucket Hat and the Serpentine Hat. They're a quick and satisfying make and don't use much fabric. Huzzah.

Sorrento Bucket Hat

Francis is wearing the Sorrento Bucket Hat made out of rigid, hand painted denim.

While I adore seeing your photos on Instagram of these, I do notice the odd floppy brim. So this blog post is about how we can avoid that.

Most important thing is fabric choice! These patterns call for denim, canvas, cotton drill, mid to heavy weight woven fabrics that hold their structure.

Sturdy, reliable -  the type of fabric that would drive a Hilux.

Look for fabrics with a tight weave and high GSM. If you pick the fabric up and it instantly sags, then guess what, your hat will sag too.

BUT. I get it. Sometimes you have a cute print in your stash that you want to use, despite it not being sturdy enough. Or maybe you just don't like the look of denim, canvas or those other heavier fabrics.

This is where some re-enforcements come in. Here are a few suggestions to make your chosen fabric a bit more rigid.

- Before cutting out your pattern pieces, *fuse your chosen fabric to a heavier, sturdier fabric. Cut the pattern pieces out of this bonded fabric and sew as you usually would.

* Fusing is an adhesive webbing, than when heated up by an iron, will stick two layers of fabric together. Sandwich a sheet of fusing between your two layers of fabric and use a dry iron on a hot setting to melt the fusing. You may need a pressing cloth, depending on your chosen fabrics fibre content. 

- Interfacing. I'd recommend iron on/ fusible interfacing and using this on the brim pieces. The weight you choose depends on your fabric and how stiff you'd like the brim to be. 

- Sandwich a layer of wadding between your brim pieces. Better yet, sandwich a layer of wadding between your interfaced brim pieces, then top stitch around the brim to secure in place.

- Millinery wire. Sew a channel around the edge of the brim to thread millinery wire through.

I sewed up a Sorrento Bucket Hat using fusible wadding in the brim, to show you all how I went about it. 

First I traced the brim pattern pieces onto my fusible wadding. To reduce bulk when sewing, I took off the 1cm seam allowance before cutting out.

I placed the wrong side of the fusible webbing (the sticky side with the little glue dots) to the wrong side of my chosen fabric. I used a hot iron to melt the adhesive to the fabric (making sure my fabric was on top, an iron on top of the wadding would melt it).

Follow the instructions provided with the pattern as normal. 

Pictured here are my brim pieces sewn together and notched around the edge.

A good way to get the curve of the brim nice and crisp, is to press the seam allowance out flat before turning to the right side and pressing flat. You can use a pressing ham/tailors ham for this. Or if you don't have one, you can also use the curved edge of your ironing board to press around the curve of the brim.

To secure the layers of the brim together, I topstitched around the edge at 1cm intervals.

I marked the intervals with chalk to act as a guide.

 Topstitching in progress. Not the neatest, but hey, nobody is looking that closely when you're wearing it.

Follow the rest of the instructions to finish up your hat.

You'll notice I haven't made mine properly reversible. I've kept the lining of the band and top pieces in a lighter fabric, as the denim I used on the outside/main fabric would've been too rough on my hair.

Hot tip : Line your hat with silk to help avoid frizzy hair. Cut out the Band and Top pieces in silk for the lining of the hat.

Here's how it looks from the outside.

Look at that brim. Hooooowheeeeee. Nothing flaccid about that. 


Please note that all proceeds of the Sorrento Bucket Hat are donated to a different organisation each month. If you have any ideas of a great organisation to donate to, please email me with your suggestions! 

x Lauren


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  • Afra Glancy on

    love the look of this had I intend on making q few for family members

  • Liz Alan on

    Where is your free Sorrento bucket hat that everyone is talking about? I can’t find the link?

  • Kristina Gerwig on

    Drywall mesh works a trick for stiffening a brim. Just make sure you sandwich it between your fashion fabric and some fusible fleece or another interfacing.

  • debra corbett on

    Hi Lauren, congratulations on Basil, he is adorable. just looked you up as mum said you have e new pattern. haven’t found your new pattern….yet, but was reading about floppy brims. I paint my floppy brims with a PVA and water solution…works a treat XDeb.

  • Angie on

    I love my bucket hats. I’ve made 3, but can’t wait to try your suggestions for a more firm brim, thank you!

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