Hat Making Part 2 : Constructing A Brimmed Buckram Hat

The making of a brimmed buckram based hat.

Welcome back, or if you are just finding this post for the first time, please be sure to check out Part 1 of my series of hat making class posts!

The process of the brimmed buckram hat was a bit different from the pillbox hat in the way of construction technique. The construction involved many of the same materials as the first hat like the buckram base, milliner’s wire, scissors, and cloth for covering and lining but this hat also required a hat block to shape the crown.

Materials and of course, a hat block!

For the crown, I wet the buckram with a spray bottle and molded it over the hat block. I didn’t need to take a measurement, but I had to pick a block that was similar in size to my head. If you pick a block that’s too big, and your head is small, it won’t line up with the hole for your head in brim. After it dried, I cut off the excess and set it aside. Here is where you can make tall or short crowns for your hat, the possibilities are endless!

Buckram molded over the hat block and secured with an elastic to hold the fabric to the form.

For the brim, I used my head measurement from the first part of class and drew it on the buckram using an oval template. Inside the oval, I drew a 1/2″ seam allowance which is important for attaching the crown to the brim. The next thing was to decide how big to make the brim. I wanted a pretty good-sized one, so I used the trusty pencil on a string method to ensure it was perfectly round using the center of the head hole I drew as my guide. The pencil-string method is where you tack the end of the string onto the center of your project and on the other end there’s a pencil tied to it. The string helps you guide the pencil in a circle. After that was done, I cut out the brim and the circle inside of the  1/2″ seam allowance. I snipped notches in the seam allowance being careful to not cut too far into where my head hole was going to be.

Hole cut and notches made!

I used the millinery wire and measured out the size I needed for the head hole and brim. I attached it onto the brim by sewing a large zig zag stitch over the wire onto the inside head hole and the outer edge of the brim. I strongly advise using safety glasses for this portion since its very easy for the needle to accidentally hit the wire and snap off! Next, I used millinery tape, which acts like a bias binding and sewed it around the edge of the brim creating a nice neat edge.

Taking the crown, I inserted it from underneath the brim and up through the head hole. This is where the notches come in handy. They hold the crown in tight and also stabilize it. I tacked the tabs by sewing them by hand on to the crown. I then sewed the tabs onto the crown with a  milliner’s stitch.

Crown up through the brim.

Next, I covered the crown with fabric, and then covered top of the brim. Remember, you can’t forget the bottom of the brim! I used a complimentary color for the bottom portion. I sewed the edge of the fabric onto the brim and covered it with bias tape for the clean edge and contrast that it provided. I covered the seam where the crown and brim meet with a ribbon and sewed it into place.


The lining was the last part. I used a silk fabric and placed it into the crown. I folded the edges and pinned everything in place before beginning to sew. I hand sewed the lining in.

Pinning and sewing the lining in

The last part was to embellish it and present it as my very first brimmed buckram hat!



Please return next week for part III of hat making, when I post about the felt portion of the class and my 1920’s cloche construction!

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