The Mad Hatter Hat Tutorial

Making this hat was a fun experience, however, I must say that I now fully understand why the Mad Hatter's hands are all scarred and bloody. I can't tell you how many times I pricked myself (deep and violently!) on the pins while making this hat! Ouch!

  • 1 1/2 yards of main fabric (mine is heavy upholstery fabric)
  • 1 1/2 yards of black lace
  • 2 yards of lining (used for sash, too)
  • 2 yards heavy sew-in interfacing (the thickest you can find!)
  • WALKING FOOT! (it probably isn't necessary to have one, but with how thick it can be, it was extremely nice to have)
Details supplies:
  • peacock feather
  • some ribbon and scrap fabric for patch
  • extra piece of heavy sew-in interfacing for fraction tag
  • hat pins (or substitute look alike)

The toughest part of any project for me is making up the pattern. I will do my best to explain the math so you can adjust the pattern to your head, but I also wrote the dimensions I used too.

First, to determine the height of the hat, I measured from my chin to mid-forehead and multiplied by 1 1/2. I came up with a height of 10 inches. I measured the circumference of my head and got 22 in. (I made mine 22 in exactly and it fits a bit snug, I think adding an inch here would be a great idea!). Since you need to cut 4, I divided the 22 in by 4 and got 5 1/2 in for the bottom. For the top and brim, I would suggest just using the same that I used. The math brought Jr. High flashbacks... In the end, I came up with 10 1/4" for the top. I added 1/2 in all the way around for sewing allowance making the end dimensions the ones listed in the picture: 

The top of the hat has a 14 in diameter (sewing allowance already added!).

To make the brim piece, I made a circle from pipe cleaner that measured 22 in (you should add an inch. . .) and fit it to my head. Then I traced the slightly elongated circle onto the butcher paper. Next, measure 4 1/2 in from the line (sewing allowance added).

Even though I cut the whole circle out of the butcher paper, I ended up folding it in half and placing on the fold when I cut the fabric.

Cut out the pieces:

Let's start sewing! First, layer interfacing, fabric and lace together of side piece and pin together.

Pin around the edges and in the center. The lace will shift a bit, and that's ok, just try the best you can to make it even.

Baste together around all outer edges. Then, machine quilt it by sewing back and forth in a somewhat random pattern. 

Back View: 
I didn't worry about going all the way down because of the sash that will cover the bottom part.

Repeat for all four side pieces and the top circle as well.

Next, sew the side pieces together to form a round using a 1/2 in seam.

Then pin the sides to the top circle, right sides facing. Make it even around.

The corners will be above the circle. Trim these off (if you want, I didn't) and sew following the circle using a 1/2 in seam allowance. 

Turn it inside out. 

Prepare the brim by layering one side with all three (interfacing, fabric and lace) and the second layering only fabric and lace. Pin and baste around the outside and inside edges of each piece separately (through all layers), but DO NOT machine quilt yet.

Place brims together, right sides facing and sewing around outer edge on 1/2 in seam.

Clip to stitching around the outside edge.

Turn right side out. Iron flat. Pin together. Top stitch around outer edge. Baste inside edges together on 1/2 in seam.

Now is when you machine quilt! This way the brim stays together.

Clip inside edge to stitch line.

Pin brim to right side of hat, matching the front and back center with center of a side piece.

I removed the table piece of the sewing machine and hooked the hat around the machine to sew the brim on. Sew together on 1/2 in seam.

Now you have the hat!! Time to decorate it!

Prepare the lining the same way you made the top of the hat by sewing sides together to make a round, and sewing sides to top. Sew all seams with 1/2 in seam.

Iron bottom edge 1/2 in toward wrong side.

Without turning, drop lining inside the hat. Match the side seams and pin in place. (I just pushed the pins in like a pin cushion because of how thick and stiff the hat is.)

First you need to tack the top of the lining inside, so it doesn't fall down. Thread needle with same color as the lace. Tie a knot in the end of the thread

Find the lining corner (where side seam matches top circle). Tuck inside and match as close to hat corner.

Tack in place by stitching from inside to outside, back in, back out and then tie a knot. Because the thread matches the lace, it won't been seen. Then push the pin back inside and snip the thread off.

Hand stitch the lining edge to the brim, hiding the raw edges.

Next, prepare the sash by cutting 8 inches wide by 47 inches long. I had to sew two long pieces together to get it long enough.

Fold in half, right sides together, and iron. Cut at an angle on each end.

Sew around raw edges, leaving a gap for turning. Trim corners.

Turn right side out and press. Hand stitch opening closed.

Wrap sash around hat 2 times. 

Tie with a square knot  in the back. Each tail should end up being 18 - 19 inches from knot to the longest corner.

Make the fraction tag by cutting a pieces from the heavy sew-in interfacing 6" x 2 1/2". Use a Sharpie to write the fraction 2 1/2" tall.

Tuck the tag in the sash on the left hand side.

My peacock feather had a loop in the end (I think they were for jewelry). Tuck it inside the sash on the right side. I tacked the feather to the hat at the loop.

The patch was made by cutting a scrap fabric 3"  long x 2 1/2" wide. I sewed some stripped ribbon on top to add color. Position the patch on the front off to the right.

Hand stitch the patch on, taking larger stitches so they will show.

I couldn't find hat pins in stores, only online (if someone knows where I can get some, let me know!!) so I ended up using "Wire Stem Accents" that I found in the wedding isle at JoAnns. The picture on the package makes it look like the go in a bouquet.


Anne said...

Your hat is fabulous!! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


Ruthie said...

This is fabulous! It turned out GREAT! You did an amazing job on it!

Ruthie @ Tattered Bliss

Lena said...

That is freaking amazing! And the tutorial must have taken you as long to photograph as it did to make the hat! I can't wait to see it in person.

michelle ward said...

Love your hat!!!

Just arrived here from crescendoh and my jaw dropped when I saw this cool project. So gorgeous and fun!

Your tutorial is so generous - thorough and clear, you make it look easy. Like Lena above me said, creating the evidence trail of photos must have doubled your work time.

Thanks for sharing this...can't imagine making one, but it was super cool to watch your process, especially how you made your pattern.

TaniasaurusRex said...

Just used your tutorial!!! Thank you thank you!! It was awesome, concise and accurate! I wish I could post a picture of my finished product! LOVE this! :)

Vivian said...

Tatjana!! I'm so happy to hear that someone has made the hat. I would love to see your hat!! Please post it on the Flickr group (link on the side bar) or email me pictures at vivian-crafts@live.com . Can't wait to see them!

rusty said...

Thanks for the heads up! Your information would be greatly helpful in my class because this is something I need for my class. I also gave them this link so that they could register and update you with their insights. Thanks for sharing.

Linda said...

What a stunning hat and I posted it on Craft Gossip. Please drop by and leave a comment and have your friends and family do the same?


pamb said...

Love your hat!!! I will be making one and will do my best to send pics!! Your hat pin substitute was a great idea, but I suggest you visit an antiques shop or junk shop to look for genuine hat pins. Even pricey antique shops often have hat pins that are only a dollar or two apiece. You can also check the jewelry making section of craft stores and find really long pins (I've seen them but don't remember right now what they're called) and make your own "hat pins" by gluing a large bead at the top of the pin.

Anonymous said...

I made your hat! Thanks for the perfect tutorial. You can see it here:

AbsurdLola said...

I'm so going to try this. I've been looking for a Mad Hatter hat tutorial and this is just awesome! Thanks! :D

Unknown said...

Thank you for the tutorial. I made a hat. I had some difficulties, I think the problem was that I got the stiffest interfacing I could find not the thickest. It was hard to work with. The hat looks good though.

Unknown said...

Fabulous...it never ceases to amaze me what we can accomplish when we put our mind to it. Great job!

Anderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anderson said...

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John Albert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Albert said...

I have read your post and this is simply an amazing to increase embroidery knowledge for beginners really appreciate your writing skill. Now get professional Hat Digitizing service with prompt turnaround.

Kaz said...

Fantastic and easy tutorial..thanku. I've made heaps of these..mostly in miniature and from cardboard and thin foam placemats. This is the first really thorough tutorial for large and material Mad Hatter Hats..very cool and much appreciated. ..cheers Kaz from Oz 😊 x