Sewing Vloggers

Friday, November 18, 2022

Hat Binging!

 I love making hats. I just finished 3 berets that I will share with you. I was discussing hat making, before starting, with my husband and he asked me to make him a beret. so that was my goal. I needed a pattern as I wanted his to look like a real beret, his request. In our fifth decade of marriage he confessed he wanted a beret all of his life, so sweet.  I had to find just the right pattern.  I decided to be a guinea pig and when I found the right pattern make him his dream hat. He loves it but refuses to model, BTW. 

In my blogpost about winter sewing plans, here, reader Laurinda kindly shared a link to an easy to make beret in her comment. Above you see the results which are comfy, and warm. There is a short comfortable band. It is made up in a leftover piece of anti pill fleece from  Joanns. Thanks, Laurinda. I recommend this pattern. Here is a pic of the back. 

Next effort was a bit more challenging. I broke out my two totes of  felted wool sweaters, I buy thrifted wool sweaters when I see them, particularly if they are colorful or have great texture. I throw them in the washer and dryer and then they go in the totes only to be pulled out later for some creative folly. This gray beret, again with Laurinda's suggested pattern. was from a lovely crew neck that I actually wore for a couple years . It had nice cables down the front. 

It is SOOOO warm. You can see it is different from the blue one. Since it was well felted I could leave the edges raw. I chose not to turn the band in and this left me with a nice wide band that beautifully covers my ears. They stay so nice and toasty warm in this hat. Love it. Beret on the back, band on the front! 

Well,  the evening of this hat making effort, hubs and I sat down with a beer to discuss. We watched youtube and decided to look up berets. There is a LOT on berets there. This is where we found two awesome videos that made a difference for me in the quality of my berets. Both required making a pattern. I chose to follow closely and learn the methods of couture milliner and clothing designer, Gilbert Muniz with a tweak from the video by DIY Brown Girls and I will explain why. Muniz is a gifted designer and excellent teacher and I feel like I have taken a college level course with him on beret making. I spent two afternoons with my Ipad, oak tag, rulers and other tools just making the pattern. Real pattern making from zero to get the perfect sized hat, custom made and it did fit my husband beautifully. On one of the final steps I chose to use the Brown Girls method. Muniz's hat is exquisitely tailored and in the  end I wanted something just a tad more relaxed looking and it all worked out the way we wanted in the end. 

I apologize. Most of these photos are very highly altered for contrast so you don't pick up the true beauty of the hat/fabric. Hubs's hat is made from a piece of black Pendleton wool that just glows. I've mentioned before that until just a few years ago, Pendleton had a factory nearby so it is not unusual to find pieces at yard sales and this where this piece came from. Gorgeous fabric perfectly meant for this purpose. 

Muniz has two videos for berets. The first is to make the pattern and the second is on construction, both very involved and detailed. You will see the hands of an expert. He teaches design at a college level as well. Plan for some uninterrupted time to make your pattern. 

One of the first things you will learn in making your pattern is that a true beret is not a circle but an oval as you can see above in hub's hat. You will draft that oval.

This highly corrected photo shows the beautiful curve of the edge and the topstitching  on the connection between the "tip" (that's what the top is called and the band. 

There are two side seams in the band which you see above with its raw edge below. I topstitched each side of the connection . I cut another full band, Brown Girl tweek, and stitched that to the bottom edge you see here. . That will be graded, understitched, my idea, and turned to the inside. I  will also ditchstitch the two bands together at the two side seams for about an inch starting a half inch above the edge. 

In this photo above you see all that in the extra full size band. This now met the connecting seam of the tip/band which I carefully pressed open with steam and press cloth. I was careful pressing this beautiful fabric, using techniques of applying moisture to just the seams as in tailoring. No ironing on the right side. The tip seam allowance and the second band seam allowance met at the edge carefully and were then "blanket stitched" on the machine for a finish. 

On the outside I ditchstitched in the two side seams to fully secure the bands together and prevent rolling out.  I used a 1.5 stitch length and it is invisible. I stopped a half inch before the edge to not effect that curve.  

I chose to line the tip. I cut a piece of lining from the stash and fused a layer of Fusi Knit, black, to it. This was then basted to the tip, first by hand and then by machine. I wanted to prevent any stretching on this bias circle. With the way I ran the band like the Brown Girls video did and lining the top, every thing is finished nicely inside. I chose not to add the little bit of fabric in the center coming out of the top as hubs did not want that. It is called the "stalk". 

I want to thank Gilbert Muniz, his website "Stitching Vulture" and videos, DIY Brown Girls youtube videos,  Laurinda for sending me down this challenging and rewarding rabbit hole,  the Annekata blog for her post on berets that got me started and your patience at making it this far in my hat post and journey. I've always loved hats so you know there will be more to come. I have to go search my  totes of sweaters again!


A couple of posts back we spoke of my plans for winter sewing. Well I am really kicking it. I can check off some hats which were on my list, check off  two pair of pants which I haven't shown yet but will. They are not too exciting but I will pair with tops. I am now in process of working out a top for that rainbow plaid. Whew, the challenges of plaids! My sleeves will be bias just to take that out of the equation. But centering the front with buttons, back and then sides, yikes! Not sure I can make it all work. I am going to hit it again in a few minutes with a clear head. Frankly, I love these challenges. Finally completed and gifted my daughter her portrait and she loved it. More winter sewing to come. I think after this may be undies. They are making themselves a priority.  Happy sewing and since it is now snowing around here, may you be enjoying your winter  and holiday stitching. Are you making gifts, party dresses? Love to hear about it...........Bunny


  1. As always, your patience and methods are wonderful. I have noted the YouTube sites and will see if I can do something along these lines. Hats I love but my head is small and my hair very slick. Keeping hats on my head is a real challenge so making my own sounds much better. Karen Teel

    1. Good luck, Karen. I hope you are able to make it work.

  2. I have loved Berets since childhood. Thanks for sharing your makes, techniques, and the resources you found useful. I see some hat making action to happen soon. Thanks!!

  3. They are not hard at all. I think you will be glad you tried.

  4. Beautiful work Bunny. I love hats, and making hats too. At the present time, though, no discipline for anything more extensive than a beret on the quick and dirty. Thank you so much for the details and links. Not much pickings in my area for quality thrifted materials, so I use what I can find new, and then reuse over time.

    I’ll be finishing up a jacket for my spouse, and working on pants, sleeveless tees and pjs for myself, and a cardigan for a friend. Way more plans than time.

  5. I think I need to make myself a new hat. I hate stocking hats, not much else is easily available to try on. Thank you for sharing the videos!
    I remember watching an episode of How It's Made show when they had berets made in France on. Lots more work than you'd think goes into them. Of course they made it look easy :-)
    All your hats are *very* nice.

  6. I forgot to answer your question - the only sewing for gifts will be putting the binding on the king-size quilt I made (sent out for quilting though) for DS & SO. We have no parties to go to, even when we did they were casual gatherings, so no fancy dresses are needed. Other than a few things like Christmas stockings or other more crafty bits over the years, I never really got into sewing much for gifts.
    So glad your daughter loved the portrait!


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