A long time ago, I wanted to make my first bucket hat, for my (then) toddler.
But it looked so hard to sew a simple bucket hat!
So I started looking for sewing shortcuts. And messed with those poor bucket hat pieces until I found an easier way to sew it. A lot easier, actually. So I made this tutorial - it's beginner-friendly.
Fast forward years of testing (and my kids outgrowing the smallest sizes) - and here's my new bucket hat pattern. It comes in 5 sizes and it's free.
And it gets even better: this is a reversible bucket hat - no raw seams exposed. Yay! Give this easy bucket hat sewing project a try!
This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support. You'll find tons of easy accessory sewing ideas here, including
- How To Make a Scrunchie
- this Bunting Banner
- cute baby hat pattern - free
- ....and more than 100 other free sewing patterns - check them out!
How To Make A Bucket Hat - Tutorial
Whether you're headed to the beach, working in the garden, or just going outside in the warmer months - this reversible hat is a must-have.
I want to help you make your own bucket hat in the size you need, the color you want, and the fabric you choose. Are you with me? Read on, below is an easy bucket hat tutorial with a free printable bucket hat pattern waiting for you - in 5 sizes!
Here's why I love this free pattern for bucket hat - and why you might too:
- It fits perfectly. (5 free sizes to choose from!)
- It doesn't keep falling off. (Some hats do.)
- The brim is just the perfect size for keeping the face from direct sun. (Some hat brims are too big, and too floppy.)
- Comfortable and cute! (And you get to choose your fav fabrics!)
- The hat sewing pattern is FREE - and it comes in 5 sizes from baby to adult
And, readers say this might be the best step-by-step tutorial on how to make a hat. (Seriously. Daily, I get emails from people that are NEW to sewing, saying it was way easier than they expected.) - Meaning YOU can sew it too!
And here it comes ... another cute hat photo. I'll be bold and say this might be the best free bucket hat sewing pattern out there. After all, it's been tested and tweaked for years, by a person who's pretty picky about store-bought stuff haha!
- Baby bucket hat pattern (Size XS) - 17"-18" circumference
- Kids bucket hat pattern (Size S) - 19"-20" circumference
- Teenager bucket hat pattern (Size M) - 21"-22" circumference
- Adult bucket hat pattern (Size L) - 23"-24" circumference
- Adult xtra-large bucket hat pattern (Size XL) - 24"-25" circumference
These reversible bucket hat sizes are a bit on the larger side - the pattern, I mean. If you want a tight fit, go for a smaller size, but it's better not to go too small as the hat will always shrink a little after a few washes. Also, it should be comfortable. Also see sizing tips at the end of this diy hat tutorial.
This bucket hat tutorial is EASIER to sew.
First, I need to admit that a classic bucket hat project might not be easy to sew, especially not for beginners.
But I'll show you how I used a shortcut, to make the project way easier. It's a different construction process, differing from the industry-standard procedure in sewing a bucket hat.
The result will be the same - but sewing will be way easier. Are you with me?
Gather these supplies before you start sewing the bucket hat:
- ½ yard of Outer fabric
- ½ yard of Lining fabric
- matching thread
- pins or sewing clips, sewing machine
- iron, scissors, or rotary cutter plus cutting mat (I use this one by Olfa)
Bucket Hat Sewing Instructions
The seam allowance for this project is ⅜" inch (1cm). This free pattern for bucket hat comes in 5 sizes, so you'll first need to decide on the size you want to sew.
Step 1 - Get the FREE Bucket Hat Sewing Pattern
Get the template from the shop here - it's absolutely FREE! Print and start cutting and sewing right now.
I’ve created a template that you can download for free. To download the FREE Bucket Hat TEMPLATE, click the button below. You'll be taken to the shop - scroll to Bucket Hat Pattern, it's $0!
Get the free pattern HERE. It's $0 in the shop, no code is needed. Optional, as an alternative:
OR do you want a printable copy of the WHOLE tutorial? Scroll to the bottom of this tutorial for more details!
Step 2 - Cut and Mark the Fabric Pieces
After you've decided on the hat size, use the paper pattern (see note above) to cut out these pieces from fabric:
|Pattern piece name||Cut from Outer Fabric:||Cut from LiningFabric:|
|CROWN piece||1 piece||1 piece|
|SIDE piece||2 pieces||2 pieces|
|BRIM piece||2 pieces||2 pieces|
And here's a little image to help you visualize the pattern layout. Here's what the parts of the hat are called in this tutorial:
And this is the way to place your pattern on the fabric when cutting:
You'll end up with two identical sets of pieces, one from Outer and one from Lining fabric.
Make sure to mark the pieces - make tiny notches in the center of all Sides and Brims and transfer the markings from the Crown pattern piece. This will make your sewing so much easier later on:
- On the Crown, cut or mark 4 small notches where indicated.
- While the Side and Brim pieces are still folded in half, cut small notches at the top and bottom of the fold.
Step 3 - Stitch the Sides and the Brim pieces
Pair all the Brim and the Side pieces, placing each pair with the right sides together and pin.
With the right sides together, sew all the short edges together, using a ⅜" or 1 cm seam allowance. You get 4 circular (slightly oval, actually) bands, two full brims and two full sides:
Press all seam allowances open.
Step 4 - Join the Crown piece and the Sides of the bucket hat
Now, let's make one color first: the Outer. Take the 'Sides' circular band and the round Crown piece.
Cut tiny notches, slits into the fabric on the shorter raw edge of the Sides piece to make the pieces match. I clipped tiny notches approximately ¼" (½ cm) into the seam allowance. Take your time. Then pin or clip the two pieces together:
- Identify the front and the back 'double-notch' on the round Crown piece (it's slightly oval actually)
- Start by clipping/pinning the front and the back of the crown to the Sides piece, with the right sides together.
- Match the remaining two notches and
- add clips or pins all around. Use a lot of clips or pins.
IMPORTANT: the double-notch mark (‘W’ mark) on the oval Crown piece means the FRONT and the BACK of the hat. Align the double-notch (‘W’ mark) with the seams on the Sides piece.
And here's another photo for those who prefer pins:
From here on, it just gets easier: just sew all the way around, using a ⅜" or 1 cm seam allowance:
Step 5 - Topstitch Around the Crown
Then press the seam allowance towards the Sides and top stitch around for a nicer look. Feel free to use whatever distance from the seam you prefer - anything between ⅛" and ¼" (3-8 mm) should work just fine.
The top of the hat will look so professionally made!
Step 6 - Attach the Brim
Take the Brim piece and pin it to the cap with the fabric right sides together. Again, match the notch markings. Also, it will help you a lot if you cut tiny slits into the narrower part of the Brim piece - just like you did above with the Crown piece.
Then sew around using a ⅜" or 1 cm seam allowance:
Step 7 - Topstitch Around the Brim
To make the seam look prettier, press the seam allowance towards the brim and topstitch the Brim, like you did in Step 5:
Step 8 - Assemble The Lining
Repeat the steps with the Lining fabric pieces, and you've got yourself these two identical parts of your soon-to-be bucket hat:
Step 9 - Join Outer And Lining
Put the two 'hats' together with the right sides facing each other, with the side seams on the brim aligned. Sew the brims (i.e. the largest circle) together, using a ⅜" or 1 cm seam allowance and make sure to leave a 3" or 7.5 cm opening. You'll need it to turn the hat right-side-out.
Trim the seam allowance using pinking shears.
Step 10 - Turn Right Side Out
Now turn it right side out through the opening and you've basically made it!
Press the brim so you get an even outer edge. Sew the opening closed or proceed with the next, finishing step.
Step 11 - Finishing touches: Topstitching the Brim
Now, the only thing left to do is to topstitch the brim for stability. See the lines all the way around the edges of the brim on the completed hat? Sew circles around the brim to add stability to the brim.
I used the edge of my machine sewing foot to eyeball the distance between the seam lines, but I never demand perfection from myself. 5 or 6 rows will give enough stability to the brim - even if sewn with quilting cotton, like all these in the tutorial. You can mark them using a fabric pen, spaced ½" or ⅜" apart.
But honestly, I never have the patience to mark. Hence the wiggly seams. I simply call them a 'feature'. LOL
Good job, you've made it through! If you liked this blog post, share it in your favorite Facebook group - or join ours to show when you sew one up!
Bonus tips For Sewing a bucket hat
I want to help you make the best diy bucket hat, and a little help goes a long way!! Here I'm answering the most frequent questions people ask me about sewing this hat:
How much fabric is needed for a bucket hat?
I decided to put down ½ yard per print in the supplies section, making it a total of 1 yard.
But you can get away with way less fabric if you rearrange and turn pattern pieces for the most economical use of the fabric, with the least leftover possible.
This way, you could even squeeze two hats out of a yard/meter of fabric! But be cautious, as the different cutting could cause the fabric pieces to shrink in different directions once washed. It could distort your bucket hat form. And this is why it's good to use a bit more fabric to ensure the same direction, 'grainline'.
How To Topstitch the Hat Brim
Here's a bonus tip for topstitching the brim: choose a thread matching the fabric color for topstitching. I used teal thread for the outer layer and grey in the bobbin. This way, any uneven curves will be hardly noticeable - or better yet, not at all.
What fabric do you use for bucket hats?
My favorite: densely woven cotton - be it canvas, twill, or simply quilting cotton. And denim is amazing for bucket hats! As it's a double-layer hat, you'll get enough stability without the use of any interfacing.
Do I need to make this bucket hat with interfacing?
Oh, you're asking how do I line this bucket hat? Good news, I don't need to! As it's a double-layer hat, you'll get enough stability without the use of interfacing.
You can of course choose to use some light- or medium-weight interfacing if you either used very lightweight fabric or want a firm bucket hat. In this case, I'd fuse interfacing to one layer only, not both Outer and Lining.
How To Make a Ponytail Bucket Hat?
Quite a few readers have asked me how to make a bucket hat with a ponytail hole at the back, to keep those long hair off the neck in the hot summer sun.
A diy bucket hat with a ponytail hole is a great idea, and I have an easy diy addition to this tutorial on my mind already! I've put it on my to-do list. However, if you'll be attempting this with AppleGreen Cottage bucket hat pattern, please note that the ponytail hole needs to be located at one of the VERTICAL seams of the Sides piece. Which - makes it even easier! I'm itching to try this option! I'll be making a tutorial for a discreet slit at the back of the hat (not a big gaping hole) on my pattern. Get ready for a bucket hat featuring a clever little ponytail slit to keep hot hair off your kids' little necks!
How Tight Should A Bucket Hat Be?
Bucket hats should first and foremost be comfortable. If your hat sits too tight, you may feel some tension, and that's too small. Also, it depends on thick your hair is: think a bucket hat on a shaved head versus a hat on a head with thick, voluminous curly hair! That's good to consider - along with measuring your head circumference before you start sewing.
Also, natural fibers in hats can cause gradual shrinking over time. Cotton will shrink, especially after several washes. This is why I've designed this bucket hat pattern a bit larger than usual. I've made my portion of too-small hats, and now, I'd rather make it a bit larger and toss it into the washer (and, if needed, even dryer!!) to get it to the 'final' size.
And one last thing I learned (many times!) about a child head: it grows fast, so make sure to sew one hat more - in the next size for your kid. This way, you'll have their next favorite summer hat ready for when they outgrow their current hat.
My finished bucket hat is too big / too large!
Please note that this pattern has been thoroughly tested for years (and used) before I made it free as a gift to everyone visiting AppleGreen Cottage. 3 reasons why the sizing on your sewn bucket hat could be off:
1 - These reversible bucket hat sizes are a few millimeters on the larger side - the pattern, I mean. This is to account for any slightly imperfect (wiggly?) seam on the brim piece (see step 6) - I know they do happen to me when sewing curves.
2 - Select the right pattern size by first measuring the head circumference of the person who'll wear it. If you want a tight fit, go for a smaller size, but it's better not to go too small as the hat will always shrink a little after a few washes. Also, it should be comfortable.
3 - Use the exact seam allowance as indicated on the pattern pieces. Please note that since thousands of people have been using this pattern, I've come to realize that sometimes, one could easily forget to follow the exact seam allowance listed in the pattern:
- when you increase the seam allowance by just a little, it would result in a small bucket hat,
- or equally, when using a bit smaller seam allowance, you get a large bucket hat. Or at least larger hat than expected.
How Do You Wear a Bucket Hat?
It's all in the brim 🙂 You can either keep the brim turned somewhat down, or you can turn your brim up in the front to reveal more of your face - that would result in a more casual bucket hat look. You can dress it up by pairing it with an elevated outfit, or you can match a bucket hat with your casual clothing (THIS!). Have fun!
Now go, make one pretty bucket hat for yourself, and then for all your loved ones. Super popular with kids, especially if mixed with their favorite prints. (Dinos, anyone?) Also, it makes a perfect men's bucket hat too.
Now you can start making your own stylish diy hat collection - I want to see all the cute bucket hats you make! No time to sew now? Save this diy bucket hat pattern and tutorial for later, so you can get your own pdf file any time.
WANT A PRINTABLE COPY OF THE WHOLE TUTORIAL?
Do you want an ad-free, printable copy of this online tutorial? Find it here for just $3. You won’t need to access the internet every time you want to make it. ------ Or get the BUNDLE with ALL the Printable Tutorials - current and future ones!
WANT MORE FREE TUTORIALS AND GOODIES?
Get email updates and never miss out on new patterns, printables, and tutorials:
Or …check out the Earwarmer Headband pattern in 8 Sizes in our shop:
Also, check out this cute earflap beanie pattern in our shop:
An excellent choice for everyone who has children and would love to see their ears protected in the fresh fall (or spring) wind.
Amazing pattern, thank you ! it was so easy to follow, so happy
What a great pattern I made one for my grandson and I am so please with it. Thank you
Damjana, thank you for this pattern. I just finished making my first bucket hat I am so happy with the results, I posted it on my Instagram page and noted I found the pattern on your site. Even mu husband likes it.
De hi, I'm so glad!
I made this bucket hat a couple of years ago. I am not a terrific sewer so it was a challenge however, they turned out okay and I ended up making about half a dozen. People I gave them too loved them. I was very happy with the instructions which were easy to follow. Thank you. :-)R - Northern British Columbia, Canada
Perfect pattern in every way. The pieces line up, and that can’t be said for many indie patterns! Instructions are detailed. Wonderful work. Thank you.
Suggestion for quilters’ cottons: use lightweight fusible interfacing on *one’ layer/hat.
I just wanted to say thankyou for the bucket hat pattern, I now have 3 to make my dresses.
Mary Lou Michalski
Thank you for your step by step instructions. My 12 year old granddaughter made this hat as a Christmas present for her friend. She learned a lot and it was her first time easing circular pieces and doing top stitching. My granddaughter is so excited to give this hat to her friend. The hat turned out great!
Sonja van Ekris
Hi, great pattern and I believe easy to make. But I don’t quite understand the measures of the side piece. It looks 1 cm. to small for the grown piece and at least 2 cm to big for the brim piece. I used the adult size. What am I not getting here? I hope you can enlighten me here. Thanx.
it's a great question, and I'm happy to help. The reason for the pieces not matching is pretty simple: you'll need to measure them on the seamline, not at the very edge of the pattern piece. In other words, you'll need to take into account the seam allowance. Try measuring at 3/8" away from the cut paper edge. I hope this helps. Happy sewing,
The crown of my downloaded pattern measure is more an oval than a circle.
Did I do something incorrectly in printing the pattern?
Linda hi, that's totally correct. The top is a bit oval too, it makes the hat design better than simply using a circle. Happy sewing,
Thank you for the fun pattern! Just want to confirm, the seams for the brim and the sides end up being in the front (and back) What would happen if I did the seams on the sides? I really find your pattern has a better fit since the crown is oval and not round.
I made one of these bucket hats but I sewed the seams way too narrow. Very big and floppy. So I decided to try again and actually pay attention to the size of my seams. I also put some interfacing on the liner brim pieces. The hat turned out perfect! Will be wearing it on vacation this week! Thanks so much for a wonderful tutorial.
MB hi, I'm glad the instructions helped you. The seam allowance that works best for me is 3/8", so I designed this pattern with that in mind. The bucket hat pattern will turn out a different size if using a different seam allwance, too. Enjoy your handmade hat!
What is the proper seam width for the top stitching for the pieces where attached to the crown? At first did a 1/8 inch for the top stitch at the top of the side but did not like the look, so ripped it out (ugh!) and went with 1/4 inch. I now need to do the top stich after having attached the brim. I don't want to pull out the seam ripper again.
a great question - feel free to use whatever distance from the seam you prefer - anything between 1/8" and 1/4" (3-8 mm) should work just fine. Enjoy,
Hi all, I just made this adorable little hat because Damjana makes it look so easy! For the topstitching I didn't worry about any "measuring" I just eyeballed it for good placement then lined up an edge with a good mark on my machine to keep it uniform all the way around (this was for that initial topstitch on the brim where you catch the seams from the "side" pieces.)
Then when it came to the rest of the brim I started with the outside edge in the same way (eyeballed it and picked a mark as a guage) then placed the next topstitch line in the middle of the two, then one between each of the other spaces left over; for a total of five rows. Came out great and evenly spaced.
But first!...I wasn't paying close enough attention to both layers of fabric on the brim and ended up with several unsightly creases in the under side! SOOOO, I ripped out ALL those five rows of topstitching UGH! (It's intended as a gift!) Then starched it like crazy and ironed it stiff, paid very close attention to the feel of what was going under the needle...that's when it came out absolutely great! Thanks Damjana! Love your projects!
Hi, I've made a hat, but I'm not sure if I did it right. Should the side seams align with the narrow ends of the ovals (double notches), or the sides? I've put the seams on the side of the hat but the shape seems a bit off. Otherwise looking cute!
Lucy hi, a good question! the seams are front and back, so you'd align the sides and brim seams with the double-notched front and back of the top.
Would it be possible to put the seams on the sides? Or can the oval be modified into a circle so the seams could go on the sides?
that's a great question, but considering the changes, that would turn into an entirely different design. Feel free to experiment and give it a try. This is the best way to see what fits you best. hapy sewing,
Your patterns and tutorials have been a tremendous help in my learning to sew. I'm not ready for prime time but I definitely feel as though I can comfortably tackle some of your projects. I'm of to try the bucket hat...wish me luck. Thank you so much!
I love your tutorial, so much easy to follow and understand! Just one question though.....Did you press the wrinkles out of your fabric before sewing the pieces together. I just completed sewing the sides of the hat to the crown, on both pieces, and since I did so much pinning and maneuvering of the fabric while sewing and trying to get the pieces to fit together correctly, they are wrinkled. Should I press them again before continuing and adding the brim pieces?
Damjana at AppleGreen Cottage
a great question. It will certainly be way easier to iron out any wrinkles now, before you add the brim. Happy sewing,
thank you, this is the easiest and straight forward tutorial for amateurs like me! regards from MAlaysia
Thank you so much, I made the hat today for a one-year old (used small pattern), turned out so cute. Regards from sunny South Africa
Did you not use the interfacing?
Damjana at AppleGreen Cottage
No, it wasn't needed. THe two fabric layers were just enough for me.
However, try out a version with interfacing if you'd like a sturdy hat.
Just made a hat for a happy 4 year old to match a shirt... She love's it and I made it in a few hours. Your tips are very helpful. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial! Eva
Thank you! Your tutorial is so simple that I could make a cute jeans hat for my 3 months old son (I printed the PDF a little smaller scale to 94% because my baby 's head measures its only 41cm diameter). Greetings from Chile!
Damjana at AppleGreen Cottage
I'm so happy to hear that! Your son is lucky to have a crafty mom (and a brand new and unique jeans hat 😉
Have a great day,
Amazing tutorial! I will share this blog to my friends and encourage them to make bucket hat for their kid. A color pink bucket hat for baby girl would be nice. 🙂
Damjana at AppleGreen Cottage
thank you so much for your comment! So there will be a bunch of your friends' kids running around in little colorful hats, how cute! And yes, a combination of pink hues would be great! Must try it out myself too, for my little baby girl - but first I need to stack on girly fabrics. (With a boy in our home, I've only been buying blue and green for the last three years, LOL). Have a great day,
White + Warren
Thanks! It's true colorful hats are very cute. I'm glad that you appreciate my comment. Looking forward to read amazing blogs from you 🙂
Hi, how long did it take to sew the hat?
Damjana at AppleGreen Cottage
Hi, glad you asked - just sewing - it won't take you more than an hour. When I was taking photos of the process, it took me way more, though. (but you don't need to do that 🙂 Enjoy! Damjana
Love your pattern & tutorial!!! It is exactly what I'm looking for. I just have one problem. It is too small for my grandson who thinks he is the great big game hunter & wants a hat like this that they wear on the T.V. shows. Do you have a larger one or could tell me how to enlarge this one? Thank you for this great tutorial & for any help you can give me. God bless.
Damjana at AppleGreen Cottage
hi! Thanks for commenting, I'm sending you an email right away. Damjana