August 10, 2016

Making a Brimmed Hat: Constructing the Brim

Alright, so after last week's post you have your hat designed and the crown constructed right? Of course. So now you have got to put together the brim. Start by tracing and cutting out the size circle you desire for the brim of your hat from the buckram. Next you will have to cut out the center for where your crown will go, and to do so you will need the paper pattern in the size of your crown centered on the buckram brim.

Measure the center of the larger brim circle to get the placement of the crown centered, or put it off center for a different design, it's up to you! Once you have the crown marked draw another smaller circle 1/2"-3/4" smaller inside the perimeter of the traced crown.

Like so, this is the bit we will be removing. Cut along the smallest circle to remove the excess.

Now you must wire both the inside and edge of the brim for some nice stability. Millinery wire is quite firm, so wiring the smaller opening can be sort of tricky and annoying. I usually cheat a bit and hold my wire to the correct size by securing the overlap with some plumbers thread sealing tape or floral tape (even masking tape would work in a pinch). You can either remove the tape after stitching most of the wire down, or just leave it as I did for this hat, as no one will ever know it's there in the end.

I'll note that I wouldn't normally use a contrasting color thread like this, but I wanted you to see my stitches  (in all their sloppy glory eek!). Stitch the circle of wire down onto the traced crown in the center of your hat brim buckram. I use a blanket stitch to do so pulling each stitch moderately tight.

After you have secured the wire onto the hat crown opening you can clip your curve, yes just like in sewing clothing one must clip their curves. :)

You can see above how the crown will eventually attach to these clipped tabs of buckram, but attaching the crown to the brim comes after you are done covering each in fabric!

Instead the next step is to wire the outside edge of the brim. To do so cut wire a few inches longer than the diameter of the brim edge and stitch it on using blanket stitch once again.

Once you've wired the brim edge you are done with this step! I'll again note that these methods of mine here are considered more the "theatrical" way to make hats, as in hats made in the theater not by couture milliners, but if you're anything like me you want a hat faster rather than perfect. Now that you've got a crown and a brim it is time to cover them, but of course I'm a tease and will go over that next week ;)


  1. I didn't learn the wiring the inner circle bit in class, but I think I'll try it for my next hat!! Thank you for these millinery tutorials, they're super fun!

    Carla, Tiny Angry Crafts

  2. It's truly enjoyable - and fascinating - to watch a hat come together like this. Thank you very much for sharing your expertise with us, dear Bianca.

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

  3. I am finding this fascinating - I did want to go on a millinery course, but you know, time and money. I am sure I'll refer back to this post in the future when I attempt hat making!! x

    1. Thanks Porcelina! I hope you try it someday, it's certainly different from regular sewing!


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