Completed: Serpentine hat

There is a first time for everything and this time I made myself a hat! I used the Serpentine hat pattern from Elbe textiles and I really like this pattern. It only took 2 evenings of sewing, which made for a nice change from the quilts that I am making that take a whole lot longer to complete. I made size S which is a good fit for my smallish head (for commercial patterns I wear a 56 cm).

Despite my huge stash I did not really have much suitable sturdy fabric options for a hat (must change that soon!) so to try out the pattern I used a remnant of curtain fabric. I now match our former living room and current bedroom curtains… For the top and band I used the same fabric for the lining but I did not have enough left for the brim lining so I used a floral batik instead. Because the batik was not particularly sturdy, I put some woven sew in interfacing in the brim to add some structure.

Changes that I made

Apparently, I am not able to completely follow a pattern to the letter so I made some changes. Because I found the outer fabric a bit boring on its own I did some topstitching with contrasting 38wt Gutermann Sulky thread on the outside band before assembly and also through both sides of the brim before attaching it to the band. I think this may provide some extra structure to the brim too but I’m not entirely sure because I haven’t tested it without topstitching.

The pattern is written to be reversible but my hat isn’t. I am very much a Dutch stereotype when it comes to cycling. I also burn very easily when it’s sunny, so in the summer I often wear a hat when I cycle. We live close to the sea so on most days you can add some wind and then a hat is not very likely to stay on top of your head for very long. The two commercial hats that I own and wear have this feature inside the band that helps to keep the hat more secure on top of your head. It’s basically a tunnel of fabric through which a ribbon is threaded that you can tie so it fits snugly around your head. I incorporated this into the Serpentine hat by tracing the first 1 ¼’’ of the inner side of the brim and sewing this into a tunnel that is open on one side to thread a ribbon through. I now realize that it may make even more sense to trace the lower part of the band instead of the inner part of the brim, and I will try this next time. I first basted the tunnel to the right side of the band lining before it was attached to the brim. The outer band is attached to the brim by topstitching and if you add a tunnel make sure to push it out of the way so you don’t accidently stitch through it.  

This hat stays on my head very well. It does not completely survive the cycling test though. When there is a head wind the brim flaps up against the band so it is a bit too floppy for that purpose. For walking around it’s absolutely fine, however. On my next version I am going to use a sturdier interfacing to see if that adds the structure I need. I am also going for a much brighter colour because it’s summer!

Have you ever made a hat and are there any patterns that you recommend?

P.S. my June newsletter goes out tomorrow or Thursday so if you’d like to read a bit more about what I get up to, want some book recommendations or read about other random and not so random stuff there is still time to sign up!

14 comments on “Completed: Serpentine hat

  1. onehappykamper says:

    Hi Emmely,I really like your hat!  The top stitching is a great idea as is the ribbon to tighten it against the wind. Pretty much a necessity on the beach. You asked your followers about hats they made so here’s mine…

    I crocheted a hat with narrow hemp cord I got from a local craft store. Then I wove this scarf through in a few places so that I can tighten it against the wind like you did with your channel and ribbon. The second picture you can see that small plastic wire poking out. I used it around the inside and outside of the brim to stabilize it. It works great. The brim may come up in the wind but goes right back into place. I’m thinking it would work on your pattern as well.  I searched Amazon for hat brim stabilizer and this is one of the choices. It works great and doesn’t cost very much. Thank you for sharing your projects and ideas with us


    • Emmely says:

      Hi Susie, I think it may not be possible to put pictures in the comments because I can’t see them but the way you described it I can imagine what you mean. That hat brim stabilizer sounds interesting and I am going to check it out! Thank you for suggesting it.

  2. katechiconi says:

    That’s a great hat! It suits you very well and is a good shape, and I bet it gives good shade too. There’s a fine balance in stiffening the brim: yes, it’ll stop it flapping and lifting on the bike, but too much stiffening and it’ll also make it easier for a stronger wind to drag it off your head.

    • Emmely says:

      Thank you! I am hoping that the slightly stiffer sew in interfacing that I have will add just enough structure to keep it in place, we’ll see how it works out.

  3. tialys says:

    I have never made a hat and probably never will but am full of admiration for your lovely version,

  4. What a clever, practical and beautifully made hat.
    It struck me that it also could have a double purpose : to keep the sun off as you are cycling and as camouflage if you want to take a secret nap in your bedroom.

  5. onehappykamper says:

    Hi again. I thought I’d better double check myself so I didn’t send you on a wild goose chase through Amazon and I’m glad I did!  You will find it under plastic hat brim wire or plastic memory wire for hats. I hope this helps. Happy sewing.  

    Sent from AT&T Yahoo Mail for iPad

    • Emmely says:

      I found it! Apparently it’s also called millinery wire. Now I just need to find a shop in The Netherlands that sells it.

  6. I am very impressed! The hat came out wonderful and I love the floral inside the brim, nice contrast!

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