How to Make a Witch or Wizard Hat
No Witch or Wizard costume is complete without a hat! Everyone associates witches with black pointy hats with wide brims. Wizards usually have more earthy looking hats with narrower brims. But the Witch / Wizard fashion is not written in stone! Here are directions on how to fit and make a Wizard's or Witch's hat.
Step 1. Making a pattern for the wizard's hat.
Materials and tools:
- 2 pieces of stiff paper or cardboard
- A tape measure or a strip of cloth or string
- A ruler
- A marker or dark pencil
- Suitable fabric
- Interfacing to stiffen the hat
- Pins, needle and thread
- Sewing Machine is helpful but this could be made by hand if you are patient
- Clothe Iron
Making a pattern will help you fit the hat to the intended head. The actual construction will go faster if you don't have to worry about fitting the hat as you build it
Tape the card to a flat surface so it won't move and measure the height you would like your hat to be plus one inch on the edge of the cardboard.
The hat I am building will have a finished height of about 15in. so my arc is 16in. in radius.
Take your string or strip of cloth and tie it to the marker or pencil, tape your other end on the mark you made, and make an arc of 16in. radius on your card.
Make a line from a point on your arc to your centre point 16 inches away.
Using a tape measure or your strip of cloth measure your head across the forehead where you want the hat to sit.
Lay your strip of cloth, starting on the line you just made, along the arc and mark the circumference of your head on the arc. Do this carefully without stretching the cloth.
Now adjust for the thickness of the material. If you are using thick fabric, or plan to line your hat add about an inch to the head measurement, and mark it. If your fabric is very thin only add half an inch, if it's very thick adjust accordingly. When in doubt too large is better.
To the marks showing the circumference of my head, I have added an inch to allow for the thickness of the material plus one half inch at both ends for seam allowances.
Using your ruler connect the expanded marks to the centre point. This will be your pattern. Later you will add 3/4in. to the rounded side which will be the base, as a seam allowance.
The pattern is now cut out and needs to be assembled to check for size using staples and tape.
The easiest way to make the cone is to bring the 2 seam allowances together (the half inches that were added.) and staple them one half inch from the edge all along from the bottom to the top.
Detail of the staples on left. The seam gets flattened and taped on right.
The top is now stapled and taped and it's a cone shaped that will be the pattern for the top of the hat. At this point the top point will not be very tidy, that's not a problem.
The cone should fit on your head, check it and adjust your pattern if it is too large or small. Remember it should be slightly too large because you have added an inch to allow for the thickness of the cloth.
Place your cone on top of the second piece of cardboard and trace around the base. If it's not round then correct the shape. It should be as close to a circle as you can get it.
You need to decide how wide you want the brim of the witch or wizard hat to be.
Draw another circle outside the one you just made. This will be the brim of your witches hat. It can be very narrow or wide, it's your choice. If it's very wide you might need to add some wire in the rim to help support it.
Draw a third circle outside this one for the seam allowance, 1/2 inch will be enough.
Add a seam allowance towards the inside of the hat. this should be at least 3/4 of an inch wide.
Cut out the pattern.
Carefully remove the tape and staples from the cone piece and lay flat. NOTE: you will need to add 3/4 inch seam allowance at the bottom when you cut your fabric.
You are now ready to cut your fabric. If your fabric is very floppy or your brim is wide as in this case, you will need some stiffening material. I used heavy weight Pellon. I had a piece with some printing but usually it is white or black. When choosing your fabric avoid knits if you can.
Making the Witch or Wizard Hat
Putting the hat together is fairly simple if you are careful.
Place your pattern on the fabric and either pin it on or trace around the edges. You will need 2 brim pieces of your fabric and one of the stiffener.
Because the rim is round it makes no difference how you align the fabric. The top part of the hat is easier to work with if you align and cut the edges so that they are both diagonal to the grain of the fabric so it will not fray as much.
You will need one piece of the top (don't forget to add your 3/4 inch seam allowance at the bottom curved edge).
You will also need one layer of stiffener.
Iron on stiffener would also work fine.
Here my 2 brim pieces have been cut and one only of the top, plus one rim and one top of the fancy printed pellon. I had picked this up at a printer's show many years ago. They were giving out samples to show they could print on other things besides paper. Pellon is a common material, it's a bonded synthetic non woven material and it has no right and wrong side and no nap.
Pin the brim pieces together. The fabric goes good side to good side with a layer of stiffener on top. So the order is: fabric good side up, fabric good side down, Pellon any way you want. Put lots of pins to hold everything together. If you prefer you can baste instead of pinning.
I waited till I had sewed the rim together to cut out the interior. I cut all three layers at once. Saved me from any trouble if my hole was not perfectly centered or round.
Sew all around the brim, 1/2 inch from the edge. Then trim the stiffener as close to the seam as you can comfortably get. Snip out little wedges out of the seam allowance, don't clip too close to the seam. This will remove little wedges from the edge and allow the brim seam to lie flat when you turn it right side out.
Carefully make a series of snips without taking any material off along the inside hole. Do not cut right to the edge when you are snipping. Stop about 1/8 inch shy of the seam position.
Pin and Sew the stiffener to the wrong side of of the top of the hat. The seam should be less than 1/2 inch from the edge. This is to attach the stiffener to the fabric. At this point the top piece is flat with the stiffener sewn to the wrong side of the fabric. (If you are using iron-on all you need to do is iron the stiffener to the inside of the top.) On the photo I'm not showing the top as flat but it is not assembled yet. Only the stiffener is sewn on.
Trim the stiffener close to the seam.
Now pin and sew the top of the hat along the straight edge at the proper seam allowance of one half inch.
On the curved seam I had made a zigzag all along the edge because my fabric was fraying.
At the very tip don't sew right to the very top, instead make the end slightly blunt. Trim the very tip off. This will make a much sharper tip when you turn it out.
Carefully turn the top out. I used a chopstick to get the very tip turned out.
Check the fit. It should hang about 3/4 inches lower than you want the finished hat to be.
Turn out the brim and lay it flat.
You now want to iron the brim flat and the seam of the top part. Use a rolled up towel inside the top to help iron. Your seams should lie flat and there should be no pulling or bunching.
The next step is the most complicated of the whole project. Go slow and it will be fine.
Place the hat top on a table, then place the rim onto the hat top so that the top fits through the hole, don't push it all the way through.
You now need to carefully pin the brim including the pellon, to the top. You might have to pull back the bottom of the rim out of the way. In the photo I've pulled back the bottom of the rim so it's all bunched up at the top of the photo and out of the way of the pinning and sewing. The good side of the top will be facing (and be sewed to) the good side of the rim.
The bottom edge of the top will be even with the inside edge of the brim. Both edges will have been clipped all around to make it easier to fit and will have little tabs all around.
Take you time and if it does not match perfectly undo some and re distribute the fabric. If you have measured your pattern properly then it will fit. Read to the end so you understand better the whole process.
At this point you can either baste by hand removing the pins as you sew around, OR if you are comfortable sew with your sewing machine. IF you have basted first, check your seam first then sew with your sewing machine. Your seam allowance here is 3/4 inch. Go around slowly. Once you have sewn your top to the brim, check it. If it's good, go over again with another seam. This should be strong.
If your fabric is very thick, it will help to trim one seam a bit so that the thickness is not all in one spot. The top part of the brim with the pellon is the better choice to trim back a quarter inch.
Once the top of the rim is sewed to the top part of the hat, flatten back the brim if you had pulled it back to give you more working space, and fold the bottom edge of the brim under. Each little tab will fold back and be pinned. This will cover your top seam and make a nice clean edge.
Go around carefully and don't pull your fabric as you pin it. Everything should lie neatly and flat. Before you sew, put the hat on the table and check it is flat and not pulling.
The top seam is completely covered by the bottom of the brim and the little tabs have been folded back and pinned ready for sewing
Detail of the pinning. The edge of the fabric follows the upper seam.
It is possible to machine sew the lower seam by overstitching, it is easier to do by hand. Go around with strong thread and sew the bottom of the rim down.
If you wanted, you could prepare lining for the top of the hat by using your pattern and making another top of lining material. In that case it would be inserted before you pinned your bottom town. When you hand sewed the edge you would also sew in the lining. I did this for my Wizard hat because the fabric was very coarse and not pleasant to wear against the head. This hat is much softer and more comfortable and so gets no lining.
The wizard or witch hat now gets a final ironing. Pay particular attention to the area where the brim connects to the top. If you find that the hat is too floppy, wire can be inserted in the brim and up the side of the top to stiffen it further. It is also possible to use spray on starch to increase the stiffness of the hat.
The hat can be trimmed further with jewels, trim, flowing fabric, stars or LED lights.
Since I'm planning to use this hat for halloween this year, I will add hair and decorations.
I used cheap extension hair in 2 colours that I blended together just to get better colour. I sewed little bunches all around.
I used sailmaking thread. It's really strong polyester thread. After all the hair was in I added a drop of crazy glue on each clump to keep the hair from falling out. If you do this be careful not to put too much and make a stiff scratchy spot.
Here is a photo of the inside of my wizard's hat showing details of the hair. To store the hat I braided the hair so it will not get in the way and get all tangled up.
Enjoy, and send me a photo if you make a Wizard or Witch hat.
See my Wizard Costume for another style of hat with narrower brim.
Finally I decorated the hat using fake flowers and fruit. The decorations could have been more witch like. I wanted it to be sort of silly fall design.
I think I could have put a few fake rats or spiders and that would have been fun too.
email me if you find mistakes, I'll fix them and we'll all benefit: Christine