Springtime and Easter means time for new, shady hats! You can often find lovely ones in antique stores and online, and sometimes in thrift stores if you're lucky. But how handy it is to make your own!
Some time ago I found this rare, beautiful 1940s crochet hat pattern online and knew I had to make it. At once! The original pattern had only one photo and was somewhat difficult to follow - vintage crochet terms are different and much looser than modern crochet - and I ended up changing it some as well, so I thought I would share my version of the pattern with you.
(Want the original instead, vague instructions and out-of-production materials notwithstanding? Check it out in this issue of Hey Doll Vintage Magazine.)
My first trial was mostly a success. Since I didn't have the millinery wire called for I was typically too impatient to wait until I found some, so I used a long, thin metal dress hanger instead and re-bent it into a circle. It didn't quite work. Too small, so the hat ended up a little ruffled and somewhat lumpy. But still quite wearable.
I trimmed it with these gorgeous vintage millinery strawberries from Mary Not Martha.
For my next trial, I found this 12 gauge, easily posable floral wire - floral wire is much easier to find than millinery wire! - to use for the brim. It turned out it really was too posable and bends too easily to be the best choice, so I guess I'll keep looking!
My yarn choice was different as well, and the final version turned out much smoother and quite sturdy.
Not having any photos of the back, I was surprised to find as I worked through the pattern that it had an open crown, which I ended up liking very much. But, at least for my head, the crown the pattern called for was too high and unflattering, so I revamped it a little.
The flexibility of the brim wire may be a disadvantage, but it does allow for easy changes in style!
So now for my version of this pattern.
Wide-Brim Lacy 1940s Hat
Lily's Sugar'n Cream 100% cotton worsted weight yarn - 2 balls Ecru, CA; 2 balls Light Blue, CB
Size H/8/5mm crochet hook, or size needed to obtain gauge
stitch markers (optional)
12 gauge floral or millinery wire
vintage flowers and/or ribbon for trimming (optional)
With 2 strands, 3 rows of sc=1 in. high. (Stitches will be tight and dense.)
16 in. in diameter; somewhat adjustable head size at the crown.
sl st=slip stitch
Solid section rnds are not joined; use stitch markers to keep track of beginning of rnds if necessary.
Hat - Crown
Holding 2 strands of CA together, ch 40 (ch should measure approx. 13 in. long). Join with sl st in first ch to form a ring. Be careful not to twist.
Rnd 1: ch 1, sc in each ch around; do not join. 40 sc
Rnd 2: sc in first sc, 2 sc in next sc, (sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc) around; do not join. 60 sc
Rnds 3-4: sc in each sc around. At end of last rnd, join with sl st in first sc and fasten off.
Rnd 5: holding 2 strands of CB together (or you may use 1 strand in order to match the brim better), join in any st, ch 1, (ch 5, sk 2 sc, sl st in next sc) around; join with sl st in first ch. 20 ch lps
Rnd 6: work 5 sc in each ch lp around; join with sl st in first sc. 100 sc
Lower Crown and Brim
Rnd 7: holding 2 strands of CA together, join in the center sc of any 5 sc group, ch 1, (sc in center sc of 5 sc group, ch 3) around; join with sl st in first sc. 20 ch lps
Rnd 8: ch 1, (sc in sc, work 3 sc in ch lp) around; do not join. 80 sc
Rnds 9-10: sc in each sc around; do not join.
Rnd 11: (2 sc in next sc, sc in next 2 sc) around, add 2 more sc in same st as last sc; do not join. 109 sc
Rnds 12-13: sc in each sc around. Join last rnd with sl st in first sc. Fasten off.
It's starting to look like a hat now!
You could actually stop here and wear it as a small 1950s hat on the back of the head.
Rnd 14: with 1 strand of CB, join in any sc; (ch 1, sc) in same st, ch 5, sk next 2 sc, (sc in next sc, ch 5, sk next 2 sc) around; join with sl st in first sc. 36 ch lps
Rnd 15: sl st into next ch lp, ch 1, work 5 sc in each lp around; join with sl st in first sc. 180 sc
Rnd 16: sl st into next 2 chs, (ch 1, sc) in same st, ch 5, (sc in center sc of 5 sc group, ch 5) around; join with sl st in first sc.
Rnd 17: rep Rnd 15.
Rnd 18: rep Rnd 16.
Rnds 19-20: rep Rnds 17-18. Fasten off at end of last rnd.
Rnd 21: join 1 strand of CA in center sc of any 5 sc group, (ch 1, sc) in same st, (ch 3, sc in center of next 5 sc group, ch 4, sc in center of next 5 sc group) around; instead of last sc, join with sl st in first sc.
Rnd 22: rep Rnd 15.
Bend wire into a loop, wrapping the 2 ends securely together for a few inches to make a circle. Hold wire against Rnd 22.
Rnd 23: Working over wire, sc in each sc around; join with sl st in first sc.
Rnds 24-25: sc over Rnd 23 and wire again (the 3 rnds of sc will effectively conceal the wire). Join last rnd with sl st in first sc and fasten off.
Cut a length of CA, weave through sc of Rnd 9, tighten slightly and tie ends on the wrong side of hat to define brim. This may be adjusted to help fit head size. Weave in all ends on the underside, mist with water and shape hat; let it dry on a hat form or inverted bowl.
Trim as desired with vintage flowers and ribbon. (The original photo seems to show it with a ribbon around the crown and tied in the back with the ends dangling down to the shoulder blades.)
That's it! All finished. Now you can style it any way you like.
With the bow in the back, bend the front down for a more dramatic picture hat style...
...or leave it with a plain round brim for the cartwheel look on the back of the head especially worn by teens and young women during the summer months in the 1940s and '50s, as shown in the original pattern photo...
...or tug it a bit to make it more of an oval shape, bending it slightly and wearing it tilted with the bow on the side front, for more of a late 1930s look. Lots of possibilities!
The last round is tedious, awkwardly working over the wire, but I think it's worth it. Fun to make and wear for spring! And the best part is you can make as many as you want in any color needed in your summer hat wardrobe.
Till next month!
Kristen - Verity Vintage Studio
Look for a new tutorial posted during the first full week of every month...How-tos for hairstyles, crafts, vintage, repurposing, etc.