|Dill Pickle Cycling Cap
From Dill Pickle Gear. For more info, go to www.dillpicklegear.com/
Note: This pattern is freely distributed at no cost for your own personal use.
Make as many hats as you like for yourself and your friends, but if you intend to sell the hats, please consult me first.
If you like this pattern, please consider making a donation to the League of American Bicyclists at http://www.bikeleague.org/
You can download all the pattern pieces at www.dillpicklegear.com/?p=811
This cycling cap is a simple, classic design that’s easy to sew and small enough that you can make it in a reasonable amount of time even if you’re sewing it by hand. You can make a warm winter version or a light summer version; make it with the ear flaps or without; make it with a choice of brim styles. The possibilities are endless!
Print the pattern pieces on 8 ½ X 11 letter-sized paper, and be sure that your printer does not scale the images automatically. The .jpeg images should be 10.5 x 7.5 inches, which should allow enough room around the edges that no bits of pattern get cut off, so just make sure the image prints at 100%.
The hat comes in four sizes, for head circumferences of roughly 21” (Small), 22” (Medium), 23” (Large), and 24” (XLarge). If you are using a material that is rather thin and stretchy, you might want a smaller size, and if you use a material that is heavier or bulkier, go with a larger size. There is a grid in the background of the pattern images, and each has a ruler at the bottom of the page, so when you print the pattern out, you can check to be sure that all the grids match and that it matches the ruler.
If the printed images don’t match your ruler, one thing you can do is cut the ruled strip off the bottoms of the pages and tape them together, and use that to measure your head. Then go with whatever size that paper measure says you should go with. Along the same lines, if you need a larger or smaller size than these four, you can always scale the images by whatever percentage you need when you print them.
Materials and Supplies:
A small piece of extra-heavy craft interfacing, either fusible or not
A piece of ¾”-wide elastic a bit over 4 inches long
Fabric for the main body of the cap
For the main body of the hat, you can use any number of materials, including fleece, wool, jersey, quilting cotton, synthetic wicking material, athletic mesh, etc, not to mention many recycled clothing items. For a warmer hat, try polar fleece or an old wool jersey. If you had a nice cashmere sweater until it shrank in the wash, it can be a lovely hat now (or you can buy one at a thrift store and shrink it!). Old winter cycling clothing like tights or jackets or jerseys would work too, or even woven wool such as in a coat or blanket as long as it’s not ridiculously thick. For a cooler summer hat, omit the earflaps and use a lighter material. This is a great use for all the cotton quilting material with fun prints. You can also use old t-shirts or bike jerseys or bedsheets or oxford shirts.
I recommend extra-thick interfacing to stiffen the brim, but you could also use a piece of plastic cut out of an old flexible-cover binder or pretty much anything else that’s stiff enough while remaining flexible enough, and washable.
For a summer hat, you might consider making the inner facing or “hat band” out of lightweight terrycloth or something else that can absorb sweat well.
The seam allowances for this pattern are 3/8 of an inch.
Cut on the solid lines. The dotted lines 3/8 of an inch inside the solid lines are the stitching lines.
The four sizes are drawn on top of each other, with the small drawn in blue, medium in green, large in red, and XL in black. Parts that are the same for all sizes are in black.
You don’t need both large and small brim pieces for the same hat; they are separate options. The small brim is is like that on a typical cycling cap. The large brim is closer to the brim of a baseball cap.
The top panel, hat brim, and earflap pieces should all be cut with the fabric folded over and the line that says “place on fold” placed on the fold. Alternatively, you can cut out the pattern piece twice and tape them together in the middle, mirror-image-wise.
If you are using a heavier or thicker material, you might consider making the ear flaps with one layer of the thicker material and one layer of something thinner and wind-proof, such as a tightly-woven nylon. You might also consider making the brim out of the thinner material. This will reduce bulk at the seam and make it easier to sew, and also make it fit under a bike helmet better.
Pins can distort things and throw them off, especially in bulkier materials. Try small binder clips instead if you need to keep the pieces together while sewing them.
Cut out all the pattern pieces. The seam allowances in this pattern are marked at 3/8”; if you want to use a different seam allowance, it’s easiest to make the adjustment before cutting out the paper pieces.
Cut out the pieces of the hat. Cut one (on the fold) of the hat band and top panel. Cut two (on the fold) of the ear flaps, if applicable. If you’re using a very thick material, you might consider making one layer of the ear flaps something thinner. A wind-blocking nylon on the outside is nice, for example. Cut two of the same brim, and two of the side panels.
Clip or mark the notches: The symbols and are there to show you where things line up, but you shouldn’t need to mark them.
Cut out the brim stiffener. For this piece, cut on the dashed line just inside the dotted stitching line.
Assemble the brim
Place right sides of the brim pieces together and sew around the outside (convex) edge. Trim the seam allowance to about 1/8” from the seam, or as far away as necessary to prevent the fabric from fraying. Turn it right side out.
Insert the brim stiffener into the brim. It will be easier to get it in evenly and flat if you make sure the seam allowance is all on one side or the other. If you used fusible interfacing, now is the time to fuse it. Just make sure that it’s in far enough that you still have 3/8” seam allowance on the concave edge.
Next, stitch around the edge of the assembled brim to help keep everything together. You can do one line of stitching or many, or you can stitch your initials onto the middle of the brim, or whatever. It may be easier if you mark out where you want to stitch in chalk first.
Assemble the ear flaps (Obviously, you can skip this part if you aren’t making earflaps)
Place right sides of the ear flaps together and stitch around the outside edges. Either trim the seam allowances closer at the curves or clip them, and turn the piece right side out. Topstitch around the outside edge and/or press the earflaps flat.
Assemble the main body of the hat
With right sides together, stitch the curved edge of one side panel to the long straight edge of the top panel, then repeat for the other side. It’s generally easier with the curved edge on top. If you are using thick or slippery material and you’re having trouble getting them to line up, you might try sewing it with the curved edge underneath, or try tugging on the edge that’s coming up short a bit as you go. Many sewing machines tend to pull the bottom layer through faster than the top when sewing with thick or lofty materials. If you’re having trouble because the fabric wants to stretch, you can try stay-stitching around the edges of the curved pieces first.
At this point, the main body of the hat will have raw edges on the inside. If you are using a material that doesn’t fray, you can leave them as they are or topstitch them down flat. To topstitch them, “butterfly” the seam open and stitch each seam allowance down flat on its own side, at a consistent distance from the seam. If your fabric frays, you can still topstitch them down, but it’s a good idea to zigzag or serge over the edges first. If you’re using a lightweight material and aren’t worried about excess bulk, you can just zigzag or serge the seam allowances on the inside and be done with it.
Attach the ear flaps (Again, skip this if it doesn’t apply)
With the outside of the ear flap against the right side of the main body, line up the notches at the center of the back of the cap. If you marked them, the ends of the ear flaps should meet the spot. Stitch the ear flap to the main cap body.
Attach the brim
With the top of the brim against the outside of the main body, match up the notches at the center front. If you are using the large brim, the ends of it should abut the ends of the ear flaps (if any), at the spot. If you are using the small brim, there should be a gap, but double check that the gap is the same size on both sides.
It will be easier to sew with the brim on the bottom.
Attach the hat band
First, hem one edge of the hat band. Fold it over once if it’s a thicker material that doesn’t fray; fold it over twice for a clean finish if it’s a lighter material or prone to fraying. You can also zig-zag or serge it instead, or ziz-zag and then hem. Then either hem the ends of the hat band or fold down 3/8” at each end and press.
With right side of the hat band against the bottom/underside of the brim and the inside of the ear flaps, line up the notches at the center front of the cap with the notch at the center of the hat band. You’ll notice that it doesn’t reach all the way around; it should leave a 4” gap at the back of the cap, which should line up with the edges of the back panel and the spot. Stitch the hat band all the way around from to . If your sewing machine has a removable platform or table, it’s probably easier to do this step if you take it off. The brim tends to make things awkward. You may have to tug on the hat band to make it reach all the way if you’re using a bulky material. But if so, the length will be correct when the hat is right side out.
Turn the hat band up inside the hat and press. When you get to the bottom of the top panel where the hat band doesn’t reach, press the seam allowance up so that it’s pointing the same direction as if it had a hat band.
Attach the elastic
Place the elastic across the back of the top panel, just a hair above the bottom edge, with the end above the seam allowance but under the hat band. Stitch back and forth over that end a couple of times, so it’s tacked down securely. The end of the hat band is now tacked down, too.
Next, you’re going to stitch the bottom edge of the elastic to the bottom edge of the hat body, stitching through the hat band and the seam allowance from where the ear flaps were attached. If you’re not making ear flaps, this will be a raw edge that you should have turned up at 3/8” and pressed when you pressed the hat band. In order to make the elastic stretchy when it’s done, you’ll have to hold it stretched out as you sew it. Stitch across the bottom of the top panel, from to . When you get to the other side, make sure the end is inserted under the hat band and tack back and forth a couple of times through hat band, elastic, seam allowance, and hat body as before. Then stitch down the top edge of the elastic, again holding it stretched out as you sew. When finished, the back edge of the hat should pull in.
Topstitch the hat band
Stitch around the bottom edge of the hat band from around the front to , through hat band, seam allowances, and main body. The thicker the material you used, the farther from the edge you should topstitch, but it should be within 3/8” so that you catch the seam allowance too.
To attach the top edge of the hat band and keep it from flipping down, you can either topstitch again at the top edge of the hat band all the way around, or you can just tack it at each seam. To avoid a visible tack, you can sew it by hand to the seam allowance on the inside.
Enjoy your new hat!