Making a hat is among numerous DIY initiatives, and it is not hard to craft a hat design that you can boast about as you showcase your creativity. Hats come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, both for men and women, and each hat has a unique name that hints at the usage. From a top hat to Bushman outback hat to the famous cowboy hats to Fedora hats, the range of men’s hats is just too long. Most of the hats are handcrafted, and the reason why any DIY enthusiast would like to try their hand at it. Yes, even the branded hats like the ones available at Americanhatmakers.com are handcrafted.
But before you take up the work, make sure that you have the right skill sets of working with leather and have done some more creative items by using the material so that you know how to deal with it. Moreover, you must have some knowledge about the different leather finishes and how to prepare it for sewing and know how to cut, dye, and burnish leather to finally saddle stitch it.
Now you willlearn how to make a leather hat
Choose a style
If you are making a leather hat, you must know the hat styles you can create using the chosen material. All materials are not suitable for all styles, and leather hats have simpler designs and smaller in size as compared to hundreds of other styles out there. Some of the simple styles that you can try out are Fedora, Homburg, Trilby, Panama Hat, and Western hat, just to name a few. When choosing the style of the hat, keep in mind other factors like the shape, size, and weight of the hat because these play a significant role in determining how your efforts will take shape. Bigger hats not only take more time to finish but it entails more work too. Starting with a Fedora hat is a safe bet, but do not stifle your creativity if you are confident of finding your way in handling leather most efficiently.
Create a pattern
After deciding the type of hat you want to make, it is time to create a pattern by taking your head measurements to determine the hat size. Measure your head’s circumference and add about an inch r two to provide an allowance for shrinkage. During the hat-making process, you might have to soak the leather in water that can cause it to shrink. Make a sketch of the hat manually or use some software like Autodesk Inventor Professional or use some ready pattern available at hand and scale it to your desired dimensions. Be careful to maintain the pattern’s correct measurements to make the subsequent process of stitching easy and more accurate.
Cut the pieces
In the next step, transfer your pattern to the leather chosen for the hat and then cut it out to create the pieces for assembling to give shape to the hat. When cutting the brim of the hat, it is better to divide the pattern into four pieces so that you can comfortably cut it with scissors as it is easy to negotiate the curves with better accuracy. It makes the task easy too, but you can take a different approach to cut it out in one go if you like. Cutting out small triangles from the brim will help to make it curl if you include it in your style.
Punching and stitching
Now that you are ready with the parts, it is time to sum it up to create the whole, and this is the most stressful, time-consuming, and tedious part of the entire process. Hoping that the pattern measurements are correct, it will be easy to line up all the stitches in the way you want, or else it might require some emergency cutting, and some pieces might overlap. The way you are going to stitch the hat depends on the style of the crown. Stitching a Fedora crown is easier as you need not stitch it inside out. Start stitching the crown from the front and then sew the brim and finally the back side seam.
Dyeing and finishing
Your hat is now almost ready, and you must give it the finishing touches that bear the marks of your personal touches. After completing the stitching, turn the hat right side out before giving it the final shape. You may like to provide a band around the hat from outside. The band may be of leather or some fabric, ribbon, or suede that creates interesting texture and patterns. Now, your hat is ready to wear, and you can either gift it or display it on your own.
Repeat the process with some other styles that will make you more confident about your capabilities.