Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pattern Review: Oliver + S Little Things to Sew - Bucket Hat


  For the last month or so, I've been seeing the cutest little patterns from Oliver + S. Everything I've seen, I've wanted to try. I happened upon a Sew-a-long for the book Oliver +S Little Things to Sew by Liesel Gibson at A Little Gray. Basically, the sew-a-long is one project per month from the book. The August project is the Bucket Hat. Check out the details here:

I've been wanting to try a sew-a-long for quite some time and this is a great excuse to buy the book! And, I'm soooo glad that I did. My little bucket hat, side 1...

It is reversible (side 2)...
Personally, I just think a tiny hat is adorable, don't you? Infants are great fun to sew for.

Let's get on with the actual pattern review now....

This is the 1st pattern (Reversible Bucket Hat pg 33) I tried from the book. I quickly read through the instructions and they seemed straight forward. Each pattern has a difficulty rating. Reversible Bucket hat has a difficulty of 2 scissors out of 4 (4 being the hardest). Full size patterns are included in the book. However, they are glued (with those clear gel like circles) to both the back and front book covers. I did have some difficulty pealing the pattern away from the front cover and ripped the book cover. As a warning, peel very slowly and be prepared to tear the inside of the book cover. The little gel like circle adhesives came off the pattern sheets very easily. Seems like an envelope for the patterns would of worked better but I consider this a minor annoyance and would still purchase the book. I selected the extra small (18" inside crown measurement that fits 6 - 12 months). There are other sizes (small/19"/12-24 months, med/20"/3-4 years, large/21"/6-8 years). I measured lil' AC who is 3 and she fit right into the book's sizing given her age group. The bucket hat had no layout instructions for this three piece pattern. While cutting it out, I realized that this pattern is GREAT for using up your scraps. It really takes almost no fabric. The instructions call for 1/3 yard of each fabric. Just think of the possibilities of mixing brim, crown and band fabrics to create some great looking hats. I stuck with this fabric scheme because I wanted to add to my Kimono style PJs ensemble my husband had gifted to a friend earlier in the month. It took hardly any time at all to cut out the pattern pieces and attach the interfacing. The directions called for sew-in interfacing but I don't have any and the iron-on worked just fine for me. My fabrics are cotton but seemed lighter than most cottons. The directions only call for interfacing one side of the brim but in retrospect, I think I should of lined both sides. I think I would of liked a little more stiffness in the brim. (Note: the optional top stitching does give the brim more body too.) I followed the directions in the Assemble the Cap portion exactly. I found that it was best to use a lot of pins in step 2 (sewing the crown to the band) and to make lots of clips/slits to ease in that curve.

There was also a noticeable amount of difference in "give" for each of my fabrics. The solid navy fabric had almost no give and it was harder to ease in and required more work in the form of lots of pins and clipping. The "checkered" fabric had lots of give and the crown and band eased in very nicely. I was working with true scraps as I cut out the fabric pieces and I may not have cut correctly on the grain and that could of influenced "fabric give". Next time, I will give my fabrics a little tug to test the give before making my final choice. I also did the top stitching at the crown. It seems to help keep the hat shape better.

The next section, Making and Attach the Brim, is where I deviated from the instructions. Because I had the wisdom of Jessica at A Little Gray, I only did steps 1 and 2 and did a portion of step 3 (making the brim). I did sew the brim pieces together, as the book suggests, but then I followed Jessica's lead and sewed each brim to its matching cap portion. This gives you 2 hats.

Jessica's method eliminates the need to hand sew the cap (crown and band) to the brim as depicted in Step 2 in Finish the Hat section. Time is always a premium for me and machine sewing is a lot faster.

I added the little baseball patch to the navy side once the brim was attached to the cap. Better... less boring now.

Taking the two hats and placing them right sides together and matching the notches, as Jessica suggests, I sewed the edges of the brims together using a 1/2" seam allowance (as the book directs) but I left a 2.5 gap.
That might be a bit hard to see but take a look here. I trimmed the seam down to 1/8" except where the open gap was. This is an important step in Jessica's deviation... don't trim that un-sewn brim portion (that 2.5" gap). Once I turned it right sides out, I first finger pressed the brim edge as directed by the book. I wasn't pleased with the result and then pressed it with the iron to tuck in the open seam and even out the remaining brim seam.
At this point, you can start making your brim top stitching. I did get some wrinkling in the brim area that I left open for turning but I was able to smooth that out after I pressed the brim. 

In summary, I really like the bucket hat because it went together quickly (maybe an hour of sewing time), the instructions were easy (the ones that I did follow), and I can see lots of great fabric combinations. I'll be sewing another bucket hat for lil' AC next.

Next month's sew-a-long project is that cute little penguin backpack. I hope you can join Jessica's Sew-a-long!!



  1. Your patch is adorable, such a nice touch. Glad you are enjoying the sew-along!

  2. I love the patch! I think I will have to do one the next time I make another bucket hat!

  3. Great review and great hat...I especially love the patch! :)

  4. Your combination of fabrics is perfect.

  5. Love the patch, it adds a little spunk to the solid side!