DIY reversible wide-brimmed sun hats

Working at a drugstore cosmetic counter as a teenager set me up for a lifelong devotion to sunscreen and shade — as well as an obsession with face creams, actually. So during this time of year when my kids are spending hours in the hot sun, every single day? Sunscreen city.

But I’m also a hat-pusher. Hats! Shade! Put that hat back on, gah! The kids each have a few ballcaps but I recently modified a great free sewing pattern from Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S in order to make hats with extra-wide brims to really protect their faces from the sun.

You need only half a metre of two different fabrics to make the hat reversible. I picked coordinating “Beautiful Garden Girl” Studio E fabrics from Atlantic Fabrics for my daughter’s hat, and simple kelly green and turquoise fabrics for my son’s hat.

Ready to make your own? Here’s what you need to cut:

  • Two crowns (one from each fabric)
  • Four sides (two from each fabric)
  • Four brims (two from each fabric)
  • Four brim-sized pieces of midweight interfacing

Start by sewing the two coordinating side pieces, right sides together, at the sides to make two circles that kind of look like headbands …

See? Two “headbands” … sort of.

Then sew each circle to its corresponding crown, right sides together. When you flip it right-side out, you’ll have two fabric “bowls.” You have two hats, kind of, so now it’s time to focus on the brims.

Iron the four pieces of midweight interfacing to the four brim pieces to make them sturdier. After all, your kids don’t want their hats drooping down and flopping in front of their face when they’re on the swings.

Sew the coordinating brims, right sides together, at the sides — giving you two brims to attach to your two not-quite-finished hats. Pin each brim to its corresponding “hat,” right sides together, and sew all the way around each. You’ll be left with two unlined hats, and now it’s time to attach them so you have one reversible hat!

Lay both hats right sides together and attach them by sewing all around the outer edge of the brims — leaving a 10cm gap where you can turn the whole thing right side out. It will look like a weird two-hatted monster until you smush one hat inside the other and neatly sew up the little hole.

The final step is the fun part — sewing a few lines of topstitching all the way around the brim to give it even more stability.

It doesn’t matter which side you sew through, but make sure your top thread matches the brim fabric on top and your bottom bobbin thread matches the brim colour underneath. For my son’s hat, I topstitched on the turquoise brim using turquoise thread, and put green thread on the little bobbin so you can can only see green stitching when the hat’s flipped that way.

I think I’ll add elastic bands next time, for under their chins, since we live on a very windy hill. In the meantime, the weight of these interfaced brims keeps them in place pretty nicely.

The kids are crazy about their new hats and have already requested many other combinations. They think it’s so fun to reverse them any time they want and get a totally new-looking hat. All clothes should totally be reversible.

This project has been sponsored by Atlantic Fabrics’ six locations across Nova Scotia, including the brand-new Halifax store on Parkland Drive.

So what do you think?

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