How to Make Buckram Hats

By Andrea Hamilton ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Hat pattern
  • Scissors
  • Dressmaker's pins
  • Heavy buckram
  • Hat wire
  • Fabric
  • Lining fabric
  • Needle
  • Thread
Buckram gives shape to structured pillbox styles.

Buckram is a stiff, lightweight fabric that is often used to construct hats in contemporary millinery. In centuries past, milliners used horsehair, leather and felt. Now the same shapes can be created with a more pliable material and covered with fabric. Buckram works in countless designs, including vintage styles, wide-brimmed hats and pillbox fashions. To complete this project, use a commercial hat pattern or create one.

Cut out the hat's pattern pieces and pin them to the fabric, lining fabric and buckram. Cut the pattern shapes and remove the pins.

Sew the buckram base together according to the pattern's instructions. Do this by hand to avoid crumpling the base. If the crown of the hat is to curve like the top of your head, cut seven 1-inch slits around the buckram base. Overlap each slit by 1/2 inch at the outer edge; this will give the crown of the hat the necessary curve.

Wrap the hat wire around the outer brim of the hat to measure it for size. Cut it off at the point where the edges meet and sew the wire to the buckram.

Sew the hat's lining together according to the pattern's specifications. Keep the fabric's right sides together throughout the process to give the hat a smooth finish. Place the lining inside the hat with the right side facing out and sew the lining's edges to the buckram's outer brim.

Sew the hat's outer fabric together in the way prescribed by the pattern, again keeping right sides together. Place the hat's outer layer on top of the buckram to hide it completely and fold the fabric's outside edge over to meet the lining. Do not pull too hard, because the buckram will buckle.

Sew the outer fabric to the lining fabric using discreet diagonal stitches. Knot the thread underneath the facing fabric and trim away the excess.

About the Author

Andrea Hamilton has enjoyed being a writer since 1996. She has been published as a poet in "Fine Lines Magazine." Hamilton holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Iowa State University and is pursuing a Master of Arts in creative writing from London South Bank University.