Summer is in full swing, and in the US that means county fair season. I've always wanted to enter a county fair and last year I finally did it. It was a fun experience overall and everything I entered ended up with a ribbon, which was neat (although I still have zero clue what to do with said ribbons). So why not do it again? This year our local fair has a special crochet category for an item inspired by a vintage style. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to try my hand at crocheting a cloche hat. The hat is fairly simple looking, so it probably won't be a ribbon contender. But I don't really mind because it's an excuse to make the cloche hat I've always secretly wanted.
These elegant hats were all the rage back in the 1920s. I'm sure you've seen vintage photographs of women wearing them. While the colors, materials, and accessories of the hats vary, all of the cloche hats feature that characteristic bell ("cloche" in French) shape. There are lots of cloche-style crochet patterns out there and I spent a while sifting through them. Ultimately, I decided to make the "Elegant Hat" pattern designed by Kim Guzman, with a few small modifications.
I decided to make mine using a skein of I Love This Cotton! in Aubergine because it has a nice sheen to it and the cotton yarn tends to make stiffer stitches that hold their shape better than acrylic yarn. Kim's pattern is easy to follow, but I definitely had issues with the gauge. At first I thought it might just be me, since I crochet pretty tightly, but after looking through the Ravelry comments/project notes, it seems to be a common issue. So make sure to CHECK YOUR GAUGE if you're planning to make one of these hats. In order to match the gauge, I had to size up from the recommended G hook all the way up to an I hook. Even then it still came out on the smaller size. Which is fine, since I have a tiny head, but if you have an average-to-large sized head, you'll probably need to do some tweaking.
I used a magic circle to start off my hat, since I think it's neater, and then added an extra band row for a bit more length. I also added an extra row to the brim since it was looking too short. I love Kim's design of directly crocheting the band on (so clever!), but I didn't like how the reverse single crochet looked, so I swapped it out for a regular single crochet stitch. And, since I'm lazy, I just chained 1 and moved on to the next band row instead of crocheting each row individually and having to deal with all those extra yarn ends. I also finished off the bow by slip stitching around the edges to give it a neater look and then sewed the bow directly over the seam from the band rows to hide it. Other than that, I just followed the pattern as written.
I love how this hat turned out! Like I mentioned, this pattern's on the small size, so keep an eye on that when you're making it, but it's a great basic cloche design. Fashion and I are kind of like estranged cousins who know about each other and will occasionally bump into each other at family gatherings but who mostly live their lives apart, so I have zero clue if this is "in" right now. But I think it's super classy and cute. And, if nothing else, you can pull off just about anything with the right amount of confidence ;)
Thank you to Kim for sharing this fun, free crochet pattern!
Have you ever made a cloche hat? Or is there another vintage style that's near and dear to your heart? I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below or on social media. Happy hooking!
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