DIY: Sorting Hat

Every Potterhead needs a sorting hat. There are so many practical uses: Christmas tree topper, ceremonial sorting application, Universal attire, rainy day wear…

You just need one, and the Internet does a poor job of providing an authentic option worthy of your own wizarding world. So I’m going to show you how to make your own.

First, let me give credit where credit is due. I adapted this idea originally from a blog post at Simple Practical Beautiful. You can check it out here if you would like to explore additional instruction.

You’re going to need a simple witch hat pattern. I used McCall’s 7225 to make mine and found it created a good size hat. I also used the adult size option in order to make it extra floppy. I went the route of the original post and purchased an old jacket from my local Goodwill.

When you take apart your jacket, try to leave most of the seams intact. This will give your hat more character in the long run. I only pulled apart as many seams as were necessary to lay the fabric of the jacket flat.

To distress your fabric, there are a variety of options. I used some metallic paint to give it a little brown shimmer in places (you know, for magic). I also used a spray of regular fabric softener on mine. Since it was suede, it did a good job of discoloring it just enough. I only treated the fabric in certain places so it would resemble the literary patched sorting hat. The seams are a great place to smooth on some darker paint.

Once it was distressed to my liking, I laid the hat’s main fabric piece over the jacket. You can see here where I created the tip of the tip of the hat by free-handing a curve for its shape.

I also cut the brim from a smaller section of fabric. To create stiffness in the hat, I added a heavyweight fusible interfacing to the top hat sections as shown here.

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I used the remaining scraps of fabric to create the face of the hat and add some bulk to the larger piece. I folded them over so I could tack it down and sew it on. If you look closely, you can see where I created the eyes and mouth of the hat. I used a lighter color thread to machine-sew these on to leave a little variation in my hat. I also tacked the corners of the mouth and the separation of the eyes by hand, which you will be able to see a little more easily in the finished product.

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Once you sew these pieces on, you can cut the remaining edges off in the original shape of the hat. Then assemble the hat according to your pattern’s instructions. However, before you finish the seam on the outside brim of the hat, create a slip for your wire. You can do this by stitching a hem wide enough for the wire to freely be pulled through. I ended up doing two seams, since the first one I made here wasn’t large enough. I would suggest ½” to ¾” for this purpose, depending on the thickness of your wire. I used regular wrapped floral wire, but there are many other options available if you find this difficult to work with. Once your wire is pulled completely through, close up the seam.

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And there he is! You can see a little better where I tacked the fabric to create the eyes. A simple slipknot does the trick there. The hat does a good job standing on its own, but I stuffed it with fiberfill so it would sit squarely on a little one’s head. This hat worked quite nicely for me. Comment below if you try it out and learn any new tricks of your own!

“So put me on!

Don’t be afraid!

And don’t get in a flap!

You’re in safe hands, though I have none,

For I’m a Thinking Cap.”

-JK Rowling, The Philosopher’s Stone

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