How to Knit and Felt a Cloche Hat

This hat project uses knitting, felting and sewing techniques to create a vintage look.


Materials and Tools:

1 skein (195 yards) of Lamb's Pride Yarn color Chianti
size 11-16" circular needles
size 11 double-pointed needle
size 7 straight needles (for knitting cable)
stitch marker
tapestry needle
cable needle
fabric straight pins
knit gauge check
measuring tape
1/4-yard tweed fabric
sewing needle and thread
sewing machine
rectangle D-rings
pillowcase with zipper closure
washing machine
foam head
jeans or towel


1. To find your gauge (the number of stitches and rows per inch), cast on 16 stitches on size 11 straight needles and work in stockinette stitch (*K one row, P one row, repeat) for 20 rows. Measure the number of stitches per inch and number of rows per inch.

Gauge measurements:
Before felting gauge: 16 sts over 5-1/2-inches and 20 rows over 4-1/2-inches
After felting gauge: 16 stitches over 4-1/8-inches and 20 rows over 3-1/8-inches

2. Felt the swatch by placing it inside a pillowcase, then into the washing machine on a hot cycle, high agitation and lowest water level. Place an old pair of jeans or towel in the washer for agitation and add a little detergent. Remove before the rinse cycle.

3. Dry with a towel and record the new gauge so you know how much your swatch shrinks to get the desired fabric. Compare your gauge to the measurements and make necessary adjustments in the number of stitches to cast on.

4. Cast on 86 sts

*Join in round* Place a stitch marker at the first stitch so you will know the beginning of the round.
Knit 36 rows. (When working in the round, knit each row to produce the stockinette stitch.)
*K41 k2tog* repeat, decreasing 2 sts in the row.

5. Note: Switch to double-pointed needles when sts become snug around the circular needle.

6. To shape the crown:

*K6 K2 tog* repeat for whole row
K 1 row even
*K5 K2 tog* repeat for whole row
K1 row even
*K4, K2 tog* repeat for whole row

Keep decreasing in this way until *K 2 K 2 tog*, and skip even rows and only work decrease rows until 4 sts remain.

7. Pull yarn through the remaining sts with a tapestry needle and tie off on the inside of the hat.

8. Felt the hat as described in step 2.

9. Remove the hat from the washer and, while it is wet, shape it over the foam head. Allow to dry for up to 24 hours.

10. For the fabric brim, measure the circumference around the opening of the felted hat.

11. Cut a piece of fabric for the brim 24" x 4". Adjust these measurements if yours are different. Cut two additional pieces for small straps 3" x 1-1/2" that will attach to D-rings.

12. Turn under one long edge of the fabric of the brim and all edges of the additional straps. Top stitch the edges under on the sewing machine.

13. Knit the embellishment cable piece for the felt hat following these directions:

With size 7 straight needles, cable needle and yarn:
Cast on 10 sts

Row 1: P2, slide next 3 sts onto cable needle and hold to back, K next 3 sts from left needle, P2
Row 2: K2, P6, K2
Row 3: P2, K6, P2

Repeat rows 2 and 3 once more
Work Row 1: Cable row
Work rows 2 and 3, twice
Work Row 2
Work Row 1: Cable row
Work Row 2

P2, K3, attach new strand of yarn and K3, P2 working cable in two separate pieces at the same time.
Next Row K2, P6, K2
Repeat last two rows a total of 25 times ending on a WS (wrong side) row using one strand of yarn for whole row.
Repeat Row 1: Cable Row

*Work rows 2 and 3 twice
Work row 2
Repeat Row 1: Cable Row*
Repeat from*

D-Ring Ends
Working in two separate pieces at the same time
P2, K3, attach new strand of yarn, K3, P2
Next Row K2, P6, K2
Repeat these two rows until 11 rows total have been worked.
Bind off.

14. With right sides together, pin the unfinished edge of the brim fabric to the bottom edge of the hat. Machine-stitch the fabric to the hat. Stitch the short ends of the brim fabric with right sides together.

15. Turn the brim to the inside of the hat. Hand sew the hemmed edge to the inside of the hat.

16. Attach D-rings to the cable with yarn and tapestry needle. Feed the ends of the cable through the D-rings, wrap around, and with a needle whip stitch the cable back on itself.

17. Pin the cable to the hat. Hand sew the cable to the hat using a backstitch.

18. Wrap the fabric straps around the D-rings and pin them to the felted hat. Hand sew the straps to the hat.

Laura Irwin, Portland, Ore.

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