Friday, June 25, 2010

how to make a newsboy cap

this may seem like a random thing to post but i can explain.
i am currently working on a historical documentary film. as half of the 2 person wardrobe department, which includes, among other things, dressing about 400 extras over 2 weeks of filming.
date range from 1910-1936. whoo hoo!
it's keeping me busy from roughly noon-2am for 3 weeks.
here's a scene they want to recreate:
and so - the newsboy caps.
cut out a pattern that looks like this - essentially a large circle with a smaller one inside.
i've got 22 inches across the big outside one, then within it drew a 16 inch one. folding the paper made it easier to cut the triangular wedges out.
for the moon shaped piece i traced the edge of a baseball cap and it's about 3 inches across at the centre of the 'moon.'
in a tweed-ish fabric, cut one of the large piece and 2 moon shapes. then cut one moon of cardboard or plastic. (i used cereal box cardboard but i'd recommend something more solid & washable if you'll be using the hat for more than a one time costume - ie part of a pop bottle. you'd also want a lining.)
pin the brim pieces together and pin the large piece so each triangle cut out becomes closed again.
the hat will start to take shape...

when sewing the main part of the hat, curve toward the centre as you go - it will make the hat more circular on top. put the cardboard in the brim and sew it right sides together to the main part of the hat. tada.
that was easy right? uhhh... ha ha sorry. it is more simple to do than it is to explain...
repeat as needed.

i'll see you again when the film is wrapped. so happy canada day this thursday!

Update:  While I appreciate the interest, I have been getting emails and questions about this post daily.  It has been over 4 years since I have made the hats.
Yes the pattern size was as described.  If the hat is too big, sew with larger seam allowances and remember that the floppy excess gets pulled forward and tacked to the brim. 
Adjust the pattern for hats for children. 


  1. the hat looks incredible! and kinda easy to make... kinda!
    cant wait to see more of the costumes!!

  2. Mel~ You are so amazing!! that is awesome that you made those and share the info! I think it is so incredible that you are working on a documentary! You are so inspiring!!

  3. Such a great tutorial, I love those hats, but making my own would never even have occurred to me, I'm going to give it a try!!
    From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

  4. Oh my goodness. I love this. I must try to make one. Your blog looks so good. Love all of your pictures. Keep up the good work. Keep on Creating. Please visit my Mad Tea Party.

  5. thanks ladies!
    i'll have to post some pics when we're done - i haven't had time to take some myself, but there is a stills photographer :)

  6. Hi Mel, Thanks for popping in to visit me at Rebel BLossom I appreciate your comment! :) It's so nice to 'meet' you!

  7. AHH! I love your site! It's so PRETTY. Are you still in France? I love reading about your travels! You make them all sound so appealing that I wish I were there too! So excited to be following you. Can't wait to see where to next!!

  8. I was so glad to find this and can't wait to try it. My son wore one for a musical this Christmas, and I have had the most difficult time finding one small enough to fit properly. So I will be experimenting with the paper first to get the right size. Thanks so much!

  9. Thx for this page. I have wanted a real wool tweed Gatsby cap for years but can't find any I can afford. I bought a newsboy cap from Duluth Trading Post but when it came it was smaller, without the overlap the real caps from the 30's have.

    Your instructions are very simple and easy to follow. Again THANKS!

  10. This is exactly what I was looking for and much easier than other patterns I have seen. It looks much more authentic. I am making a hat for a 1920's costume.

  11. I used atom box agenda but i'd acclaim something added solid & washable if you'll be application the hat for added than a one time apparel - ie allotment of a pop bottle. you'd aswell wish a lining.

    Porkpie Hats

  12. I sewed the little edges back up and have the brim ready to sew on but the hat looks HUGE! What do you do for an edging? Does it fold in on itself somehow?

  13. Shirley - I didn't do any sort of edging, as the hats were just being used for a single scene in the film, one time use thing. It had to be done quick.
    If the hat's too big, I would take it in at the base, but do leave some volume on the top to be able to pull the top toward the brim and tack it down, to get the proper look.

  14. Thank you for posting this hat tutorial. I absolutely love it and hope I can recreate it in a child size version. I'm in the process of making my toddler's(girl) Halloween costume---old school golfer (all in pink and blue plaid with an argyle sweater,etc).

  15. Great pictures and instructions but I do have one question, would the top fabric be long enough to pull over on top of the brim to make a hat that looks more like this?

  16. @Melody - That hat is a completely different type of construction that is a lot more structured. This pattern would not give you the same result.

  17. I think this was a GREAT pattern. My Grandson needed this pattern for this hat he was using for a school project. It was perfect. And it was so easy. Again Thank You.

  18. Thanks for this I needed a cap for a photo shoot for my son and I did not want to buy one or cut out million pieces so this is right on time!

  19. What a great post! I happen to be searching for a newsboy hat pattern because I am doing costumes for the local college (as a volunteer) for their upcoming production of Oliver :-D

  20. Thanks for the pattern. I'm working on a small film set in the mid-30's. I needed some newsboy hats of various colors, patterns and sizes. I adjusted for size as needed. I did add a liner for the faux leather hats and grosgrain ribbon around the rim but, this is an excellent easy and quick pattern to use when working on deadlines.


thank you for leaving a comment! i love to know what you think :)


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