D.I.Y. Balmoral Hat - Pattern and Instructions
While perusing some of the old threads, I noticed one about Scottish Balmoral hats:
I used to wear an old LL Bean knitted “Tamoshanter” in the winter and about five years ago I had a hankering for something similar, but with a little more insulation and a more finished look. Since the Tamoshanter (or knitted Tam, as it’s usually called) is basically an informal knitted version of the Scottish Balmoral, I started looking at Balmorals. What I really wanted to find was one made from Harris Tweed wool - which didn’t seem to exist, either here in the U.S. or across the pond. After a long search, it became pretty obvious that if that was what I really wanted, I was going to have to make it myself.
The process started with half a dozen failed prototypes from scrap fabric, as I gradually figured out the shapes of the various pieces and the best way to assemble them. Once I had a reasonable pattern, I switched to real tweed, as well as some other fabrics and to date, I’ve probably made myself around ten of them. Winter versions are usually lined with Polar Fleece, and summer hats with satin. Materials cost is usually less than five bucks per hat (sometimes a lot less, depending on what I can find in the bargain bin at the fabric store) and even if one is built from an expensive hunk of Scottish tweed, it only takes about half of a yard.
The last step was to make a presentable copy of the final pattern, and while doing so, I figured I’d document the construction steps with photographs. I’m a sailmaker by trade, so I’m used to sewing, but I find making clothing extremely tedious, so there is no way I will ever become a hat maker. However, if anybody wants to see or download the pattern and photo series to make themselves a hat or two, that’s perfectly fine with me.
I don’t have a website, but I do have a couple small “web-closets” where I store rather unorganized files for work and play. The hat pattern is a PDF file, divided into multiple pages which can be printed out and joined together to make a full-sized pattern. By reducing or enlarging the scale of the printout, you can adjust the size of the hat. There are suggested amounts for different sizes at the end of the PDF. They should be pretty close, but it would be a good idea to do a test run with cheap fabric before cutting into an expensive piece of tweed. There is also a one-page “read me” file there with some assorted notes. Both of these files are located in this web closet. Go to the “music stuff” section and they are in the “Balmoral” folder. Due to limited storage space, things tend to come and go from the closet, depending upon what I happen to be working on at any given time – so if you want copies for future reference, save them to your own hard drive. The files are here:
The photo series that goes with them is in a different spot.
....and for your listening and dancing pleasure while making your hat, there is this one:
Here are a couple of examples. This one is Lovat Green Harris Tweed
...and this one is a hunk of Ultrasuede from the bargain bin.
Have fun and enjoy,
Last edited by Todd Bradshaw; 12-12-2012 at 01:44 AM.
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Thank you so much for putting up this tutorial. My wife bought me a sewing machine for Fathers Day this year, and I'm going to give this a go!
That is one fine looking hat. You did a fine job not only with the hat but with the instructions as well.
I may have to try this out with some pigskin or buckskin as I really like my leather hats.
Have fun. Maybe we can start a new fashion trend. When work slows down, I'm planning to try one with fold-up ear flaps and see if I can get them to nest inside the hat when not in use without making too much bulk (or maybe some sort of button-in system). It may look pretty goofy to have a Balmoral with ear flaps (kind of "Elmer Fudd visits Scotland") but there are some days in winter here when I wouldn't care.
Music to sew Balmorals by:
Bush Class Basic Certified
That's a great hat, and thanks for the info. I have my clan pin ready to go, now for the sewing....
What hats? All I see are some sweet axes hanging on the wall.
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how to print this pattern? thanks Patti
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Sorry, I pulled the pattern file for a while because I needed the space for work stuff. It's back now in the "music" section here:
I'd stick it in the Photoshop account with the picture series, but that website won't host a PDF file, so I have to use the Charter account for the PDF.
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thank from Patti
thanks I printed it and will save file photos to follow.
Patricia Smith, Kiltmaker
Have fun. It's a good way to use up scraps of expensive fabric. Of all the crazy things I've made over the years, I don't think anything has gotten the attention that the hats have. We have a convertible that we drive around on nice days and I wear one because otherwise your hair hurts after a while from flapping in the wind. I've had people at stoplights or from the sidewalk yell "I like your hat! Where can I get one?" I'd make them and sell them because it's a lot less tiring than crawling around on the floor making sails, but I'm not very efficient at making clothing.
My next project will be to build myself a deep-winter version with some sort of fold-in ear flaps. Possibly goofy looking, but hey, I live in Wisconsin. It gets seriously cold here and I already have tinitus 24/7 from the old days in the rock and roll business and don't need cold ears.