Sunday, October 21, 2012

Donald Duck Costume: Hat Tutorial

I mentioned in the main costume post that I couldn't find a tutorial for a Donald Duck hat, and the offerings available for sale just weren't what I was looking for. I decided to attempt to make one myself, and I was surprised at how easy it actually was.
I'm going to go over how I put it together. I was sort of winging it, so hopefully this all makes sense.
For your Donald Duck hat, you will need:
Fabric: Mid-weight cotton or flannel for the main hat. Heavier would be better than too light. Your hat needs some structure. I used about 1/2 yard, but I had a bit left over, and this will vary depending on how big you want your hat to be. Mine is on the large size.
You'll also need a small piece for the "tail" at the top of the hat. I used scraps of quilt weight cotton; you really only need a little bit
Batting or Needlepunch: the same amount as your fabric. Not too lofty, as you aren't looking to pad the hat, just stabilize it.
Wide elastic: Black, at least 3 inches wide and long enough to go around the top of the recipient's head
A large button (optional)
Thread and your sewing machine
The first step is to measure the head of your recipient. Donald's hat sits at the top of his head, and you want the elastic to be snug. Ideally, you should try it on your recipient to be sure it fits. If you just have a measurement, I would use 1/2 to 1 inch less than the recipient's head.
Lap your elastic ends over one another and zigzag with a wide stitch over the seam, catching the raw edge in your stitching. 
Elastic with ends joined to form a ring
It should look like this. Now we are going to make the pattern pieces for the main hat. You will need two large circles of both your main fabric and the batting.
Measuring the larger circle
I used the circle formed by my elastic as a basis for my pattern, roughly drawing a circle 3 1/2 inches around the circumference of the elastic, as shown.
Your pattern, chalked onto main fabric
I also chalked the circumference of the elastic ring onto one piece of my main fabric and added a 1/2 inch seam allowance INSIDE the inner circle. You'll cut this smallest circle out of only one of your main pieces and this will be where you attach your elastic. Don't cut the smaller circle out of the batting/needlepunch. Leaving this circle intact helps to stabilize the shape of the hat.
Once you've cut out your circles (two of the main fabric and two of the batting), baste the main fabric circles to their corresponding pieces of batting around the outside edge.
Circle basted and elastic joined
Now you're ready to attach the elastic to the lower part of the hat. This is a little tricky.
Main fabric tucked into inside out elastic ring
I flipped the elastic inside out at pulled it over the edge of the main fabric ring and align the cut edge of the fabric with the edge of the elastic. Sew around this circle using your 1/2 inch seam allowance. Don't include the batting in your stitching at this point.
Batting still loose, elastic stitched to main fabric
Now you want to topstitch the elastic to the batting layer around the seam. Tuck the seam allowances between the main fabric and the batting to hide them and edgestitch onto the main fabric, through the seam allowances and the batting.
Edgestitching around the elastic
Your bottom half of your hat should now look like this.
Batting side, with the ring of edgestitching visible
Now we'll make and attach the tail to the top of the hat.
Drawing the tail
I folded the top piece in half to give me a rough dimension and drew the shape of the tail onto my fabric with chalk. I know, it ain't rocket science, y'all. Cut two of this shape and seam them together, leaving the top edge open for turning. Turn it and push out the points of the tail with a turner or other blunt instrument. Press it flat, tucking under the open edge and seam it to the center of your top piece.
The two pieces, ready to seam together
Now you are ready to attach the pieces of the hat together! Put the two circles right sides together, and seam them all the way around, being sure to catch all four layers.
Seamed together, before turning
Leave an opening a few inches long to turn the hat out.
Ready for hand sewing
Turn it right sides out, press lightly and close your opening with a few handstitches.
Sew on your button through the main fabric and both layers of batting. This will help further stabilize that shape of the hat.
Put in on your kid or yourself!


  1. Cute costumes for your cute kids!!!! Love all the details and the colors. Nice job!!!

  2. I concur~! Cute costumes... you're kids are adorable!

  3. UnderstandableD.duckOctober 8, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    Thank you for the instructions. Am a retired Grandma, enjoy working with children, been talking like Donald since I was 12, Want to use talent for the children at hospital and maybe a few daycares. Just needed the hat.