Tips & Tricks for Making Buckram Frame Hats

The following are tips and tricks that have come up during workshops and through feedback from users that will help make your hat making experience go a lot smoother.
Download the pdf version click here       (note that this page includes more info)

A Word On Construction:
Most hats are made the same way. I currently have only two different sets of instructions for that reason. It doesn't matter what style of hat is shown, the techniques may be the same. So if you are looking through the instructions and your hat style isn't shown, it doesn't matter. Just keep following the directions.


PRE-PUNCH HOLES-Important First Step Prior To Wiring The Side Band :
When sewing the side band together at the center back, and installing the tip to the side band, you will find that it may be difficult to get the needle through. If you stitch or 'pre-punch' holes in the side band in certain areas prior to wiring the side band, this process becomes much easier.

Simply remove all thread from the machine. Use a Size 14 or 16 needle. Set the machine stitch length to the longest possible length. Stitch along the edges as per the following diagram. This will pre-punch holes in the buckram and provide you with sufficient holes for hand stitching later.


Gluing Fabric to the Brims:
Any style or any hat with a curled brim requires that the brim covers be tailor tacked or glued down to the buckram and then curled. When gluing, for best results, make SURE that you do not over saturate the buckram with glue.

The goal is to spread the glue over the buckramĀ  as lightly as possible and to cover the entire surface with glue up to about 1/4" from the edge. It is important to get glue on the entire surface, otherwise bubbles in the fabric will emerge where the glue hasn't grabbed.

Do not press the fabric down in place, just lightly smooth it into the glue. For best results, glue one side and then let it dry. Go back and glue the other side later. If necessary, use a wider glue brush for greater surface coverage. Alternate method: hand tack stitch the fabric to the brim.

4) Materials:
French elastic can be used in place of bias tape around the edges of the brim and crown bottom to cover and reinforce the wire. We do not recommend it for the crown tip to cover as glue and bias tape makes a sturdier junction.
5) Hand Sewing vs Machine Sewing:
All patterns can be hand sewn rather than machine sewn. It is a personal preference whether to hand or maschine sew. Hand sewing just takes a lot longer.

Curling the Brims Up or Down:
Buckram varies in weight and ability to curl. If you are using a DND hat kit, then curl the brims after the glue has dried on the brim, and after the brim edge has been sewn on. This may be contrary to your instructions, but you will get better results.

Before attaching the crown to the brim, curl the brim edges by steaming lightly and rolling the edges up. The buckram will wrinkle or crack if it is steamed too much and will not obtain a nice rolled curl. Steam a little at a time and roll upward using both hands to manipulate the buckram until you get the desired results.

- after the crown and brim are attached, steam lightly and curve the wire and buckram downward.


Attaching the Crown to the Brim:
This can be made a lot easier if you first align Center Front and Center Back on both pieces. Take a few tack stitches at each point that are strong enough to hold the two points in place. Then go back and stitch the remainder of the Crown to the Brim. This method will make it a lot easier to sew the remaining parts together.

8) Hand sewing the Sideband cover to the Crown tip:
When sewing the side band cover to the completed Crown, it may be helpful to use paper clamps at the bottom to hold it in place