How to Make a Top Hat

Updated April 17, 2017

This top hat pattern is a perfect costume accessory for a play, Halloween or a parade. It uses custom measurements of the person who will be wearing it for a perfect fit. Purchase felt to ensure your seams will not fray and to give you a nice sturdy finish. Felt also has a give to its fibres that will allow you to stretch it slightly to fit. This top hat is very easy to make and can easily be sewn in an evening.

Measure around the head for the circumference. The circumference is the measurement around a circle.

Figure the diameter of the circle. The diameter slices across the circle. The formula for determining the diameter is: divide the circumference by pi (3.14).

Draw the diameter circle on newspaper using the compass. Add 8 inches to the diameter measurement and draw another circle on the outside rim of the first. This pattern is your brim for the top hat. Cut out the pattern and remove the inner circle. Set the inner circle aside for later.

Fold the felt in two layers and pin the brim to the two layers. Cut the brim out of the felt. Sew a 1/4-inch seam allowance around the outer edge of the pinned brim. Trim the excess close to the seam and turn right side out. Press the seam and brim flat.

Pin the raw edges at the centre of the brim. Top stitch the raw edges close to the edge.

Draw a rectangle on the newspaper. Add 1/2 inch to the circumference length measurement. Draw the rectangle on the newspaper 8 inches wide by the new circumference measurement long. This pattern is for the sides of the top hat. Pin to one layer of the felt and cut out the one side piece.

Match the short ends of the side piece and pin. Sew a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Press the seams open.

Place the inner circle pattern that was cut from the centre of the brim on a single layer of felt. Pin in place. Cut around the circle adding an additional 1/4 inch around the edge. This is the crown of the top hat.

Pin the crown to one end of the top hat side. Sew the crown using a 1/4-inch seam. Turn right side out.

Place the brim of the top hat over the open end of the hat side. Match the right side of the hat with the brim's right side and pin. Sew the brim to the hat side using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

Pin the raw edge of the brim seam to the inside opening of the top hat. Top stitch the raw edge to the inside of the hat.


Sew stripes together for the sides of the top hat for a more novel and whimsical costume.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 yard felt
  • Matching thread
  • Newspaper
  • Measuring tape
  • Compass
  • Scissors
  • Calculator
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Cyndee Kromminga has been writing craft and interior design articles for 15 years. Her articles and craft designs have appeared in Crafting Traditions Magazine, Easy Holiday Crafting Series-House of White Birches Newsletter and Country Woman Christmas Books. Kromminga's education is in interior design and she has experience operating a craft and design business for more than 20 years.