How to Make a Gaucho Hat

Written by melissa j. bell | 13/05/2017
How to Make a Gaucho Hat
Silhouettes of gaucho on horseback (Gaucho Monument image by rrruss from

"Gaucho," a word usually intended to refer to people in the grasslands and lowlands areas in South America, also describes a "cowboy" type of person. Like American cowboys, gauchos were historically cattle herders and have become idealised in the popular culture. The traditional gaucho costume typically includes a poncho, trousers, boots and a wide-brimmed hat. You can make your own gaucho hat to accessorise a costume and complete the image of the iconic gaucho.

Cut a square piece of black felt that is large enough to fit over your hat block. Choose a hat block that has a plain oval crown with a flat top. If you do not have a hat block, you can make your own by taping pieces of card stock or other thick paper together into the shape of a crown or by cutting plastic foam into this shape.

Cover the hat block with a plastic bag, leaving no gaps. This will keep the block clean while you work. Lay the piece of black felt over the hat block, and pin it to the block, using the T-pins.

Smooth the felt over the crown so that there are no wrinkles. Move the pins to the base of the crown, where the felt bunches. Smooth the felt so that the bunches are below the base of the crown.

Mix together a stiffening agent, such as shellac, clear acrylic, or clear glue, with a small amount of water. Paint the stiffening agent onto the felt. Let the felt dry completely.

Take the pins out of the felt crown, and trim the bunched part of the felt so that the crown has a smooth base. Remove the crown from the hat block.

Lay the crown onto a single layer of the black felt. Trace around the base of the crown so that you transfer the circumference to the felt. Remove the crown.

Draw a second, larger circle around the smaller circle, creating as wide a brim as you want for your gaucho hat. Cut both circles from the felt, and discard the smaller circle.

Paint your stiffening agent onto the brim, coating it completely. Let the felt dry.

Hand sew the brim to the crown along the crown base, using a slip stitch. Cover the stitching with black ribbon, and hot glue the ribbon to the felt.

Cut two long pieces of thin black cording, and sew them to opposite sides of the base of the crown, inside the gaucho hat. Tie the ends of the cording together.

Things you need

  • Black felt
  • Scissors
  • Hat block
  • Plastic bag
  • T-pins
  • Stiffening agent
  • Paintbrush
  • Fabric pencil
  • Black ribbon
  • Sewing needle
  • Strong thread
  • Hot glue
  • Black cording

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