Military berets have a crisp look that is easily copied for berets made at home. The berets are made of wool or cotton fleece, which holds the shape well once the beret is finished. Acrylic fibres are not recommended for making berets that need a crisp look. The pattern is cut and sewn, and then the hat is blocked. Blocking is the process of stretching and forming a hat to the desired appearance. Berets are blocked using warm water and a mould for stretching the form. There are no special skills required, and anyone is capable of making this beret.
Tape a piece of string into the centre of one of the pieces of tracing paper, and tie a pencil onto the string six inches from the taped side. Hold your finger on the string in the centre, pull the string taut and draw a circle around the centre. Remove the tape and string.
Cut out the circle. Trace the circle onto the second piece of tracing paper, and cut it out.
Tape a piece of string into the centre of one of the pieces of tracing paper, and tie a pencil onto the string 4 inches from the taped side. Hold your finger on the string in the centre, pull the string taut and draw a circle around the centre. Remove the tape and string.
Fold the tracing paper with the circle in the centre in half, and cut a slit. This gives you a place scissors go through for cutting. Cut out the inner circle, and throw it away.
Measure the person's head where the band of the beret fits, and add 1 inch to the measurement. If the head is 20 inches, the measurement is 21 inches. Cut a piece of tracing paper 21 inches by 6 inches.
Place all of the pattern pieces on the felt, and pin the pieces in place with stick pins. Cut out all of the parts.
Lay the solid circle of felt on a flat surface. Place the circle with the centre cut out on top.
Pin the outer edges of the circles together. Make sure all of the edges are even before pinning the circles together.
Sew around the pinned edge half an inch from the edge. Try to keep the seam consistent all the way around the edge. Remove the pins.
Fold the 21 inch by 6 inch band in half. Fold it so it measures 21 inches by 3 inches.
Pin the edges all the way down the three inch side on the unfolded edge. Sew the pinned edge, and turn the tube right side out. Iron the tub into a neat, flat band.
Pin the band into the 11-inch circle of the top of the hat. Sew around the top of the band 1/2 inch from the pinned edge, and sew a straight line down the ends of the band connecting them together 1/2 inch from the end.
Wet the beret in warm water in the sink. Lay it on a towel, and press a second towel on top removing the excess water.
Force a 12-inch dinner plate into the hat. Don't worry, it won't hurt the band.
Let the hat dry until the next day. Remove the plate, and the hat holds a stiff, military look.
Things you need
- 1 yard of wool or cotton fleece material
- 1 piece of 20-inch string or yarn
- 2 pieces of 20 by 20-inch tracing paper
- Long sheet of tracing paper
- Sewing machine
- Stick pins
- Yard stick
- 1 dinner plate, 12-inch