We love making hats for 18" dolls, using stitches and steam to turn flat fabric into three-dimensional brims and crowns.
Who needs to buy straw or felt hats when it's so easy to turn soft denim and twill or lightly interfaced cotton calico into shapes as cute as our CALIFORNIA GIRL SUN HAT!
Our sun hat starts with a head-hugging six-gore crown. Make the crown out of two alternating colors, a single color, three colors or even six colors. We'll show you how to adapt our stitching, pressing and topstitching directions to your choice.
Next up is the lightly curved and "flipped" sun hat brim. Designing doll brims can be a challenge. Though the dolls are approximately 30% human scale, their heads are over 50% as are their hat crowns. But a brim that matches such a crown can look cartoonishly large.
We're super proud of this brim, which we think hits the perfect scale compromise. It's drafted to be just wide enough to balance and flatter the doll's face, suggesting a wide-brimmed sun hat without actually being wide-brimmed.
Finally, the CALIFORNIA GIRL SUN HAT is fully lined, so no seam edges will catch on your doll's hair. The Lee & Pearl pattern designer studied professional hat design at the Fashion Institute in New York, where she learned to create an easy two-piece lining that is slightly smaller than the finished crown for a perfectly smooth interior.
The CALIFORNIA GIRL SUN HAT is rated EASY/INTERMEDIATE.
The construction of this hat is simple. The crown fits together in a series of nearly straight seams, and we walk you through topstitching the brim, attaching it to the crown, and inserting the lining, using mostly machine stitching, with limited hand basting and finishing recommended.
As usual, Lee & Pearl's photo-illustrated directions and computer-drafted, guaranteed-to-fit-together pattern pieces make each step as easy as possible.
But making a hat that holds its own shape is not quite the same as making a piece of clothing that gets its shape from the body inside. Though no step in this process is difficult, it is important that every step be followed exactly.
Since launching our Etsy shop with a single 18" doll pattern in July of 2013, Lee & Pearl have built a reputation for quality patterns that sew easily and fit perfectly. You will never find a mis-matched curve in a Lee & Pearl pattern! But along with those reliable pieces, clear directions and carefully drafted measurements, Lee & Pearl are proud of our reputation for making patterns for doll clothes — clothes that anyone can make — that look just like the real thing.
Whether it's a perfectly layered and balanced tutu, or a skating dress with a skirt carefully drafted to hang just like the real ones, or a slinky wrap dress indistinguishable from a '70s original, or a unisex t-shirt that manages to be both unfitted and fitted enough to slip under jackets, or a replica U.S. Army uniform that has to be seen — and made — to be believed, or... we could go on and on.
And don't get us started on our hat patterns. Lee & Pearl designer, Elizabeth Atwater Menes, studied millinery at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Perfectly made hat patterns will always be a Lee & Pearl specialty.
And don't forget to visit the Fabric & Trim Kit section of our Etsy shop, to share the wonderful, hard-to-find fabrics and materials we are lucky to be able to source here in the Los Angeles garment district. Check our selection regularly for new additions before they sell out — or scroll down and subscribe to our mailing list to hear about new kits as soon as they launch!
We LOVE doll craft tutorials. We love to watch them, read them and most of all, we love to make them.
We also link to our own, and other favorite tutorials from crafters around the Internet, on our Pinterest Crafts & Tutorials Board.
One of our most popular tutorial features is the FREE "Tweak the Pattern" we often feature in our monthly newsletters.
We love it when people take our patterns beyond the outfit on the cover. In fact, we often do that ourselves. And when we do, we love to put those ideas into free pattern or tutorial form for our Newsletter subscribers.
Here are a few of our recent pattern tweaks:
Use the FREE Tweak the Pattern skirt pieces to turn popular Pattern #1055: Skating Dresses for 18" Dolls into a whole range of red carpet, recital, Ice Princess and bridal gowns.
Here's a swimsuit Tweak of Pattern #1051: Ballet Basics for 18" Dolls — and here's an easy felt beanie tweak of Pattern #1008: Classic Ball Cap and Big Fat Trucker Hat for 18" Dolls.
Don't worry if you missed any of these tweaks: all newsletter content, including the FREE Tweak the Pattern downloads, are available in our Newsletter Archive.