How to Knit a Flapper Hat

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Different types of head coverings have been popular in all eras--from Cleopatra's golden headpiece to Abraham Lincoln's stovepipe hat. During the 1920s flapper era, along with their straight tube dresses under rows of shimmy-ing fringe, women wore "flapper hats" or cloches--small caps that fit tight to their heads. These hats were often made of felt or were knitted or crocheted, and many women liked to embellish them by attaching a beaded, knitted, or crocheted flower to one side. It is not difficult to re-create a flapper hat by knitting one yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 oz. (122 yds) of polyester bulky weight yarn for hat
  • 1.75 oz. (115 yds) of nylon bulky weight yarn for flower
  • Blunt yarn needle
  • Size 7 knitting needles
  • Measuring stick
  • Scissors
  • Cast on 12 stitches, using the polyester yarn, and work 20 rows in stockinette stitch (that is, knit on the right side and purl on the wrong side) to test your gauge. Measure your test piece, which should measure 4 inches. If your test piece does not measure 4 inches, adjust your needle size accordingly (that is, use larger needles if your piece measured less than 4 inches, or use smaller needles if your piece measured more than 4 inches). When you have the correct gauge, unravel the yarn and cast on 58 stitches.

  • Knit rows 1 through 5. Work rows 6 through 9 in reverse stockinette stitch (that is, purl the right side rows and knit the wrong side rows). Knit rows 10 through 13. Continue working in stockinette stitch until the piece measures 4.5 inches from the beginning; end with a purl (wrong side) row.

  • To form the crown of the hat, on row 1, which is the right side, knit 4, then knit 2 together seven times, then knit 2 together, and knit the final 3 stitches. You should have 50 stitches now.

  • Knit rows 2 through 4 of the crown. For row 5, knit 3, then knit 2 together and knit 4 seven times, knit 2 together, and knit the final 3 stitches, leaving you with a total of 42 stitches total.

  • Knit rows 6 through 8. For row 9, knit 2, then knit 2 together and knit 3 seven times; then knit 2 together and knit the final 3, giving you a total of 34 stitches.

  • Knit the first stitch of row 10, then knit 2 together across the row until you come to the last stitch, which you knit, leaving you with a total of 18 stitches. Repeat row 10 for the eleventh row which will give you a final total of 10 stitches. Leave an 18-inch tail and cut the yarn; thread the tail through the blunt needle and thread the yarn through the stitches on the needle, pulling them together tightly. Sew the seam of the cap and weave the end of the tail through the wrong side of the cap.

  • For the optional flower embellishment, cast on 120 stitches, using the nylon yarn. Knit rows 1 through 4. For row 5, knit 3, then knit 2 together and knit 4 nineteen times. For the final three stitches on the needle, knit 2 together and knit the last one, leaving a total of 100 stitches.

  • Knit rows 6 through 9. For row 10, knit the first 2, then knit 2 together and knit 3 nineteen times; knit 2 together and knit the last stitch, giving you a total of 80 stitches. Knit rows 11 through 14. Bind off all the stitches on the needle and leave a long tail. Thread the blunt needle with the tail and weave it in and out of the bound-off edge. Pull the tail yarn gently to draw in the piece to form a flower. Sew several stitches at the base of the flower to keep it from coming undone, then sew it to the lower side of the cap.

Tips & Warnings

  • This pattern will make a hat for a head circumference of about 19 inches, so if you need a larger or smaller hat, you will have to adjust the number of stitches accordingly.
  • Experiment with various types of yarn for different effects.
  • Keep blunt needle and knitting needles out of the reach of small children.

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