How to Make a Scottish Hat

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Make your very own Scottish tam as a stylish hat.
Make your very own Scottish tam as a stylish hat. (Image: George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

A Scottish Tam o' Shanter, also known simply as a tam, is a traditional woolen beret made famous by the Jacobite army of John Graham of Claverhouse. The hat gained popularity partially due to the unpredictable weather patterns of Scotland; it became an everyday staple for men. Creating your own tam can be an entertaining craft project for a rainy day. Wear your finished product as part of a traditional Scottish costume, or simply make it an addition to your everyday accessories wardrobe.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Compass
  • Pen
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Heavy wool or fleece
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Pompom

Measure the circumference of your head, and divide the result by pi, or 3.14, to get the diameter. Divide the diameter in half to get the radius. Using your compass, draw a circle with this radius onto a piece of cardboard. Draw another circle inside the first one, making it smaller by half an inch. Create another circle that is two inches larger than your head's radius, as well as a final circle that is larger than the third circle by half an inch. Cut out the pattern, removing the smallest circle, so that you are left with a doughnut shape.

Fold your fabric in half, and place the pattern on top. Cut around the pattern, so that you are left with two circles of fabric; leave one circle whole, and use the doughnut hole in the pattern to create an opening in the second circle. The intact fabric circle will be your upper crown, while the doughnut-shaped fabric will be your lower crown.

Use scissors to cut a strip from your remaining fabric; this piece will be your headband, and it should measure three and a half to four inches wide, with a length that is half an inch longer than your head size. Sew the ends together with needle and thread, leaving a quarter-inch seam allowance. Fold the wrong sides of the headband together, and then sew them close to the edges.

Sew the headband to the lower crown, with a quarter-inch to half-inch seam allowance. Sew the upper crown to the lower crown with a half-inch seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance, and then turn the hat right side out.

Sew a toorie, or pompom, in a color of your choice onto the middle of the upper crown.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add other decorative touches like a ribbon to the back of the tam or a strip of tartan (Scottish plaid) around the headband.

References

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