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L&P 1017: California Girl Sun Hat Pattern for 18 inch dolls such as American Girl — the perfect wide-brim summer doll hat / vacation hat



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We love making hats for 18 inch dolls, using stitches and steam to turn flat fabric into three-dimensional brims and crowns. Who needs to buy felt hats, or straw hats (which can be hard on doll's hair) 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-back 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.

Spiral topstitching on the brim adds sturdiness to the curved shape, and is both easy and fun to create, with no ugly start-and-stop lines!

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 construction of this hat is simple. The crown fits together in a series of nearly straight seams, and we'll 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, particularly steps involving pressing curved shapes, be followed exactly.



These are the materials you will need for our favorite version of this hat, using two contrasting or coordinating colors:

9" high x 14" wide piece of woven FABRIC ONE*

9" high x 14" wide piece of woven FABRIC TWO*

7" high x 9" wide piece of lightweight woven fabric for the LINING

OPTIONAL 9" high x 16" wide piece of FUSIBLE INTERFACING*

Matching thread

*To hold their shape, seamed cloth hats should be made out of medium weight fabrics like brushed twill or soft denim. But not all denims and twills are soft enough for doll scale garments. The denims and twills we used to develop this pattern were up-cycled from well-worn men's workshirts, and not purchased new or up-cycled from heavier weight denim jeans.

We also love to use lightweight quilting calicos and cotton broadcloth, adding the needed weight to the fabric with lightweight fusible interfacing.


Please visit the PATTERNS section of our Etsy store at https://www.etsy.com/shop/leeandpearl?section_id=15862176&ref=shopsection_leftnav_1 to find the maxidress, beaded choker, wrap top and halter swimsuit patterns shown on our models with their sun hats.


Sign up for our mailing list at www.leeandpearl.com, and you'll receive our newsletter full of behind-the-scenes news, tutorials, crafts and printables. PLUS, you'll get the link for our annual members-only FREE PATTERN.

Don't miss out on this pattern — join our mailing list today at www.leeandpearl.com!

Join the Lee & Pearl™ community: like us on Facebook (Lee & Pearl), follow us on Instagram (#leeandpearl), share us on Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/leeandpearl) and watch us on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/c/leeandpearl).


This pattern will be delivered as an instant download. After purchasing, you will receive a link to a PDF copy of the file. No paper copy will be mailed.

This pattern may be printed solely by the original purchaser. It may not be duplicated, redistributed, posted or resold without prior authorization from Lee & Pearl™. If you use this pattern to make items to sell yourself, we ask that you give Lee & Pearl™ design credit in the description of those items. Thank you!

Lee & Pearl™ is not affiliated with Mattel, American Girl® or any other company or organization.

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2,917 reviews

5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars

The directions are very clear, and the attention to detail in the construction are wonderful. I had no trouble putting together a finished product that looks very professional. The hat didn't fit my doll well (just the slightest bit too small) but it's possibly due to the wig on my particular doll model or that I didn't grade my seams well enough. Will definitely try again!

sarahsthreads Jul 12, 2019

5 out of 5 stars

Such a cute pattern. Instructions were clear and it went together easily.

Linda DuBos Aug 3, 2017

5 out of 5 stars

I have been looking for hats for the 18 inch dolls and came upon this one which you can use you own imagination to putting colors together. Look forward to sewing a few.

Debra-Ann Brown Sep 2, 2021

5 out of 5 stars

Printed at 83%, your pattern makes a cute hat for A Girl For All Time dolls! Great instructions as always. I've been sewing for many years but always learn something new from your patterns. Thank you!

Ann Van Doren Jul 15, 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Pattern was put together very well. Instructions were easy to follow. You could tell that a lot of care was taken when creating this pattern.

Lindsey G Jul 19, 2021

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