In search of the perfect sunhat

[Unrelated but necessary: I just have to say a big thank you to everyone for all of your kind comments and for supporting my shop by purchasing the Buttercup Bag Pattern — I have been really overwhelmed by the reaction – WOW!!! Thank you so much!]

I’ve been working on tweaking the pattern for the sunhat Elliot wore last summer. He’s too big for the old one and as we’ve started playing outside more the need for a new one has become pretty urgent, as this item of clothing represents the one piece of his wardrobe he will most likely wear every single day this summer.

The pattern is as usual my own design, based (I’m sure) on some kid’s at the playground that I looked at and thought “I can do that!” It turned out to be harder than I thought; the 4 top pieces are pretty tricky to curve correctly, and the brim turned out super-floppy the first time, so I streamlined it a little more this time around.

The fabric is Funky Monkey on the outside and brown twill on the inside. I interfaced all of the brim pieces to give it shape, and the straps snap together at the bottom.


The second version came out looking more like a safari hat than the bucket hat look I was going for, but you take what you get with this sort of project (read: too lazy to go back and change it). I’ll probably raise the brim a bit more for version two if I ever get around to it so it looks less like a helmet on top.

Let’s review my criteria for perfect sunhat:

  • no brand name on outside
  • machine washable without looking all wrinkly
  • chin strap (I have yet to meet the child who will keep a hat without a strap on for more than 5 minutes)
  • not boring (this eliminates about 95% of all store-bought sunhats for boys)


More astute observers will recognize this as a monkey “backpack” that has a leash attached. We got ours at Target and I think the brand is Eddie Bauer. All I can say is, I don’t use it much (because lucky lucky me Elliot’s not a Bolter) but when I do, I get more comments from Joe Public than on anything else, let me tell you.


Here’s my baby last summer in the pool with the first version I made; you can see the brim is quite different. It’s a little sad for me to look at these pictures…my little baby is such a little boy now!

14 thoughts on “In search of the perfect sunhat

  1. Oh gosh. The monkey kid handle backpack! My niece has that as well. When she was two/three/four years old, she would basically demand that I put it on her when we went into NYC on day trips-she’s a very cautious kid. And we got the comments from Joe Public as well. Sigh…

    I really like the hat though! I’m so impressed you managed a pattern for something so tricky πŸ™‚

  2. Clover of Japan makes these hat patterns that I’m sort of obsessed with. You can see them here. The blue one would probably be good for a boy’s sunhat. I ordered mine from etsy seller mwendas and I know that she does have access to the kids versions too. They’re kind of pricey, but I LOVE the ones I got (I have both adult versions — orange and green). The way these sew together is a lot easier than any of the commercial patterns that I’ve seen.

    The monkey hat is really cute though!!

  3. We are headed to a barbeque festival this weekend so made a trip to the fabric store today to grab the necessities πŸ™‚ Hope mine turns out as cute as yours!

  4. That is so nice that they now have kid friendly animals on the “leases” now, my oldest now 23 was just plain straps and got a lot of use. Your hat is lovely. I have’nt made one in years. But do remember having 6 segments instead of 4 and the shaping was less helmet like.
    Carmen

  5. Hi Rae!

    Thanks so much for your comment on my blog! I guess this is the time of year for sunhats! Yours is DIVINE! (the hat and the boy!)

    I love your criteria, too. It is really hard to find a cute boys sunhat, or even a sunhat pattern, I’m discovering, so I also just drew my own. I’m a bit sad mine lacks the oh-so-necessary chin straps, as it was made in a rush a few hours before we were on our way out the door for vacation! Perhaps I can add some now πŸ™‚

  6. LOVE the monkey fabric!! Need some for my little monkey. Also, we have the same “leash”, and people really do feel the need to comment on it all the time!

  7. One of those kid leashes saved my life as a kid. Just last weekend I stopped a family with their toddler on a leash and told them that, and the look of relief on that mother’s face that I wasn’t going to give her a raft of crap was just sad.

    So, to all the moms out there who keep their kids safe using any means necessary, including a kid leash, monkey attached or not, I say bravo! And if somebody gives you crap, tell ’em I said to suck it.

  8. I love those monkey backpacks. We don’t have one (Ernie was never a runner) but I remember my little brother had a velcro cuff with a leash- didn’t work nearly as well as a backpack!

    The sunhat is adorable, and my GOODNESS that little one is growing up! He’s looking more and more like a big brother πŸ™‚

  9. I find it funny how, once you have kids, people feel the obligation to tell you things, when they wouldn’t even say hello normally. I took our son out when he was about a week old, to a restaurant. A woman in the restroom commented about me having him out so early. I said, well I guess that’s my decision to make. Her face was great, she was shocked that I said that. My son is 9 months old now and has still never been sick so I guess I didn’t damage him too badly by taking him out early. πŸ™‚

    Love that hat, Rae! I’m in the middle of working on one similar for my little man, I’m still deciding on whether to include a strap; that seems to be more incentive for him to yank on it and pull it off. Love LOVE the monkey print too!!

  10. I’m with you on the no brand name thing and I’d recently posted about this, as my little boy had always been happy with the lovely buckets hats that I chose for him…but suddenly came home from school wanting a peaked cap, which isn’t really my idea of loveliness. One without branding emblazoned across the forehead is yet to be found…but I’m not sure I can face trying to make one.

    Your monkey hat looks adorable. x

  11. awwwww! i’m the exact same way with pictures of my guy last summer – i just can’t believe he was such a little thing! growing up is so tough on we mamas!!

    i LOVE that hat!!! are you going to share/sell the pattern?? i dont’ know if i can do it if it’s too difficult, but i would love to! i have searched everywhere for a hat like that for my guy this summer – they seem to be nonexistant for older boys (plus my little one has a HUGE head!).

    ps – i think the hat is FAB – we’re always our worst critics, you know!!

  12. We have the same backpack/leash, but my son got freaked out by the monkey looking over his shoulder. So I got a regular backpack and added my own leash strap to it.
    We get a lot of comments, but I just smiled and said that they were so lucky to have never had their kid try to run away before. I wish I was so lucky.

  13. Don’t have a pattern for you…but we buy all our sun hats for our son at The Children’s Place. No strap, but he keeps them on as they’re snug and usually come in fun patterns (haven’t seen the ones this season).

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