Margaret Kavanagh

How to Get the Perfect Fit for Your Hat

crochet hat perfect fit

Getting a hat to fit perfectly can be tough because all heads are not the same. But we're here to help you with hat sizing! Whether you make a hat, a cap, a cloche, or a beanie, we'll help you fit it for a baby, a toddler, a teen, or a granny.

No matter the season, hats are some of the most popular projects to make, wear, and gift. They're excellent projects for new artists, in fact, for many, hats are the very first item they make. Experienced artists may also love to pick up a hat pattern for a quick project, especially in a beautiful yarn. (Yarn addicts, you know what I mean!)

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the correct method to make sure your hats always fit, no matter who you make them for. To get ready, grab a measuring tape, and let's go! 

How to Get the Perfect Fit

The first thing you need to do is know your recipient. If that person is available, measure his or her head. If not, skip that step and we'll address how to handle it in a minute.

measure head circumference hat

How to Measure

Measure your hat recipient around the widest part of his or her head. It helps to imagine where he or she would wear the brim of a hat. (In the case of a cat, you can measure wherever the cat lets you. Good luck.)

If You Can't Measure

Generically speaking, babies are about 15 inches for the first year, toddler's heads are about 17 inches around, young children are at about 20 inches, teens are about 21 inches around, and adults are about 22-24 inches around. Although, some adults I know seem to have MUCH bigger heads without any visible reason. 

So, if you are left without any measurements and are out in the wilderness with just a hook and yarn, you can shoot for those guidelines. However, we have a set of much more specific guidelines you can use in our Hat Sizing Guidelines chart here:

Crochet hat size guideIf your intended recipient isn't available to be measured, use the age section of the sizing chart. “Most” people have a head circumference that matches their age pretty closely. And, as you can see, we have a suggested hat height, as well. This measurement applies to the distance from the top of the head towards the ears and it's for a fitted hat, like a beanie. You could also call it the hat length, and it's also an important measurement to get a perfect fit for any hat.


crochet beanie perfect fit

This baby's hat is an exclusive pattern from issue 39 of Happily Hooked magazine (June 2017). It's from the Newborn Carrot Hat & Cocoon set by Alexandra of EyeLoveKnots.

How to Adjust for the Perfect Fit

Now that you have the measurements, let's talk about how to use them to get the perfect fit for your hat. The baby below has a fitted beanie.

To determine the correct size for the baby, check out the sizing chart. Since this baby is pretty new (and adorable), I would probably use the measurements for Newborn 7-8 lbs, which means the hat circumference should be between 11-13 inches.

For babies who are growing very fast, try measuring the hat flat and then stretch it comfortably (but gently!) to determine the largest circumference. Some of these baby sizes might fit a baby for a week, sometimes 6 weeks, but babies grow so quickly! Consider making a few hats for a baby, since they can grow out of several hats in a season.

To make a hat more slouchy

The hat in the picture below is a fairly fitted one, but let's say you wanted to make it a bit more slouchy. To do so, you would simply add an inch or two to the hat height for the extra slouch. Don't add inches to the circumference, because that would make the hat too loose to fit correctly.

Harvest Collection crochet hat

This is the Harvest Collection Hat by Shawna Underwood from Pattern Pack Pro issue 74 (November 2020).

A Few Tips for the Perfect Hat Fit

  • If you can take measurements, you'll always get a better fit.
  • The yarn you use matters — if it stretches during wear, your hat may grow a few sizes.
  • The stitch you use is important, too. Some stitches stay quite tight, while some allow for much more stretch.
  • Crochet a hat with its function in mind. A fitted hat, like a sunhat, probably needs a specific circumference for the brim while a slouchy hat may allow more size flexibility.
  • Winter hats with earflaps are great in windy areas. Use the sizing chart without adding any extra slouch and add earflaps after you reach the height you need.


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Author Info

Blog Manager & Columnist Coordinator at Happily Hooked | + posts

I've been crocheting since my mother taught me as a little girl. I'm lucky to be working with Happily Hooked and I can't wait to share everything yarny and hooky with you! Yarn over, peeps! Yarn over!

Margaret Kavanagh

I've been crocheting since my mother taught me as a little girl. I'm lucky to be working with Happily Hooked and I can't wait to share everything yarny and hooky with you! Yarn over, peeps! Yarn over!

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