Making Gandalf's Hat
step by step in pictures
The following instructions are for a hat closely modelled on that worn by Gandalf in the
recent film version of
Lord of the Rings. My interpretation is made from a sturdy non
woven textile, a synthetic felt, with a good surface texture. I'm using collar interfacing as my
pattern material, but paper would work just as well, and I'm using milliners buckrum to stiffen
the brim.
Start by making the brim pattern. Draw a 'doughnut' with the inner circle a few inches bigger
than your head size and the outer circle about 5-6 inches bigger in radius. Cut out a wedge
from the pattern so that you get a gentle flare to the brim.
Transfer this pattern to the buckrum. Check that the brim sits in your head loosely. this is the time to make any
adjustments to the width of the brim or to the angle at which it flares in a cone shape. (There are lots of screen
images of Gandalf on the net or in the books and so on that came out with the  film for reference). Fiddle with the
shape until you are happy. (TIP:
a friend reminded me that if you are going for a costume with a wig, wear that also
when you fit the hat! She also suggests plastic canvas as an alternative to Buckrum if you find it easier to get
Cut a pattern for the crown of the hat. Try a cone about 21-23 inches long and slightly wider at the bottom than
the headsize of the finished hat. Aim to have the cone slope backwards slightly. In the picture above the scissors
are shown on the folded edge of the pattern fabric. Adjust the pattern if needed (in this case I decided I needed
a slightly larger cone) and cut out one layer of your fabric. If you are doing a full lining, cut a lining layer too.
Use your buckrum layer to cut the hat fabric. You need two pieces and remember to leave a small seam
allowance all the way round. Sew the brim pieces together, without the buckrum. Remember to keep right
sides of fabric together if it will be noticable in the finished hat. Press all the seams really well with a steam iron.
Turn the brim round the right way and insert the buckrum. Tuck it well down into the seams and secure any overlap
with a few stitches. Run the iron gently over the entire brim to smooth and shape it. Sew up the point of the hat, press
any seams flat. Its important to keep pressing as you go with hats to make sure everything is smooth and even.
The easiest way to fit the brim and crown together is to put the crown on your head (it may come down to your nose at
this stage!) then slip the brim over the top. Wriggle everthing around until the crown sits smoothly inside the brim. Pin
everything together carefully, ready for sewing, watching out for wrinkles and checking that the buckrum stays firmly
down towards the seam in the brim.
Sew the hat together. Take your time over this part and make sure that the seam is smooth and even. You can now
trim off any extra fabric left over from fitting the crown and try on the hat. It will be a bit floppy at this stage. Now is the
time to put anything right if you are not happy! Run the steam iron over everything very gently to settle in the seams
and keep things smooth. You may wish to stitch in a couple of small tucks into the point of the hat to get a good
shape, and maybe add a little light wadding to help the point sit just right. Don't overdo this bit!
The outside of your hat will be looking great, but the inside will show all the seams. Either add a full lining or a half
lining (this is a half lining, basically a tube sewn into the hatband area and gathered at the top about half way up the
crown which allows for my padding of the point). Cotton or linen is the most comfortable fabric for a lining.

Your hat is now complete! All you need is the rest of the Gandalf outfit and you're ready for anything. An excellent site
for LOTR costume making research, tips and patterns is
NEW!! Got a
picture of yourself
in a hat made from
this pattern? Want
to be part of the

Check out our real
life Gandalfs in
their new hats.

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