Thursday, 4 February 2016

Sweet Summer Toddler Hat

Summer Toddler Hat
(Made by Jodiebodie, December 2015)
This is the story of a pretty sunhat made for a very special little girl.

I have a young cousin who, at the tender age of one, is a real beach babe (just like her fashionable, surf-loving parents).  

Naturally, she will need plenty of cool crocheted accessories for her summer wardrobe—Cousin Jodie to the rescue!

The pattern for this hat was published in a Chinese book which I found in my local library.

The book is called 初生宝宝鞋帽编织 (XIEMAOBIANZHI) which has been translated as either Newborn Baby Hats or Knitting for Babies: Newborn Shoes and Caps. It has the cutest range of patterns for babies and toddlers, from the conservative and traditional styles to novelty fashions.

There is no English in the book but it has photographs and lots of charts. The measurements are in centimetres and hook sizes in millimetres.

I found it fascinating to read the instructional pages on 'how to crochet' as I tried to decipher which combinations of Chinese characters represented the stitches that are familiar to all of us.  Perhaps if I could learn to understand the basics, I could then use more patterns from China.

A white hat is laid out flat with pink trim along the brim edge and where the brim meets the body of the hat,  The top line of pink is a pink drawstring, the ends of which tie up at the back to adjust the circumference.
This is actually the front of the hat.
The original design had an appliquéd cherry motif on the front
above the drawstring.

Things I like about this hat design:
  • It can grow with the child. The top pink band on the hat is a drawstring that ties at the back.  Parents can adjust the drawstring to keep it tight and secure in breezy beach weather and can let it out as the child grows.  This hat should last my cousin until she is 5 or 6 years of age.
  • The discs at the end of the ties secure the drawstring in the hat so that a child cannot pull it out and lose it in transit.  (How many times have you been following a family on a journey to see items of clothing thrown out of a pram or car window when no one else is looking? I've seen plenty!)
  • The discs are multipurpose—securing the ties to the hat and also looking pretty.  My big cousins liked the look of them so much that they style the hat with the ties at the front. They would also work well tied at the side.
  • There is enough coverage in the crown of the hat to protect my baby cousin from the sun but the brim is open enough to let the breeze through and keep her cool.
  • The lacy ruffled brim is so cute and light.

Above-view of the hat. The crown is white with pink borders where the crown meets the brim and at the end of the brim. The body of the brim is a lacy crossed stitch pattern.  The two discs that decorate the ends of the drawstring can also be seen.
It is important to have a solid fabric for the crown
because the Australian sun is very fierce.

The original pattern is called "Cherry Sunhat" because it had an appliqué of two red cherries with embroidered green stems on the front. The cherries were the same discs found on the ties. 

In the pattern book's photos, the hat's main colour was white and the adjustable drawstring was also white to blend in with the body of the crown.  There were two bands of green: one where the crown met the brim and one along the edge of the brim.

I chose an accent of hot pink for my cousin's hat because it would match her white and pink sundress.  I entertained thoughts of making a pink floral appliqué if time permitted but, in the end, my pre-Christmas gift-making hurry, exacerbated by multiple attempts to find the right gauge, left no time for extra embellishments.

Because there would be no appliqué on the front of the hat, I chose a contrasting colour for the drawstring details and for added interest. Indeed, the book's schematic for the hat shows a drawstring in a contrasting colour (green) but that may have been for illustration purposes only and not the finished colour intended by the author.

The hat is laying flat with the drawstring ends finished with crocheted discs and tied together.
The back of the hat that has now become the front.
The 'cherries' keep the drawstring ties secure and look pretty at the same time.

It took a number of attempts to find the correct tension and size.  I had no idea about what yarn weight was used by the original pattern. My only clues were the arabic numbers within the pattern. 

Some numbers were very easy to work out: 5 mm referred to the hook size because I recognised the characters for a crochet 'needle'.

Some were initially straightforward: 14 cm, 18 cm, 4 cm which corresponded to the height, diameter of the hat and width of the brim. On closer inspection of the diagram, I couldn't be sure whether the 18 cm referred to the diameter of the entire hat or of the crown alone because the lines marking the measurement finished halfway across the width of the brim. Perhaps the width of the crown should be 10 cm? This would need further investigation to find the right size for my one-year-old cousin.

The last set of numbers were embedded in Chinese characters: 400 and 10.   Could that be a no. 10 yarn (weight), 400 metres long? 

I didn't have any suitable no. 10 thread and my 4 ply cotton made a fabric that was too open and airy so I returned to my initial choice of 8 ply cotton / acrylic blend in the perfect colours.  

Ignoring the pattern's hook suggestion, I tried out various hook sizes to find a happy medium between drape and coverage. My next plan was to establish the correct size for a hat to fit a one-year-old and work as many (or as few) rounds as necessary to meet that criteria, using the "Cherry Sunhat" stitch patterns.

It was hard to know the correct size to make because my baby cousin lives a long way away from me so I couldn't be sure how big she was.  I didn't want to ask her parents to measure her because that would possibly spoil the surprise.

Toddler with a beach bucket and wearing the white and pink crocheted summer hat.
My baby cousin wearing her hat.
She is 14 months old.
There are plenty of hat sizing charts on the internet but measurements can vary from one chart to the next.  The selection of links in my reference list (below) gives some guidelines but, as evidenced by the comments of the users of these charts, results can be perfect for one crocheter and poor for the next. Just like the different cuts and scales of clothing lines, it is important to find the sizing chart that works best for your tension and the heads you want to cover!

I was very nervous about whether the hat would fit—it looked very large as it was being wrapped. When my cousin opened her gift at Christmas time it still looked on the large side but that turned out to be its benefit because babies grow so quickly. 

Now that my cousin is 14 months old, I am told: "The hat is great. It fits nicely now although there is plenty of room so she won't grow out of it quickly. Most of her other hats are too small and slip off but this one stays on!"

I am so relieved to know that!

Have you ever had trouble sizing hats?
What advice do you have about baby and toddler hats?

Any ideas about summer hats for babies, toddlers and children are most welcome.  
I love sharing ideas and reading your comments.

Project Details

Pattern: 鞋帽套装 / Cherry Sunhat by Yang Chun Ping

Yarn: Moda Vera 'Beetle' 50% cotton, 50% acrylic, 8 ply / DK weight:
  • White: col. 31, lot #14637; used 48 grams / 106 metres
  • Dark Pink: col. 02, lot #14807; used 9 g / 20 m
Hook:  I used a 4.5 mm aluminium hook (Pony red-handled hook).

During testing, the 5 mm hook suggested by the pattern gave great drape and an open weave but the tension was too loose and the hat would be too big.  The Australian sun is too fierce to have hats without a solid fabric on the top.

My Modifications

If I had followed the pattern charts verbatim, the hat would have been too big because I was using a different yarn and hook than recommended.  To keep the hat within (or close to) the pattern's specified dimensions I worked:
The hat is laying flat with the drawstring ends finished with crocheted discs and tied together.
I crocheted fewer rounds
than the pattern
  • 7 rounds on crown in a solid treble pattern instead of 8 for a 16 cm diameter.
  • 5 rounds of crossed stitches instead of 6. The crossed stitch section had a height of  6 cm.
  • 3 rounds of lacy crossed stitches in the brim instead of 4. These three rounds extended 3.5 cm from the body of the hat.
Final Dimensions of My Hat
Above-view of the hat. The crown is white with pink borders where the crown meets the brim and at the end of the brim. The body of the brim is a lacy crossed stitch pattern.  The two discs that decorate the ends of the drawstring can also be seen.
Top view of the hat.
  • crown to brim: 18 cm
  • crown to drawstring: 11.5 cm
  • pattern top: 6 cm
  • pattern brim (white section measured between pink rounds): 3.5 cm
  • total width of brim: 4.5 cm (aim was 4 cm per pattern diagram)


Granger, Anne, "How to Properly Size Crochet Hats. Chart for Correct Sizing, including Magic Circle Sizes", blog post, Creating Beautiful Things in Life,  17 January 2013:
Anne's detailed chart in inches and centimetres differentiates between head circumference and hat circumference measurements and takes into account any stretch a hat may have. Her chart may only pertain to the particular hat styles or patterns that she has made. It includes the crown diameter and defines the hat height measurement. The sizes range from four different sizes of premature babies up to adult male.

Jodiebodie, "Pink and White Summer Hat", Ravelry project page:

Richardson, Teresa, "Head Sizes for Crochet Hats", blog post, Crochet Geek, 30 April 2008:
Teresa's chart is in inches only but includes hat height as well as circumference ranging from newborn to adult male sizes.

Woolly Wormhead, "Sizing Information", online article, London, UK:   
This chart is prefaced with thoughtful discussion about finding the correct size for knitted hats and includes inches and centimetres with a downloadable file (.pdf) for personal reference. The chart has measurements for hat circumference and length from premature baby to adult male sizes.

Woolly Wormhead, "The Head Measuring Game", online article, 18 October 2008, London, UK:
This article discusses the relationship between circumference and length of hats and how to measure them. 

Yang Chun Ping, 初生宝宝鞋帽编织  /  XIEMAOBIANZHI  / Newborn Baby Hats, book from 'Knitting Baby Clothes' series, Chinese edition, ISBN 9787538451634, Jilin Science and Technology Press Co. Ltd,, China, 2011.
My library translated and catalogued the title as Knitting for Babies: Newborn Shoes and Caps.
The front cover can be found here:


  1. Love the hat. Nice to read about summer while I am cold here in the Northern hemisphere. It gives me hope!

    1. I thought it was such a cute hat and I am glad it gives you hope to read about summer! Whenever I am in need of hope I always rehash the clichéd phrases to myself: "All things must pass", "nothing lasts forever", "one certainty in life is change" "for everything there is a season" etc. They help me to cherish the moment and even if it is a moment I am not enjoying, I try to live it fully; if all else fails, I live moment by moment reminding myself that "tomorrow is a new day" and just try to breathe my way through the difficult moments. While we are breathing, we are still here surviving! May the signs of spring emerge soon for you. xx

  2. The hat is adorable as is the little one wearing it. Good protection from the hot sun and very fashionable.

    1. I have to agree with you, Meredith, that my baby cousin is truly adorable - I got to meet her in person for the very first time in December. Such a joy.

  3. A lovely hat - and it looks super cute on your little cousin's girl! :) And we all know how important a hat is in the Australian weather!

    Take care
    Crochet Between Worlds

    1. Indeed! Anyone looking for evidence of climate change can see it here. The sun is much, much stronger now than it was just 30 years ago. One can feel the 'burn' in the sun's rays more often. Lupus can be triggered or worsened by exposure to UV light so a hat and long sleeves are extra important during the summer months. Before diagnosis, I used to notice marked fatigue after working in the garden for a short time and yet, confusingly, I could do double the amount of work with chores indoors and not get as exhausted. Now we know why!
      Mind you, a hat is important in any climate, hot or cold! How are your hat designs coming along?
      I hope you are happy and well and having fun with your crochet.

  4. Hi Jodie, what a lovely hat! It really suits your sweet little cousin! :)
    Take care!
    Ingrid xx

    1. Thanks, Ingrid. I hope you like the rich pink. Have a colourful day!