Crochet,  Crochet Tutorials

Seam and Cinch Hat Tutorial

Hi, friends!

How do you feel about making hats? Never made one before? Does the thought of working in the round scare you? What would you say if I told you that if you can crochet a rectangle, you can make a hat? It’s true! Turning a rectangle into a hat is the perfect way to step into the world of hat-making, and in today’s tutorial, I’m going to show you how to do just that.

Scroll down for a video tutorial, just in case you need to see it in action.

Tips on Crocheting a Rectangle for a Hat

To get started, the first thing you need to know how to do is crochet a rectangle. If you’re just learning, I recommend using a head that’s readily available to you to practice on…your own, perhaps? Different crochet stitches have varying amounts of stretch to them, so when you’re working up a rectangle that you intend to fit around your head, you need to plan for that in the size you make.

Crochet a rectangle using any stitch you prefer, but work it so that the LENGTH OF THE RECTANGLE is determined by the number of ROWS you work. The length of the rectangle becomes the circumference of the hat once we sew it together. That means that the height of your hat will be determined by the number of stitches you work per row. With me so far?

Rows = Rectangle Length = Hat Circumference
Stitches = Rectangle Height = Hat Height

But, Kristen, why can’t I work it so that the number of stitches equals the rectangle length?

You certainly could, but if you’ve worked your rectangle and wrap it around your head to find that the length is too short or too long, then that means you have to frog allllll the way back to the foundation. Doing it as I suggest above means that you would only have to frog a few rows, potentially, not the entire thing.

The height you choose depends on whether you want fitted or slouchy, but to get an idea of the height you need, you can measure your head from the crown to the base of the ear for a fitted hat. Then work as many stitches as needed.

I recommend starting with a rectangle length equal to your 2″ less than your head circumference. For example, my head measures 21″, so I would crochet until my length measures 19″.

When you’ve reached that point, wrap it around your head and see how far off you are. If you have to really pull to make the ends meet, keep adding rows and trying on until it meets without pulling like crazy. A little stretch is ideal, but it’s not a hot dog casing, k? If the ends meet with room to spare, rip back one row at a time until you’re happy with the fit.

Okay, got your rectangle? Great, now lets turn it into a hat!


There are several options for seaming, like whip stitching together or using the mattress stitch, a running stitch, etc, but today I’m going to use a plain old slip stitch. The trick is keeping the stitches loose because they will tend to want to pull tighter than the rest of your stitches…kind of like foundation chains.

Keep Slip Stitch Tension Looser to Avoid Pulling

With your hook still in the working loop of the last stitch of your final row, chain one and fold your rectangle in half, short sides together, inside out. Line up the stitches, and insert your hook under the top V of the first stitch in both layers of the fabric. Slip stitch in this manner all the way across the seam.

When you reach the end, tie off leaving a 18″ long tail. Fancy swirl layout optional ;). Time to cinch it up!


With the seam slip stitched together, you should now have a head-sized tube. Turn your work right side out so that the seam is on the inside, then thread your yarn tail onto a blunt-tipped yarn needle. Starting at the seam, weave your needle in and out of every couple of rows all the way around. I like to weave through the space between the turning chains and rest of the stitches, as there’s usually a decent space there.

When you come back around to the seam, I like to weave one more row to the opposite side of the seam, overlapping my previous weave. In my opinion, it makes for a more aesthetically-pleasing cinch.

When you’ve finished weaving, it’s time to cinch it closed. Gently pull up on your yarn tail, and like a drawstring, the top of your hat will pull in together and close. Magic! Weave your yarn tail around the cinch another 2-3 times to pull the cinch in tight.

Next, feed your yarn needle through the eye or the center of your cinch to the inside of your hat. Flip it inside out and run the needle around the cinch on the inside of the hat another 2 times, first in one direction, then back the opposite direction. It’s this reverse in direction that really secures your yarn tails in your work.

When you’re done with this, I suggest burying the tail in the seam, going in and out of the stitches moving from left to right then back from left to right. Snip your yarn tail and flip the hat right side out, and ta da!

If you planned for a brim, you can add that now (right side out), or if you didn’t want one, put that new hat on your head already and snap a “Look what I made!” picture to share with the world! Tag me @HooksBooksWanderlust so I can see it if you share it on Instagram or Facebook!

Video Tutorial

If it helps, I’ve recorded a video tutorial for you as well!

I hope you like this tutorial and found it useful! If you have any questions or problems, leave a comment below!

Happy hat-making!

Crochet Tutorial: Turn a Rectangle into a Hat with the Seam + Cinch Method

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