Embroider and Sew a Felt Hat

by Mary Polityka Bush
The Kyrgyz hat now owned by my brother, Chuck Polityka (see “Hats across the Sea: Kalpak, the Traditional Hat of Kyrgyzstan,” PieceWork, January/February 2006), inspired this woman’s wool felt hat. Stylized leaves, arranged in pairs, are embroidered in stranded silk thread to create a bandlike arrangement above the brim. The hat was designed to be worn with the flat portion of one panel in front and the brim turned up in back.

Mary Polityka Bush’s embroidered felt hat.
Photograph by Joe Coca.


• Premium Spanish Felt, distributed by A Child’s Dream Come True, 100% wool, heavyweight, medium brown, 18 x 18 inches (45.7 x 45.7 cm), 1 piece
• Kreinik Silk Mori, 100% silk 6-strand thread, 5.5 yards (5 m)/skein, 2 skeins of #7124 Cream
• John James Needle, embroidery size 7
• Sewing thread, medium brown
• Marking pen, white
• Cardstock, heavy, 11 x 8 1/2 inches (27.9 x 21.6 cm), 1 piece

Materials are available at needlework, fabric, and craft stores or from mail-order or online resources.

Finished Size: One panel of four, 7 3/4 x 7 7/8 inches (19.7 x 20.0 cm)

Pattern of Hat and Leaf (924 KB)

Stem Stitch


Photocopy the hat and leaf patterns on the cardstock and cut out along the outlines to make templates. Trace four hat patterns on the felt with the marking pen; allow at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) between the patterns.

Cut out the hat patterns for the four panels approximately 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) outside the traced outline; do not cut along the traced outline. Trace two leaf patterns, reversing one so that they are positioned tip to tip, on each panel centered 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) above the bottom, curved edge. Using three strands of silk and stem stitch, embroider the leaf outlines; referring to the photograph for placement, embroider a vein and stem on each leaf.

Sew 1/8 inch (3 mm) from the bottom edge of each panel to prevent fraying and stretching. Cut out each panel along the traced outlines. Gently remove any visible pattern lines with a cloth dipped in cold water; do not rub. Allow the felt to dry completely. With wrong sides facing and using 1/4-inch (6-mm) seam allowances, sew the panels together along the sides.

About the Designer

Mary Polityka Bush of Piedmont, California, learned sewing and embroidery from her multitalented mother. She designs embroidery projects in a range of techniques for magazines, manufacturers, and for classes that she teaches to guild groups, in shops, and at festivals and trade shows.