Embroidered pom pom hat “how to”

As ubiquitous as they may seem thanks to the massive craft boom, I just can’t go past a pom pom. So there was no way I could resist this cap on my trip to Vientiane, Laos, a few months ago…


…even though it is actually meant to be worn by someone of about this age… (image by Vincent Goddard/Raoul. D Images)


My head is pretty little but there was no way I could wear a baby-sized hat*. Fortunately, I realised that this one was basically a rectangle of material that had the ends sewn together and was tightly gathered on one (long) side to form a crown. So I got out the unpicker and pulled out the stitches that joined the ends together, and then edged them with scrap material from a previous Lao shopping expedition. Here you can see the material pinned to the rectangle ends before I stitched it into place.


If you wanted to make a hat like this for yourself, I’d guess you’d need a rectangle a little bit longer than the measurement around your head, and as wide as you wanted the hat to be high. It would probably help to cover it with all manner of embellishment like this to disguise the fact that it’s not actually the most flattering shaped cap!

I then added elastic at the base so that it fit my head snugly – and I left the opening kind of like a baseball cap because then I can stick my ponytail through it if I am so inclined.


Turns out I wasn’t so inclined on the day I took these shots.


The hat wasn’t deep enough so I added a strip of fabric from another previous project around the front, tapering it so that it is only about 1cm wide at the back (see, you should never throw away even scrappy pieces of material as you never know when they’ll come in handy!). This photo also shows you how the crown is gathered.


  Here you can see what I mean by “tapering” – I manipulated the strip of material so it is quite wide on my forehead and almost disappears at the back.
hat6What’s that you say? It’s the pom poms you’re more interested in? Well, aren’t you lucky, because that just happens to be the DIY project for next time!

*I’m not sure if this kind of hat is Hmong, or Yao, or which hill tribe. I have pants (and former pants) with similar embroidery that are Yao, but Hmong babies wear quite similar hats to Yao babies, from my extremely limited understanding of the subject.