New Pattern! The Near-Zero Waste Sunhat

Friends, it’s my pleasure to announce a new pattern that I’ve been chasing for over a year. It’s a sunhat with less than 5% waste.

You’ll be able to try this pattern for FREE, as I’m presenting it at the Making Zen Online Retreat, 27th-31st May. Register HERE (this is an affiliate link). Along with the hat sew-a-long, I’ll be discussing the challenge of designing a zero waste hat and the design process for this one.

Making Zen is an online event that’s free to attend. 20 artists will present a 30 minute video workshop, four on each day, which will be available to watch for free for 24 hours (not sure which day I’m on yet). For lifetime access, a VIP pass will be available which includes a bundle of extras from each presenter. For homeschoolers, this is a great resource for art and craft activities. If you’re on Facebook, there’s a Facebook Community for the retreat to share ideas and inspiration once Making Zen begins and beyond.

Now, let’s talk about this hat pattern!

This hat comes in 5 sizes (54cm head, 56cm, 58cm, 60cm and 62cm), has a self-lined crown and an interior ribbon.

It has less than 5% waste, and the larger the size, the less % of waste.

As a comparison, the popular free bucket hat pattern on this website has 35% waste. I actually used this pattern as a starting point for the sunhat, after trying a bunch of dead-end other ideas.

Here’s the total sunhat waste:

The pattern is designed for light weight woven fabrics, such as quilting cotton. One-way prints are fine to use. If you have an expensive fabric, such as…say…Marimekko Unikko print, you have the satisfaction of not wasting any.

I would say this pattern isn’t for beginners. For first-time making a hat, I suggest the free bucket hat pattern, but keep this one on your list!

The pattern pieces are very unusual looking. The crown is one piece and interlocks with its own lining. The brim pieces are cut separately from the crown. There are quite a number of brim pieces, but don’t be put off – this looks great in stripey fabrics, especially in stripes that don’t particularly require matching.

Here’s a bird’s eye view showing the brim:

And another hat in plain fabric, with the seams topstitched. This hat has pith-helmet vibes, but trust me, it looks better on!

So, I hope you can join me for Making Zen next month! It’s a really fun event and a wonderful way to be introduced to new artists and techniques.

Cheers! Liz


  1. Liseli on April 18, 2024 at 12:24 am

    Wow! Great job! I’ve been following your hat-issue with a lot of interest and to me, this patterns shows SO WELL all the out-of-the-box-thinking needed to make a (almost) zero-waste pattern!
    I followed some of the Making Zen last year thanks to you telling us about it and it was quite a nice experience. I just registered and I hope I’ll manage to follow your class.
    Thank you for your work and sharing, it’s really inspiring!

    • lizhaywood on April 18, 2024 at 10:43 am

      Thanks Liseli. I confess my motives were somewhat selfish as I really wanted a sunhat for myself! But the experience has made me think about curved shapes a lot more and a couple of other hat styles presented themselves while I was doing this one, which I plan to develop soon.
      I hope you enjoy Making Zen!

  2. Laurinda on April 19, 2024 at 8:42 am

    I hope I get to join (or remember to lol) because that hat looks really fun to make!

    • lizhaywood on April 19, 2024 at 1:57 pm

      I’ll be sending reminders in the newsletter, if you’re a subscriber 🙂

      • Laurinda on April 20, 2024 at 9:56 pm

        Thank goodness, hahaha

  3. Pippa on April 20, 2024 at 7:27 am

    Oooh, what is the fabric requirement? I know just the piece i want to use, but fear it may not be big enough…

    • lizhaywood on April 20, 2024 at 10:44 am

      For the biggest size, the crown takes 68cm x 32.2cm, and the brim takes 58.6cm x 55.4cm, but the rows of brim could be moved around the fabric.

      • Pippa on April 23, 2024 at 10:14 pm

        Great. It looks like with some Tetris style rearranging I could get it done.

        Presumably the brim could be split (2 rows) and the lining of the brim (2 rows mirrored) be cut from a coordinating fabric?

        I can see that the nesting of the brim means that either the hat has the same fabric in and out, or else two hats would have to be made with one fabric for the outer and a second fabric for the inside ?

      • lizhaywood on April 23, 2024 at 10:33 pm

        Yes, the brim could be split (into 2 rows + 2 mirrored rows) to move around the same piece of fabric, but not to cut in a coordinating fabric because all the brim pieces are mixed together in the rows. If you look closely you’ll see they’re top-and-tailed with mirror image pieces. The brim’s outer layer requires 8 x identical pieces, and the brim’s lining uses the same shapes mirrored.
        You could cut the crown and the brim from different fabrics though, or you could cut 2 hats and swap the pieces around.

  4. Kitty Ann on April 23, 2024 at 4:59 am

    Love the new hat, such an interesting pattern. I’m registered for the Making Zen sessions!

    • lizhaywood on April 23, 2024 at 2:01 pm

      Great! I think this is going to be the best Making Zen yet!

  5. Sharon on May 2, 2024 at 4:03 am

    I’d love to try to make the hat – but I’m not going to be able to attend the workshop. Do you plan to make the pattern available directly from this site?

    • lizhaywood on May 2, 2024 at 9:53 am

      Yes, when Making Zen has been and gone I’ll have it as a pdf along with some other hat shapes that presented themselves while I was doing this one.
      The other option for you is to register for Making Zen and order a VIP pass which will give you access to all the sessions whenever you like.

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