Knit or Crochet a 20s-style Cloche

Try out a style of the 1920s. Learn how to knit or crochet a Cloche hat. Be fashionably dressed for The Big Read in February when we read and discuss The Great Gatsby. Knit or crochet one of these hats based on styles that have started showing up in stores. Why spend the money when you could make one of your own!?
■ Marvin Auditorium 101C
Fri      Jan 18     9:00–11:00 am
Mon    Feb 4      1:00–3:00 pm

Not sure what a cloche [klōsh] is?
It is a fitted, bell-shaped hat that was popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Cloche literally means “bell” in French. The cloche fits close to the head, sits low on the forehead, and is often asymmetrical with bows, flowers, feathers, ribbons, jewels and other adornments.

Patterns

Free patterns are widely available online and in library books for a cloche or 1920s-style hat. Try one of these recommended patterns or use our basic guidelines that follow to make your knitted or crocheted hat which is ready to embellish.

Books

More knitting resources

More crocheting resources

Design your own Cloche

Crocheted Cloche – Basic Guidelines
Crocheted hats generally start at the top. Here are a couple easy ways to make a simple hat that is ready for your adornments. See Head Circumference chart for sizing.

In Single Crochet (sc)

Begin: Chain 3, join with slip stitch to form ring, chain 1.

Round 1: 6 sc in ring, (do not join). Place marker in last sc of each round.
Round 2: 2 sc in each sc. (12 sc)
Round 3: (1 sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc) around. (18 sc)
Round 4: (1 sc in each of next 2 sc, 2 sc in next sc) around. (24 sc)
Round 5: (1 sc in each of next 3 sc, 2 sc in next sc) around. (30 sc)
Round 6: (1 sc in each of next 4 sc, 2 sc in next sc) around. (36 sc)
Continue in this pattern of increasing by 6 sc each round until you’ve reached the head circumference you need.

First body of hat round: Slip stitch into next sc to join round, chain 1, sc in each stitch around, join with slip stitch to chain 1.
All body of hat rounds: Ch 1, sc in each sc around, join with slip stitch to chain 1. Repeat until the hat is long enough.

Consider the Suggestions and Variations given and experiment with your crochet: make the hat extra long so you can fold it up on one side, add a couple rounds of increases near the bottom to make a subtle brim, insert decorative and/or taller stitches to change the shape of your cloche.

In Double Crochet (dc)

If you noticed, the single crochet hat was based on the number 6. The double crochet hat is based on the number 12 and is very similar.

Begin: Chain 5, slip stitch in first chain to form ring.

Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as one dc), 11 dc in ring. Join with a sl st in top of ch 3.
Round 2: Ch 3, 2 dc in each dc around. Join. (24 dc)
Round 3: Ch 3 (dc in next dc, 2 dc in next dc) 12 times. Join. (36 dc)
Round 4: Ch 3 (dc in next 2 dc, 2 dc in next dc) 12 times. Join. (48 dc)
Round 5: Ch 3 (dc in next 3 dc, 2 dc in next dc) 12 times. Join. (60 dc)
Stop increasing when your hat has reached your desired head circumference. (This might be round 4 or 5 or 6!)
Body of hat rounds: Ch 3, dc in each dc around. Join. Repeat until the hat is the desired length.

Knitted Cloche – Basic Guidelines
Knitted hats generally start at the bottom/brim so you’ll need to figure out how many stitches you want to start with. It will vary greatly depending on the weight of your yarn and size of knitting needles. Use the gauge and suggested needles on the yarn label as a guideline. See Head Circumference chart for sizing.

Using the Long Tail Cast On (**see below for a tip on Long Tail Cast On), cast on a multiple of 9 on a 16 inch circular needle (or dpns), place marker, and join to work in the round. This could be 54 stitches in a chunky yarn, 81 stitches in a worsted weight, or 126 stitches in a sport weight yarn.

Start knitting in your chosen stitch pattern. Knitting in the round, every round, will give you stockinette stitch fabric which will roll on the bottom edge. If you don’t want the edge to roll then start knitting the brim in seed stitch or linen stitch (or another non-rolling stitch pattern).

The body of the pattern is very flexible! Ideas: start a little bigger than your head size and then work a couple rounds of decreases after a couple inches to make a brim that flares out. You could also work a split brim by knitting the first 2-3 inches flat and then join for the main part of the cloche, or knit the hat to fit snugly with a (knit 1, purl 1) rib at the bottom for an inch or so.

Work the body of the cloche until it is about 6 inches tall. Then you are ready for the crown decreases to close the top of the hat.

Round 1: Decrease evenly 9 times in your round. Example with 81 stitches: *Knit 7, K2tog, repeat from * to end of rnd. (72 st)
Round 2, 4, & 6: Knit even.
Round 3: Decrease evenly 9 times again. Ex: *Knit 6, K2tog, repeat from * to end of rnd. (63 st)
Repeat rounds 2 and 3 with an even round alternating with a decrease round until you reach half your starting stitch count. Then decrease 9 stitches every round until you have 9 stitches left.

Cut an 8-10” tail, thread it through a darning needle, and run it through the 9 remaining sts. Pull tight and sew in end inside.

**How much “tail” do I need for my Long Tail Cast On?
Wrap your yarn loosely around your selected knitting needle 10 times, then pull off keeping the start and end pinched with your fingers and measure. That length is approximately what you need for 10 stitches so multiply it out by how many you need to cast on. 

Example: 10 wraps = 3 inches and I need 81 cast on stitches. That would be 3” x 8 (81/10) = 24 inches. You would start your Long Tail Cast On roughly 24 inches from the end of the yarn. Remember to leave a little wiggle room!

Suggestions and Variations

  • Perhaps you already have a hat that wants to be a cloche!
  • Add a wrap of ribbon and a bow to a hat you have to make the brim pop out.
  • Pinch together 2-3 inches of the brim on a hat and attach a vintage brooch.
  • Fold up one edge of the brim and attach a button (or a double button) with a piece of yarn tied on the inside.
  • Crochet or knit a colorful flower and attach to one side.
  • Cloche hats don’t have to be knitted or crocheted – they can be made out of felt, cotton, straw, sequins, lace – anything you can think of!

 

Head Circumference Chart from the Craft Yarn Council

Head Circumference

Preemie

Baby

Toddler

Child

Woman

Man

inches

12

14

16

18

20

22

centimeters

30.5

35.5

40.5

45.5

50.5

56

Photo credit 1

Photo credit 2

Showcase your cloche

Some cloche creations will be chosen for display at the First Friday reception in March at the Great Overland Station during the library’s finale gala for the Big Read 2013.

 

You can find me at the Media Desk and helping people with their Interlibrary Loan requests. I love to talk (and learn more) about spinning, knitting, weaving, crochet and any other fiber arts you can mention. Need assistance with a pattern or technique? I might be able to help. I am currently reading (and being inspired by) An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler, The Circle by Dave Eggers, and Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich. Current projects: making special gifts for new babies, cooking new recipes, discovering old (but new-to-me) crochet stitches, and getting my floor loom warped.