Hats for Thanksgiving

Hats For Thanksgiving - {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Turkey? Check!
Stuffing? Check!
Mashed Potatoes? Check!
Pilgrim and Indian hats?
What? No hats?
Well, then, today is your lucky day!

If your kids like to dress up as much as mine do, they’ll love these Thanksgiving hats!

We have made Pilgrim hats and Indian headbands in the past with construction paper.
They’re fun to make and fun to wear, but they rarely make it through the day.

This year I thought it might be a good idea to make the hats out of fabric so they’ll last longer.

I’m going to show you how to make 3 different styles of Thanksgiving hats;
an Indian Headband, a Pilgrim Bonnet, and a Pilgrim Hat.

Fabric American Indian Headband

Hats For Thanksgiving - {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Fabric in a variety of colors (I used Bella Solids Earth, Bella Solids Yellow, Essential Dots Christmas Red, Essential Dots Tangerine, Essential Dots Christmas Green)
Pellon 20″ Heavy Weight Stabilizer
1 1/2 ” piece of Velcro
Embroidery Floss (optional)
Buttons (optional)
Pinking Shears
Rotary Cutter
Cutting Mat
Quilter’s Ruler
Measuring Tape
Fabric Marker

The first thing you need to do is measure your child’s head with measuring tape.

Using your measurement you’ll need to make patterns for your headband.
Simply cut a strip of paper to match your measurement.
I used manila file folders, because they are sturdy and easy to cut around.

Maggie’s head measures 21″ around.
So, I drew and cut out a 23″ x 3″ strip from my file folder, just to give myself a little leeway.

Trace the 23″ x 3″ piece onto your brown fabric and then cut.
Trace and cut your Pellon slightly smaller than your fabric.

You’ll also need a template for the feathers.
I just drew a feather/leaf shape and cut it out.
I’m sure you could google a feather or leaf shape if you’re nervous about drawing it freehand.

After you’ve drawn and cut out your pattern, fold the Pellon stabilizer so you have 10 layers.
This way you only have to cut once instead of 10 times.

Trace the feather template with your fabric marker onto the top layer of the Pellon stabilizer
and cut through all 10 layers of it.
Cut it slightly smaller than the feather pattern you traced.

Next trace a feather on your colored fabrics.

You’ll need two feathers of each color.

Cut out your feathers with regular sewing scissors (not the pinking shears yet like I did).
You will trim the feathers with your pinking shears after you sew them if you’d like.

After cutting out your feathers, pin them with the wrong sides facing with TWO pieces of your pellon leaves inside.

I used white thread to sew all of the colors together,
but of course you could use coordinating thread.

While we’re on the subject, The Ribbon Retreat carries high quality So Fine! thread in a variety of colors. The spools contain over 500 yards of thread that will outlast most spools that you’ll find at the store. I’m telling you, this thread lasts and lasts.
Then when you think it’s about to run out, it lasts some more!

Using your sewing machine, sew your feathers together with a simple straight stitch
all the way around, removing your pins as you sew.
If you don’t have a sewing machine, you could also do this by hand.

When you finish sewing, press the feathers with an iron.

This next step is completely optional.
I thought it would look cute to add some hand stitching with my embroidery thread.

It turns out I was right!

Now would be the time to trim around your stitches with your pinking shears.

Set your feathers aside for now and move onto the 23″ pieces of Pellon and fabric.
Fold the fabric edges over the Pellon stabilizer around and press with an iron.

Pin all the way around.

Then pin your feathers onto the fabric in the order you would like them.
I alternated my Bella Solids and Essential Dots fabrics, overlapping the feathers.

Sew the fabric, Pellon and feathers together, removing your pins as you sew.

Another fun step that is optional is adding buttons.
Yeah Indians probably didn’t wear buttons on their headbands,
but I thought they’d look darling on my little squaw!

Pin your 1 1/2″ Velcro onto the headband before sewing, making sure that the fuzzy piece of Velcro is on one side of the headband and the prickly piece of Velcro is on the other.

Now your American Indian Headband is complete and ready to wear!

Maggie has been learning about American Indians in kindergarten,
so she is thrilled to be modeling this headband!
She even wore it to bed!

Hats For Thanksgiving - {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Let’s move on to our next Thanksgiving hat!

Fabric Pilgrim Bonnet

Hats For Thanksgiving - {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Hats For Thanksgiving - {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}


1/2 yard White Fabric (I used Bella Solids White Bleached)
20 ” Heavy Weight Stabilizer
3/8″ White Solid Grosgrain Ribbon
Rotary Cutter
Cutting Mat
Quilter’s Ruler
Measuring Tape
Fabric Marker
That Purple Thang

If you ever played a pilgrim in your grade school Thanksgiving program, this shape will look familiar.

Draw a pattern onto a manilla file folder using the picture below as a guide.
It is 15″ along the top, the short side is 11″, the long side is 15″, and the bottom is 3″.
From there you can freehand the curve or place a bowl down and use that as a guide.

You will fold it where it says “fold line” later in the tutorial.

Fold your fabric over and place the shorter part of your pattern on the fold of your fabric.
Trace then cut through both layers of fabric. Do this twice; you need two of these pieces.

Trace and cut the Pellon stabilizer slightly smaller than the fabric.

Iron your fabric. Then pin with the right sides facing.
Leave the bottom unpinned.

Can I take a minute and tell you how much I love these flower head pins?
I know, it’s silly that something so simple could make me so happy!
I love that they’re little, colorful flowers.
I love that the ends are flat and easy to iron with.
Moms, you might want to order some and add them to your own stocking this Christmas!

Sew both layers of your white fabric together, leaving the bottom open.

Using That Purple Thang turn your bonnet inside out.
Press with an iron.
Slip your piece of Pellon into the opening of your bonnet.

Working with a small section at a time, carefully tuck the edge of your fabric under into the opening of the bonnet.
Iron and pin as you go.

Sew along the bottom edge, removing your pins as you sew.

Press with the iron again.

Fold the bonnet in half. With one side overlapping the other, pin the edges together.
If it looks like you’re folding a diaper, you’re doing it right!

Sew those two flaps together, right down the middle.

Press your seam.

Fold the front of the bonnet up in the same way you would a newspaper hat.

Iron on the fold and pin.

Cut two 20″ pieces of 3/8″ White Solid Grosgrain ribbon and pin it inside of the fold of the bonnet.
Pin one ribbon to each side.

Sew a straight stitch down the fold of the fabric, removing the pins as you sew.
When you start and finish at the ends, make sure to sew the ribbon down as well.

Iron one last time.

Try it on your child and tie the ribbon into a bow under her chin.
Trim the ends of your ribbon if needed.

That’s it!
I love how simple, yet elegant it is!

Hats For Thanksgiving - {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Last, but not least is our Pilgrim Hat.
This one is by far the easiest, not that any of them were super difficult.

Fabric Pilgrim Hat

Hats For Thanksgiving - {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}


1/4 yard Black Fabric (I used Essential Dots Jet Black)
1/4 yard Yellow Fabric (I used Bella Solids Yellow)
20″ Heavy Weight Stabilizer
1 1/2″ piece of Velcro
Black Thread
Yellow Embroidery Thread (optional)
Rotary Cutter
Cutting Mat
Quilter’s Ruler
Measuring Tape
Fabric Marker
That Purple Thang

Measure your child’s head, just as we did with the headband.

With paper or a manila file folder draw a pilgrim’s hat.
Just like the others, I drew this free hand.
Fold the file folder in half and cut both sides at once to make sure that it is even.

Also cut a long piece from your folder just bigger than the measurement of your child’s head.
Isaac’s head measures 23″ around.
I cut the file folder template to 26″ x 3″.

Trace your 26″ x 3″ piece onto the Pellon stabilizer and onto your yellow fabric, as well.
Cut the Pellon slightly smaller than you do the fabric.

Fold your black fabric in half.
Fold your file folder in half also.
Trace the folder template onto the black fabric, fold on fold, and cut it out.
You will cut two of these.

Trace the folder template onto the Pellon.
Cut it out just slightly smaller than you did the fabric.

You should have two fabric pieces and one piece of Pellon.

Iron your fabric and with the right sides facing, pin all the way around,
leaving an opening at the bottom.

With black thread sew all the way around the black fabric pilgrim hat, removing your pins as you sew,
leaving the bottom open.

Using That Purple Thang, turn the pilgrim hat inside out.

Press with the iron.
Slip the Pellon piece in between the two layers of the hat.

Working in small sections, carefully fold the edges of the fabric under.
Press and pin as you go.

Sew a straight stitch down the bottom of the hat, removing the pins as you sew.

Press with the iron one more time.

Now iron your yellow fabric.
Fold the fabric edges over the pellon all the way around.
Press and pin.

Sew a straight stitch all the way around, removing the pins as you sew.
I used white thread, but Pineapple or Daffodil would have looked nice.

Find the center of your hat and the center of your headband by folding them in half. Pin the middle of the hat to the headband. Don’t pin the “brim” part of the hat. You want it to stick out straight at the sides like a pilgrim hat, not to curve back like an Abe Lincoln hat.

Sew a straight stitch down the center of the hat, removing the pins as you sew.

Pin a 1 1/2″ strip of Velcro to each side of the headband.
Make sure that the prickly piece of Velcro is on one side of the headband and the fuzzy piece of Velcro is on the other. Make sure they are facing the right way before you sew it down.

Now, don’t forget about your buckle!

Cut out a 3″x3″ square of your yellow fabric.
Cut a slightly smaller square of Pellon.
Fold the two pieces in half and cut a smaller square out of the middle.

Find the middle of your hat by folding it in half.
Pin the yellow square “buckle” onto the middle of the hat.

You could sew it on with your sewing machine, but I thought
a hand stitched edge would give it a nice touch.

After your buckle is stitched on your hat is complete!

Hats For Thanksgiving - {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Now your kids will be ready to eat their Thanksgiving dinner in style!
My kids have been wearing their hats all weekend!
They sure are excited for this coming Thursday!

Hats For Thanksgiving - {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

I love that they love to dress up and when the day comes that they say they’re too old for dress ups I will be a sad mommy! But, these hats seem pretty sturdy, sturdy enough I can save them for my grandkids.

I’m not quite ready to think about that yet!

Happy Thanksgiving!
May your day be filled with family, friends, food and fun!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Holiday & Seasonal, Thanksgiving. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  1. Posted November 21, 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    These are adorable, thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Sherrie Pridemore
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    These are adorable. My mind is reeling only have 3 pillows, a blanket, new baby brother and big brother shirts, two head bands, two ponytail holders and one spin off of your turkey barrette all finished by 5 tomorrow. When can I make my friends little girl one of these? I’m thinking she’d prefer one of the more colorful ones, she’s 3. I like the bonnet but not sure Emmy would be able to make the connection as much as with the other two. I know I can use a bright color on the bonnet, but still leaning towards one of the others. Any thoughts?

    • Posted November 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Wow Sherrie! You sound like one busy girl! To save time you could always use hot glue to make the headband. I’m sure it would hold up better if it were sewn but when you’re in a pinch for time hot glue can be a life saver! Good luck!

  3. Cindy
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    This on is way easier than the McCall’s pattern I gave up on for my granddaughter who needs this for kindergarten! Thank you so much for saving the day and making Grandma look brilliant!?

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>