Nancy Daly Hat Lady Sewing With Nancy



Nancy Daly is the enthusiastic coordinator of the busy Hat Ladies! To date her group of volunteers has made over 30,000 fleece hats for causes and those in need. She started sewing hats 15 years ago for her own children and their sports teams, and it just grew from there. An invitation to sew for a Head Start class 12 years ago got her started sewing for programs in the community. Nancy and her group now sew for every Head Start child in Dane County (Madison, WI), 3–4 elementary schools, homeless shelters, free clothing sites, YWCA, Neighborhood Centers, After  School Programs, and the Salvation Army.

I invited her to be part of a Nancy’s Corner segment on Sewing With Nancy to share her special program in hopes that you’ll be encouraged to sew hats for children in your community.



Nancy Daly Hat Lady Sewing With Nancy







Fleece Hat pattern dimensions and instruction:

  • Draw two perpendicular lines, a 4-1/2″ horizontal line and a 7-1/2″ vertical line centered on the 4-1/2″ horizontal line.
  • Measure 2″ above the 4-1/2″ line and draw another 4-1/2″ horizontal line.


Nancy Daly Hat Lady Sewing With Nancy



  • Connect the outer edges. I drew free hand.
  • Write the word “Grainline” along the vertical line and “Stretch” along the horizontal line.


sew a fleece hat, hat ladies, nancy zieman



  • Cut out six hat panels. Notice the grainline.
  • Cut a 6″ x 22″ crosswise band (the stretch of the fabric).
  • Lastly, cut a 1″ x 3″ tassel, cutting fringes 2/3 the length of the tassel. If you like a fuller tassel, cut three 1″ x 3″ tassels.


Nancy Daly Hat Lady Sewing With Nancy



  • For an adult head size, use 1/4″ seam allowances. For a child’s size, stitch with 1/2″ (or larger) seam allowances.  Seam allowances can be adjusted, made deeper, to fit a child.  (The Hat Ladies sew the hats with the children close at hand. They’ve made so many hats that they know which seam allowance is best for the age/size child.)
  • Stitch three sections of each hat panel to create two hat halves.
  • Pin the tassel to one half.


Nancy Daly Hat Lady Sewing With Nancy



  • Stitch the two hat halves together.
  • Stitch the short edges of the hat band with the chosen seam allowance. Fold hat band in half, wrong sides together, meeting long edges.
  • Quarter mark the hat band and the hat.


Nancy Daly Hat Lady Sewing With Nancy



  • Pin the hat band to the hat at the quarter marks, pinning fabrics right sides together.
  • Slightly stretch the band to meet the hat. Stitch.


Nancy Daly Hat Lady Sewing With Nancy



  • Turn the band downward.
  • Ta Da!

In the spirit of  the Hat Ladies, please use this pattern and instructions for donating purposes only.



Nancy Daly Hat Lady Sewing With Nancy







What a prolific group!

In a typical season the Hat Ladies host about 45 Hat Gigs. All the hats are donated to the  recipients at a school or program.

Often, the children select the colors for their hat, and they sit with a Hat Lady to have it sewn to size. For many of the children, this is the first piece of brand-new clothing that belongs just to them.

If you would like to know more about this organization, please contact Nancy Daly. Her email is:  nmdaly@charter.net

Updates from Nancy Daly since taping the TV show

  • On November 1, the Hat Ladies made 461 hats in one day at a school and finished an hour before the end of the school day! At one point they had 17 Hat Ladies sewing at once and several others to keep the children flowing through the line.
  • On November 6, they helped a needy school raise $1220 for their PTO by selling and sewing hats on election day. It was another incredible event! They often had groups of people standing around just watching the Hat Ladies sew through piles of fleece, and presto, a new hat! At fundraising events, they charge $10 per hat with 100% of the proceeds donated to the cause. 
  • As of January 1, 2013, they’ve made nearly 5,000 hats this season, with our grand total of over 31,000 hats!
  • The Hat Ladies donate all their time, materials, and hats to worthy causes.

Watch my interview with Nancy Daly online

There are 52 programs to watch online, or on your iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone. Have you downloaded the app?

Sewing With Nancy app

Hats off to Nancy Daly and her group of Hat Ladies! I commend you all on your giving spirits and willing hearts.

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

Content in this feed is © copyright 2013 by Nancy Zieman and may not be republished without written permission. You’re welcome to forward the email to a friend or colleague but it’s not okay to add the RSS feed automatically as content on a blog or other website.