Nancy Daly Hat Lady Sewing With Nancy



Nancy Daly is the enthusiastic coordinator of the busy Hat Ladies. Make that Hat Ladies and Gentlemen, as two men have recently joined the group! The Hat Ladies project was featured on a segment of Nancy’s Corner on Sewing With Nancy in hopes that you’ll be encouraged to sew hats for children in your community.

Nancy Daly recently emailed with an update of the group’s diligent and generous work.

“The Hat Ladies (and Gentlemen) continue to sew fleece hats for causes and those in need. This year marks the 14th year we’ve sewn for/with every Head Start child in Dane County, WI. Other recipients have included children at six full Madison elementary schools, numerous after-school programs, Salvation Army Shelter, Girls on the Run of Dane County, YWCA, several community center programs, and free clothing sites. The group set a one day record this year, sewing 750 hats for one of the elementary schools! For the second year in a row we will be making over 7,000 hats for causes and those in need.






In November 2015, our grand total of fleece hats topped the 50,000 mark! Thinking how to truly mark the occasion and celebrate, we did it in true Hat Ladies fashion, by smiling and then going on to make hat number 50,001! The Hat Ladies (and Gentlemen), numbering around 50 people, will gather for an end of season luncheon in January.” – Nancy Daly












If you are interested in creating fleece hats to donate in your local community, The Hat Ladies have shared this pattern below:



Nancy Daly Hat Lady Sewing With Nancy







Fleece Hat pattern dimensions and instructions:

We have adapted those directions and included them in a FREE pattern project sheetYou can download the pdf file HERE.

  • 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.






  • Connect the outer edges. I drew free hand to initially develop the curve..





  • Write the word “Grainline” along the vertical line and “Stretch” along the horizontal line. This pattern piece is included in the download pattern, here.






  • Cut six hat panels per hat from fleece. Make sure fabric stretch runs crosswise.
  • Cut a 6″ x 22″ crosswise band (the stretch of the fabric).
  • Optional: Cut three 1″ x 3″ tassel pieces, cutting fringes 2/3 the length of the tassel. 


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.
Note from Nancy: When sewing fleece knit fabrics, use a size 11/14 ball point needle. You may opt to use a serger to join the hat seams.
  • Pin the tassel to one half.


Nancy Daly Hat Lady Sewing With Nancy



  • Stitch the two hat halves, right sides together, with tassels hanging down between the two halves. Turn crown right side out.
  • Stitch the short edges of the hat band with the chosen seam allowance. Fold hat band in half, wrong sides together, meeting long edges.
  • Optional: Quarter mark the hat band and the hat.


Nancy Daly Hat Lady Sewing With Nancy



  • Align hat band to hat crown with right sides together.
  • Slightly stretch band to meet hat. Stitch.


Nancy Daly Hat Lady Sewing With Nancy



  • Turn band downward.
  • Ta-Da!
Note from Nancy Daly: The Hat Ladies always add a 3″ folded length of twill tape into inner hat. Using a fabric marker, write the child’s name on the twill tape.

In the spirit of the Hat Ladies and Gentlemen, 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 and Gentlemen host about 45 Hat Gigs. All the hats are donated to the recipients at a school or program—all with high concentrations of low-income children.

Often, the children select the colors for their hat, and they sit with a Hat Lady or Gentleman 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’re inspired to make hats for children in your community, or would like to know more about this organization, please contact Nancy Daly at nmdaly@charter.net

Download the Pattern and Instructions

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

This pattern and outreach effort is included in the Sew To Give charity and outreach sewing/quilting opportunities collection.


Sew To Give | Nancy Zieman Charity and Outreach Sewing and Quilting Campaign | Nancy's Corner | Sewing With Nancy



Watch Nancy’s Corner Interview with Nancy Daly on Sewing With Nancy online.

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Nancy Daly Hat Lady Sewing With Nancy

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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