The Best Top Down Hat Crochet Patterns
It’s almost gifting season! Do you make hats as gifts for your loved ones? I’ve asked some of today’s top crochet designers for their best top down crochet hat patterns and they didn’t disappoint. You can stop scouring the internet and search through this comprehensive guide that includes over 40 popular top down crochet hat patterns.
Before we jump into the patterns, you may be asking yourself what exactly “top down crochet hat” means. Well, there are several types of construction methods used (like bottom up) and after you’ve tried a few, you may develop a preference for one or the other. Additionally, each method uses different techniques to get the fit just right. So I want to ensure you understand how these hats are made so you know what to expect as you are crocheting them, but also how to adjust the sizing so you get that perfect fitting hat every time.
Ready? Let’s get started!
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What is a Top Down Crochet Hat?
There are a few different types of crochet hat construction methods, one being top-down. Just like it sounds, you crochet the hat from the top part first, and continue until you get to the brim. Usually, top-down crochet hat patterns begin with a magic circle or magic ring. The number of stitches in the magic ring can vary, but let’s use an example where you begin by crocheting six (6) stitches into the magic ring. Then, each subsequent round will increase by six stitches until you have a flat circle that fits the dimensions required for your hat size.
The diameter of this flat circle is going to determine the diameter of the hat. Once you complete the flat circle, you will stop increasing the flat circle and continue crocheting rounds that do not increase, which will cause the sides of the hat to start forming. After you crochet the sides of the hat, you can finish it off with additional details like a brim, earflaps, and a pom.
Top down crochet hats can use all types of crochet stitches and color combinations, ranging from beginner basic to intricate textures. They also use yarn weights from the thinnest fingering or sock weight to super bulky and beyond. The bulkier weight yarn you use, the thicker and heavier the hat will be.
What are the Types of Top Down Crochet Hats?
There are several types of hats that are made from the top down. Here are some common hat patterns:
- Bucket hat
- Sun hat or wide-brimmed hat
- Earflap hat
- Slouch hat
- Gnome hat
Several of these hats can also be made from the bottom up too, but that’s another roundup post coming soon.
How to Get Started Crocheting a Top Down Hat?
To get started with your top down crochet hat, first, find the pattern you would like to make. There are many patterns out there on Pinterest, and I’ve gathered several ideas further down in this post that you can choose from. Many are free patterns on a designer’s blog or have a printable PDF for purchase if you’d like to print your own copy.
Next, you need to gather your materials and supplies. Get enough yarn as defined by your pattern, and the appropriate crochet hook. You’ll also need scissors, a yarn needle to weave in yarn tails, and any embellishments like buttons or poms you plan to add.
Tips to Successfully Crochet Your Top Down Hat
In my opinion, the most important thing to know for top down crochet hats is that it’s all about getting the diameter of the beginning flat circle correct. If you’re making the hat for yourself, you can try the hat on as you go along. So once you get a few rounds of the sides of the hat made, do a fit check. It allows you to adjust before you complete the hat and eliminates some frogging.
Another thing you should know about top down hats is that the fit of the hat will be determined by the flat circle prior to beginning the sides. For a fitted beanie, the flat circle will be crocheted to the diameter of the head size. Make the circle wider than the diameter of the head to get a looser fit or slouchy hat.
Common FAQs about Top Down Crochet Hat Patterns
What Size to Make a Top Down Crochet Hat?
You can crochet a top down hat in any size from premie to adult, or even customize the size you need. The pattern you choose should have defined dimensions, but you can always reference the Craft Yarn Council’s standard hat sizes.
How do I maintain the right stitch count?
To ensure you get the right stitch count in each round, place a stitch marker at the beginning of each round. Doing so will help you identify the first and last stitch in each round. Alternatively, you can use a piece of yarn and lay it across your round between the first and the last stitch in each round.
What yarn and hook size is best for top down crochet hats?
You can use any size yarn for your top down crochet hats. The lighter weight yarn such as fingering and sport weight will make a light-weight hat. Heavier weight yarns will make a super chunky hat. Your pattern should specify the yarn and hook, but if you are making your own hat without a pattern, I’d recommend starting with a hook size that is commonly used for the yarn weight. Often this can be found on the yarn label.
What are some common stitches for top down crochet hats?
There are many stitches that can be used in top down crochet hat patterns. They often begin with basic stitches such as single crochet, half double crochet, or double crochet stitches. Because the beginning of the hat requires you to increase with each round, the stitches will typically be easy to increase.
How do I finish off a top down crochet hat?
Since top-down hats finish at the bottom, you will often complete the hat by adding the brim or earflaps. These may be added separately and in a complementary color, and sometimes the brim can be made by continuing in the round but switching to an alternate stitch.
Can I adjust the length of my top down crochet hat?
Yes, you can very easily adjust the length of the hat by adding or subtracting rounds in the side section. These rounds control how tall the hat becomes. For a beanie or tight-fitting hat, the length of the sides is often equal to the diameter of the hat. Slouchy hats will usually have more rounds on the sides to make the hat fit loosely on your head.
How can I adjust the gauge for a top down crochet hat?
Gauge for top down crochet hats can be adjusted in a few ways. Similar to how gauge can be adjusted for something like a blanket or garment, you can adjust the gauge by using an alternate hook and/or changing the tension of how you create your stitches.
What do I do if my top-down hat is turning out too big/small?
If your hat is turning out too big, first assess what part is too big. If it is too wide, then you need to make a smaller flat circle before beginning the sides. Frog your hat back to the increasing rounds and start by taking out one of the increasing rounds. If the hat fits your head, but it’s sticking up too high or too long, then you need to remove some rounds in the side portion.
When your hat is turning out too small for your head, you can adjust the pattern in two ways. If the hat is too tight, go back to the increasing rounds and add another one (or many) until it reaches the desired diameter measurement. Then you can begin the sides. Once you have the top of the hat fitting correctly, you can adjust the number of rounds in the side of the hat to meet your desired length.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Top Down Crochet Hats
In summary, there are many different kinds of crochet hat patterns out there, and knowing more about how each type is constructed can give you a better idea of how to crochet a perfect fit. As we previously reviewed, top down hats are made in the round, and the size of the hat is determined by how wide the flat circle is made prior to starting the side rounds. You can adjust the width of that starting circle by adding or subtracting rounds. Once you’ve mastered the flat circle size, stop increasing in each round. Continue the next rounds with the same number of stitches to make the sides.
There may or may not be a brim for top down hats, and some specialty hats like bucket hats and sun hats will have special instructions for ensuring the brim of the hat ends up wider than the fitted part of the hat. Earflap hats will often require one of both flaps to be added separately.
Check out the patterns referenced above to get started. Many are free to follow along on the designer’s blog and you can try any of the sizes you like. If you still have questions about top down crochet hats, let me know in the comments.