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Gail Brown’s Creative Kindness Beret

Beret

Dedication: Celebrating the generous spirit of Jean Ann Harding (11/5/21 - 7/17/96), who always made time to help others.

Losing your hair doesn’t have to mean losing hope—or dignity. But Nancy and I soon discovered that comfortable, fashionable head coverings are in short supply. Basic sewing skills and a willing heart can help fill this growing need.

The Creative Kindness Beret is not only easy to wear, it is easy to make. There are only four simple steps from start to finish. Vary the fabric, color, accents, or crown size, and this stylish cap can take on an amazing range of personalities.

Note from Nancy
Gail designed this beret for cancer patients but my staff and I realized that this is also a terrific project for nursing home residents, as well as the needy and homeless. Leave it to Gail to come up with such a versatile design. She also wears the beret herself and recommends it as a fashion-right accessory or bad-hair day camouflage. This is a great project for beginners, too, particularly when made of fleece, a fabric that “forgives” stitching and fitting inaccuracies.

Supplies Needed for Two Creative Kindness Berets

  • 5/8 yard of 60" (or wider) soft, comfortable knit fabric, such as medium to lightweight fleece, cotton or cotton blend interlocks and stretch knits.

  • Matching all-purpose thread
  • Note: All seam allowances are 1/4"

Step 1: Cut out the fabric pieces.

  • Cut one band piece 22" x 4" (small), 23" x 4" (medium), or 24" x 4" (large). For optimum comfort and fit, the longer length of the band should be parallel to the stretchiest (crosswise) grain.

    Beret

  • Cut out two 13" circles* for the crown of each beret. One circle will be the upper crown and one will be the lower crown. Quarter fold each crown circle, clipping the outer edge at the quartermarks.

    Beret

  • On the lower crown piece, cut a 6" circle* out of the center. Save the 6" circle for an optional rose accent (see Style Variations below). Quarter fold and clip the inner edge of “donut”.

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    *For the fastest, most accurate circle pattern cutting, try the Yardstick Compass.

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Step 2: Create the band.
Note: If possible, fit the band to the wearer’s head before final stitching of the band seam. Because of the forgiving nature of most knits, size alterations of the band won’t require any alterations of the lower crown.

  • Stitch the short ends of the band, right sides together. Finger press the seam open. If using heavier fabrics such as fleece, layer the seam allowance widths to minimize bulk.

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  • Fold the band in half, enclosing the seam. Align the raw edges and quarterfold, clipping at the quartermarks.

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Step 3: Stitch the band to the crown.

  • Matching the quartermarks, pin the band to the inner edge of the lower crown, right sides together.
  • Stitch the band to the lower crown. Stitch the allowances together, 1/4" from seamline. Trim to the stitching.**

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Step 4: Stitch lower crown to upper crown.

  • Matching the quartermarks, pin the lower and upper crown pieces, right sides together.
  • Stitch the crowns together. Stitch the allowances together, 1/4" from the seamline. Trim to the stitching.**

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** If available, substitute serged seaming, stitching and trimming in one step.

Style Variations

  • Add a rosette to the beret band.
    • Use the 6" circle cut from the lower crown piece (see Step 1); quarterfold and cut out a 2" (or so) center.
      Beret

    • Finish the outer edge of the rosette. For a no-sew finish, cut decoratively with a rotary cutter using a pinking or waved blade. For a sewn finish, serge with a rolled edge or turn under 1/4" and zigzag. Optional: Make a “lettuced” look on the edge by shortening the stitch length and stretching as you serge or sew.
    • Machine baste 1/4" from the edge of the inside opening, securing one end. Gather the opening closed.

      Beret

      With the gathering thread, hand baste to the cap band, half way between the center front and center back of one side (or as desired). Optional: For a color accent, sew a button in the center of the rosette.

  • For less fullness, decrease the crown diameter to 12"; for more fullness, increase the crown diameter to 14" (Step 1).
  • For a two-tone beret, cut the lower crown, band, or rosette from a contrasting fabric.
  • Vary the depth of the beret band to better suit the wearer’s style and fit preferences.

Children’s sizes
Note: If possible, because of the range of juvenile head sizes, fit the band to the child, making any alterations necessary. For most teenagers, we recommend adult sizing. All sewing instructions are the same as for the adult version, with the exception of the following measurements changes (Step 1).

  • Cut one band piece 22" x 4" (large), 21" x 4" (medium), 20" x 4" (small), or 19" x 4" (extra small). For optimum comfort and fit, the longer length of the band should be parallel to the stretchiest (crosswise) grain.
  • Cut out two 12" circles for the crown of each beret. One will be the upper crown and one will be the lower crown. For more or less fullness decrease (to 10-12") or increase (to 13") the crown diameter.
  • On the lower crown piece, cut a 5-1/2" circle out of the center. Quarter fold and clip the inner edge at the quartermarks. Save the 5-1/2" circle for an optional rose accent.

More Beret and Cap Making Tips

  • If you or your group are making several berets in different sizes and styles, and you have more fabric than time, cut out the large size crown circle and band for all berets. Then restyle or resize by deepening the seam allowances.
  • For a lighter weight scarf, make a bandanna.
  • Show your support of and solidarity with a friend suffering from hair loss by making a habit of wearing caps and hats yourself. The person camouflaging hair loss won’t look or feel so obviously different.
Please tell us how you or your group shared Creative Kindness through making and donating this beret. We welcome your feedback. If you have comments about this pattern, or suggestions for other head covering styles, please email Creative Kindness.


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