Claire and Cherry Pie

A very special hat

Today I made a hat; it was a very special hat. It was a reversible bucket hat, but that wasn’t what made it special.

bucket hat fabric

One side was made from a zesty citron green linen that was soft, light and breathable and came from Cleggs – my favourite fabric wonderland .  But that wasn’t what made it special.

hat green side

The other side was made from a cheerful, multi-colour scallop shell print cotton ordered from that phenomenal online fabric store, Spoonflower, and that points towards why it was special, but it wasn’t what made it special.

scallop side

It had a band of the contrasting fabric on each side, but that wasn’t what made it special.

It was all sewn up with matching citron green thread with rows of stitching around the brim to make it look just a bit flashy and give it a bit of extra stiffness (floppy brims in your face can get quite annoying!).  But that wasn’t what made it special.

hat stitching

I resized and altered a  free reversible child’s bucket hat pattern downloaded from Oliver + S,  to make my own pattern in the correct head size (22 inches) – the pattern goes up to 21 inches as the biggest size so this wasn’t too difficult.  The pattern itself is pretty easy to follow – there is some hand sewing involved but you could quite easily get a good production line going and churn out a bunch for summer in fun, colourful patterns.  Resizing something like this up one inch isn’t too complicated if you use the ratio method and there is a thread on the site about it from others who have resized it in different ways to fit an adult head size.  If you prefer a more rounded, safari look here is a different style fabric sunhat, also easy to make but the pattern is only available in a size 22!   But putting in extra time and dedication wasn’t what made it special.

scallop side stitching

I made a matching bag for it with a scallop shell appliqué to keep it packed up safe on its travels when not being worn.  A simple and efficient bag made from a rectangle of green linen folded in half with the edges sewn on two sides and the top rolled over then sewn down – leaving enough room for the cord to go through.  The scallop shell appliqué was made using a simple scallop shell template found online and traced on the scallop fabric with tailors chalk, iron on interfacing (whisper weft) to attach it to the green fabric and then sewn around the edges and ridges of the shell using the same citron green thread.  But that wasn’t what made it special.

hat bag

Would you like to know what made this hat so special?

A friend of my mothers’ who is journeying to Europe next week to walk the Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage to the Cathedral de Santiago in the city of Santiago in Spain, commissioned this hat from me along with a couple of felt cloche’s for when she returns home in the cooler weather and wants something fabulous to wear.  Green is her favourite colour and the Scallop shell is the symbol of the Camino.

Scallop Shell gutter cover

Scallop shell gutter cover in Leon, Spain along the Camino

All commissioned hats are special because the person I am making them for has put their trust in me to create something fabulous just for them and I take that responsibility very seriously. But this hat is special for a more personal reason; in 2011 right after receiving my Dysautonomia diagnosis I walked the last part of the Camino de Santiago, 110km from Sarria to Santiago. I wrote a little bit about it in the About me section if you’d like to read more – it was a life-changing experience and one I don’t think I will ever forget.

Cathedral de Santiago - the end of The Way

Cathedral de Santiago – the end of The Way

I reminisced about my own journey on ‘The Way’ as I sewed every stitch of her hat, both by machine and by hand – my journey seems like so long ago now. As I pinned the fabric and felt the smooth, soft weight of it on my hands I imagined her putting it on each morning as she leaves the Albergue after her breakfast of coffee and toast, to set off on the next part of her journey.  At that time of the morning the gravel or bitumen or cobble stones or packed dirt or whatever other track she is walking on will be glistening in the sun from the night frost. Clouds will condense in the sharp air when she breathes out but the delicious tendrils of sunshine will warm her skin every time they reach her.  The mornings will be cool and crisp but the days will get increasingly warmer as she walks closer to Santiago and the sun will get eventually become quite fierce as the peak of summer draws closer; she will definitely be needing a hat. It is spring over there now, like it was when I walked, and there will be beauty everywhere she looks – particularly towards the end in Galicia which is the wetter region of Spain so often dismissed as being a more boring part of the walk.  Sure it may not have the towering peaks of the pyrenees or the endless wheat fields of the Meseta but it will have a plethora of wild flowers and new growth to enjoy, stunning architecture, wonderful, friendly people to meet and very Spanish experiences to be had, many that are completely unique to the Camino itself.  Galicia is full of life.

When life doesn't go according to plan...

She will also walk through areas of Australian gum trees planted for timber milling – they love the region and have become a bit of a pest species in the lush northern region, out of their normal habitat!  But they are a fragrant and welcome reminder of home for the weary Australian traveler! You notice so much more of the world when you are going at walking pace, carrying your belongings with you and without a set schedule to adhere to; it is truly freeing.

The pack I carried on my journey

It was an honour for me to make this hat for her and I wish her a wonderful journey with very few days of rain where she walks, sturdy boots, an energising walking playlist, a pack that always stays comfortable, conscientious dorm room companions and excellent blister protection. I hope she finds everything she is looking for and more, just like I did. I hope she gets enough sleep in a packed Albergue and doesn’t get bed bug bites like I did. I hope she will indulge herself with a hotel room and a long soak in a bath every now and then instead of Albergue’s every night, just like I did (it’s completely worth the extra Euros!).  I know she will make friends and memories she will treasure for a lifetime, just like I did.

Toasting the Cathedral at sunset

A toast to new friends, the Camino and the Cathedral at Sunset with Sangria from the supermarket

Part of me wishes I were going too, a very big part of me if I am totally honest! But this is her journey and she must walk it alone. Well not really alone, you’re never alone for long on the Camino!

Buen Camino Zonda,
have a wonderful Way

Hat with matching bag


  1. Cat @ThatBettieThing

    That is special. I have a family friend who has walked famous walks all over the world, and this is one of her favourites.

    1. ClaireCherryPie (Post author)

      I can understand why Cat, it’s an amazing walk!
      It would be fabulous to do different walk all over the world, she must have some wonderful stories to tell

  2. Kathy Kaplan OAM

    In case I haven’t told you before, and I know I have, I LOVE your writing style and this blog was special even though it drove me crazy to find out what the ‘special’ thing was.
    I also LOVE that hat!!!! May I ask how much it is ‘cos I need one that shape, that folds nicely for travelling but unravels well and that BREATHES.
    Sending love –

    1. ClaireCherryPie (Post author)

      Thank you Kathy! It was a pretty special hat – and a joy to make 🙂
      I can’t wait to see Zonda’s photos when she gets back 😀
      She reported in on how she and the hat (named Shelly) were doing along the way and it sounds like she had a wonderful time


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