Thursday, August 18, 2011

Crocheting Hats for Preemies – Tutorial & Pattern

Making hats for preemies not difficult and it is a quick project for charity or hospital donations.

First we need to discuss sizing. Preemies come in all sizes. Below is a chart I developed based on head circumference.

Head Circumference
Hat Circumference
Hat Height- edge to crown
Hat Crown Diameter
1-2 lbs.
2-3 lbs.
4-5 lbs.
5-6 lbs.

Crochet hats have 1” – 1 ½ “ stretch. That is why the hat circumference is smaller than the head circumference. Hat height is measured before brim. If you want to add a rolled up brim continue for ½ “ to 1” longer. 

So now that we have some approximate measurements for preemie hats. Here is how to design your own hats.  Following this method you may use any yarn, hook and stitch combination to get the size you want.  Here is how.


The Hat Crown Diameter is the key to achieving the right hat circumference.  To understand this, we need to go back to geometry.  And you said you would never need to use that stuff! :-)

To figure out how large to make the hat crown you take the desired hat circumference and divide it by 3.14 (remember your good friend π). For those of you who are mathematically minded it looks like this.

Crown Diameter = Desired Circumference / 3.14


You simply increase evenly until you reach the desired crown diameter, then stop increasing and continue to add rows until desired hat length from crown to bottom edge.  If this is Greek to you here is how to increase evenly and shape your hat crown.

Your first step is to decide on what stitch you want to use and the number of sts to start with. Usually when I am crocheting in the round I start with 6-8 if using sc, 8-10 if using hdc and 10-12 if using dc.  Now to increase evenly you will increase each round by the same number of stitches you started with in the first round.  Here is the general pattern

R1: Start with your beginning number of sts in a magic loop – join with sl st (every round)
R2: ch up as many as you need to for your sts (every round), 2 sts in each st
R3: 1 st in first st, 2 sts in the next st (this is the “increase”)– repeat around to end
R4: 1 st in the first 2 sts, 2 sts in the next st– repeat around to end
R5: 1 st in the first 3 sts, 2 sts in the next st - repeat around to end
R6: 1 st in the first 4 sts, 2 sts in the next st - repeat around to end

Continue rounds in this pattern, adding one more st between each increase with each round, until you reach the desired Crown Diameter.  Then continue in each round crocheting one st into each previous st until you reach the desired height from edge to crown.

You may need to play around with sts and hook size to get the Crown Diameter you want.

Below is a pattern to get you started.


 This hat should have a circumference of about 11” and height of 4”

Chunky Weight Yarn Level 5
Size L Hook

  *Join each round with a slip st in first st*
R1: Magic Loop, Ch. 1, 8 hdc
R2: Ch1, 2 hdc in each st
R3: Ch1, *1 hcd in the first st, 2 hdc in the next st* repeat * to * until end
R4 -7: Ch1, hdc in each st around.
R8: Ch1, crab stitch around for edge. Join with invisible join. OR you could sc around or use any edge st you like.

Here is another website that has some more pattern to get you started. 
Have fun making hats for the littlest littles!!

You may download this tutorial in PDF Form Here or Here

***** You may do anything you like with items you make using my patterns.  If you sell them on-line I only ask that you link back to the post. You may also link back to this post on any blog or website. Please do not copy any part of this pattern and claim it as your own or copy and re-post it elsewhere. Thank You ***** 


  1. Thanks so much for this pattern. I shall attempt to make one or more. My grandson now almost 3 was born weighing less than 4lbs and 9 weeks premmie in 2008. He wore the little premmie hats made and donated by some wonderful ladies and I would like to do my bit to give back to the NICU for their brilliant care of not only my grandson but also the many other babies who enter this world way before their time.

  2. Great info...thanks for sharing!!

  3. Awesome! I always have trouble with the diameter, but you made it easy! Thanks!

  4. Wow this is awesome! I have been trying to figure this out how to make a custom size hat but I didn't know how to do the math. Found you via pinterest and you have some really cute patterns. I'm your newest follower :)

    Christine @ Projects Around the House

  5. I stumbled on to your site looking for preemie caps. I tried several patterns and they just did not come out right, and now I understand why. Thank you so much for clarifying the measurements and the math lesson!

  6. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I have begun a project called Rosie's Cozies, where I collect and donate hats to my local NICU for the micro preemies, as well as average size babies. It has been so hard to know how small to make hats for different pound babies....and many people have asked me. Included on my site are free preemie patterns as well. Please check me out. I have just linked to your site in my recent post:

    Please feel free to find Rosie's Cozies on Facebook too to read about the story behind the project.

    God Bless you!

    1. Thank you Betty! I am so glad this tutorial is helpful to your ministry! Thanks for linking to me!

  7. Do you have a chart for all hat sizes from babies to adults?

    1. Yup, it's at this link. Hat sizing is not an exact science, so please keep in mind the recipient when sizing. :)

    2. Thank you for an excellent description on using the increase! Great pattern for begginers! Hook on!!

  8. I have enjoyed reading your blog and viewing your tutorials. Thanks again for sharing this for new crocheters like myself. As I mentioned in an earlier email, I have finally completed all the editing to my new blog and as you requested … you can find it here … Rocky @

  9. This is a wonderful guide and tutorial. I printed the PDF to share with a friend. She's a nurse at the county hospital Neo-natal ICU. She says that some "dear ladies" make and donate caps for the preemies but they are not really soft and not stretchy enough. Maybe this will give them a gentle hint.