Hats Off To The (little) Chef

I may have mentioned before that I'm not a fantastic cook.  My husband and kids would likely second that, but at least I'm earnest. 

While I'm still learning and practicing my cooking skills, I've also been trying to get my kids more involved in preparing meals and experimenting in the kitchen along with me.

With that in mind, it occurred to me that attire could possibly inspire.

 Blog chefs above

In an effort to encourage Cameron's burgeoning interest in cooking and baking, I made her this cute chef's hat.  I've almost finished one for Jordy too.

I thought looking the part would give the kids a pinch and a dash more inspiration when they're having fun in the kitchen.

Blog chefs hat

A chef's hat is a super simple project and while there are any number of ways to make one, I'll walk you through my easy technique.

You'll need @3/4-yard of fabric, velcro and optional fusible interfacing.  First step is to make the following fabric cuts;  a 20 inch X 7 inch rectangle for the hat band and a 9 inch X 1-1/2 inch strip for facing. 

Also cut a fabric circle with a 22-inch diameter. 

Blog chefs circle

Mark a 5-inch line from the edge of the fabric circle.  Cut the line as shown in the photo below.

Please pardon the uncustomary wordiness in some of these instructions.  I departed from my usual brevity to make sure I cover every step as clearly as possible.

 Blog chef cut

Grab the 9 inch X 1-1/2 inch fabric strip which will serve as a mini binding to be placed around the slit that was just cut in the fabric circle.  Turn the strip by 1/4-inch and iron. 

Note: Some of the colors look a shade different from photo to photo due to inconsistent lighting conditions in-house.  All pieces shown are cut from the same fabric selection.

Blog chef strip 

Pin the 9 inch X 1-1/2 inch facing strip along the entire slit, pin in place and then stitch using a 1/2 seam allowance. 

Blog chef binding

After attaching the facing strip to the slit, turn the finished edge toward unfinished side, iron and then top stitch to secure.

 Blog chef binding iron

To make the hat band, first adhere fusible interfacing (or baste stitch another cut of matching 20 inch X 7 inch fabric) to the wrong side of this band. 

Heavier canvas-like fabric may not need interfacing but if you're using a lightweight fabric the extra stiffness gives the band a bit more support.

After applying the interfacing, turn one long edge over about 1/4-inch and iron.  Top-stitch the edge. 

Blog chef band

The gathering process is one of my least favorite aspects of any project because all too often my threads break and I have to start over. 

Because of the large distance of required gathering on this project, be extra careful pulling your gathered threads. 

You may also want to consider stitching a series of gathered sets around the fabric circle to minimize the possibility of thread breaks. 

Blog chef gathers

After gathering, pin the hat band (right sides together) to the hat.  Line up the each end with @1/2 clearance on each end.  Slide the gathers and ease to fit, pinning as you go.

You can adjust the size of the hat by simply changing the length of the band.

Stitch the band to the hat.  Fold the band in half toward the outside (rights sides together) and stitch each end from top to bottom using 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Blog chef apron band

Then turn the band inside-out and fold in half toward the inside (wrong sides together) of the hat and iron.


Blog chef finished

Remember that slit I cut earlier?  Here's a closeup look at the finished slit as it relates to the hat band. 

I think this technique makes a nice and clean finished edge that not only makes the hat more adjustable, but also gives it a more professional appearance.

Blog chef binding open

Finally, add some velcro to each end of the hat band.  Some velcro brands have adhesive on the back but I think it's better to actually stitch the velcro to the hat for a more secure hold. 

Learn from my mistake tip:  Do not stitch through velcro with adhesive-backing.  The adhesive will immediately gum up any needle and if you're using a sewing machine, the needle could carry adhesive down into the machine's internal parts which could cause serious damage to your machine.  If you're going to stitch the velcro on, use a brand without an adhesive-backing.

When you stitch the velcro, do not stitch through the entire band. Stitch the velcro to the inside of the band before securing the open edge of the band to the inside.  That way, the velcro stitching is not visible from the outside of the hat.  Once the velcro is attached, slipstitch the inside edge of the band to the hat to secure.

Blog chef velcro


Meanwhile, no chef's hat would be complete without an apron.  A nice coordinated-looking ensemble is created by using some of the same hat fabric for the apron ties and waistband.

I used fabric designer Amy Butler's Domestic Goddess pattern for this apron which is as easy to make as it is beautiful. 

 Blog chefs front2

I always think it's nice to personalize homemade projects when possible.  A little embroidery on the bodice goes a long way to make this garment that much more special for Cameron. 

Blog chefs name

This Amy Butler apron is definitely one of my favorite designs and I've used it several times to create a nice collection. 

Even though the same pattern was used multiple times, I think each apron still has its own personality thanks to the varied fabrics.

Blog chef aprons5


This Domestic Goddess pattern has simple, easy-to-understand instructions and the result is quick, elegant and oh-so feminine. 

Trust me, you won't be able to resist creating your own assortment.

Blog chef aprons4

Getting back to Cameron's ensemble, I think her hat and apron set looks just as adorable from the back as it does the front.  I love this linen-lookalike fabric which is so crisp when ironed.

Since this particular fabric is more on the lightweight side, I used some heavy-duty starch on the chef hat to give it more poof.

Blog chefs back2

I must admit that after I finished this ensemble, I initially thought it was almost too pretty for Cameron to actually use in the kitchen.  

I thought it might be a bit painful to see food ingredients and fingerprints all over the front. 

Blog chefs hat2

However, since I did make this apron/hat set for Cameron to wear as she practices her culinary skills my reluctance was fleeting.  I think it will be fine.  Besides, everything here is completely washable and easy enough to duplicate if necessary. 

Still, I may try to steer her away from recipes that contain grape juice or tomato sauce.

Blog chefs tight

Want to guarantee a smile on a loved ones face?  Try making a chef's hat and matching apron as a gift and you won't have any problem getting a smile as big as the great outdoors.

I think you can see Cameron is quite ready to whip up something in the kitchen right now.   

  Blog chef smile2

I look forward to the day when this budding young chef will be able to teach me a few things in the kitchen. 

Until then, hat's off to the (little) chef.

  • mariela

    hello looking for a model or pattern for my niece, now I will draw on paper the idea … what will my mother.

  • Jobs

    Very cute! I going to buy my nephew and apron now!

  • Beverly

    Is there anything you can’t do, I do no crafts ,but i love looking at other people’s talent.

  • melissa @ the inspired room

    How cute is that? Adorable!
    And I don’t know how to cook anything fancy either! Somehow my oldest has figured out how to cook on her own so I am feeling much less like a failure now šŸ™‚ I love it when she is home to cook for us. šŸ™‚

  • Jobs

    Nice aprons.. great job!

  • Dena Berg (Sugar Shop)

    Another great post!!! … and I LOVE the shot of all the aprons among the trees, it’s just so pretty and inspiring. XO

  • rochambeau

    Hi Lisa,
    YES~ Hats off To you for a great chef hat tutorial.
    Also, thanks to Cameron for being such a beautiful chef and model!

  • Betty @ She's Sew Pretty

    How fun! When my son was little he played a Russian baker in the Nutcracker. I looked everywhere for a chef hat. I should have thought to make one.

  • Pat

    The hat and apron are so cute. Cameron is beautiful!

  • Sarah (craft n clutter)

    Cute hat perhaps my nephew will be getting one of these for his birthday!
    That’s for stopping by my blog – it’s always nice to have visitors – and yes, there were a TON of collectibles at the PEZ convention. Stuff I’d never seen in real life before!
    I can’t wait to look around your blog a bit (I’ve already sneaked a peek at the Belfry ::swoon::).

  • Cora

    What a cute little chef and she has the most stylish accessories. The aprons are just gorgeous. One of my teen-aged daughters loves to cook (and I must say she does a great job). This would make a perfect birthday gift for her. She’ll love it. Thanks for the inspiration!!!!!

  • tea time and roses

    Hello Lisa!
    Oh what a beautiful smile, she is cute as a button!:o) The aprons are lovely!

  • Julie Size

    OMG Lisa…she is 10 shades of TOO CUTE! My Mother was a fantastic cook too…Me?? not so much!

  • Kelee Katillac

    Hi Lisa–came over from Alchemy–fun blog!!! Great tutorial and images!!

  • Jackie

    Hey Lisa, with all the other things that you CAN do, who needs to cook? LOL, just kidding. I’m always wanting to be a better cook as well, but never seem to have the time. Always has to be something quick & easy.
    The chef hat and aprons are gorgeous!

  • Deb Wisker

    You are the best mom ever!

  • Vicki

    Great blog Lisa. LOL, way out loud when I read your mother’s comments. From one cold cut girl to another…no worries, your gourmet talents are quite visible in other areas! I’m glad I hung around at the end of a recent event long enough to review your AWESOME scrapbook pages and discover your blog.

  • Deana

    Those aprons are fabulous!!!!

  • PamperingBeki

    Oh how cute! You’re a great mom.
    She’s such a beautiful girl! My daughter has the same name, but spelled differently. šŸ™‚

  • Jackie

    I think that it is sure to inspire many a culinary treat! I can’t wait to see what she will create with her new ensemble. Something yummy, I am sure, that won’t permanently stain.

  • Penny

    Lisa thank-you so much for yet another wonderful tutorial! And the info on the apron pattern. Your work is always just amazing!

  • Terriaw

    Cameron looks fantastic in her new cooking attire! What an adorable hat! and I love the aprons too. It bet it’s more fun to be in the kitchen now.

  • Jocelyn

    Very sweet. Cameron is just the cutest little girl. And I love your assortment of aprons. I always use an apron when I cook. Keeps the red and purple off of my clothes šŸ™‚

  • Sarah

    Oh I love it…what a great idea!

  • Candace

    Now that adorable outfit is inspiration for anyone who wants to learn to cook – and Cameron is too cute in it! And I also read you mom’s comment – how funny, Lisa (and a cute story!!)

  • Shell

    Cameron looks adorable in her chef hat and pretty apron. Beautiful aprons. You are always full of gorgeous creativity. I’m sure people have said this before to you, you should write a book with all your projects. It would be a hit.

  • SummerSadie

    Such a great idea! thanks for sharing.

  • Allie in MI

    How fabulous!!!! Very well-written tutorial and DARLING chef model! I never did learn to cook myself – great idea to teach the kiddos, lol, but oh what to do when they leave home. Guess I’ll have to move with them. *evil grin*

  • Julie

    Lovely apron and hat and she’s such a cute model! Thanks for the well-written tutorial!

  • Elaine (mom) Tutman

    Lisa, I love this post and let me tell your readers why. When Lisa and her siblings were early teenagers, each family member had a “cook dinner” night (I cooked on Saturdays and Sundays). Lisa’s siblings became accomplished cooks. On Lisa’s assigned night, she always put out an attractive array of cold cuts, breads, crackers or rolls,and a variety of condiments for make-your-own-sandwiches. I did not realize until years later that Lisa had not learned to cook. Her fixings were so nicely presented that we did not notice. She is not making my mistake with her own children. Good job, Lisa. Love, Mother Woman

  • jen R Sanctuary arts at home

    Your little chef is way too cute!

  • Lola G.

    Gorgeous goodies!

  • Stephanie

    She looks thrilled with her new creations. Your photos and tutorials are always so clear. I think it’s great to encourage the emerging interests of our children.

  • adrienne

    How cute!!! You know what….I’ve never wanted an apron until now! LOL