Saturday, 23 July 2016

Women’s Land Army hat

Haberdasheries: 80 cm (part) cotton 1” wide grosgrain ribbon, WLA badge

Oh dear, the last time I posted was april! It probably seems like I didn’t do anything for several months, but I did sew – mainly alterations and other things that weren’t really blog-worthy though.

But here’s something I’ve made that I do think is worth posting: a World War 2 Women’s Land Army (WLA) hat. Obviously I didn’t make this as a standalone item, but am working on a complete WLA uniform. Most of which I, happily, have been able to buy instead of sew! The only thing I’m missing is the sweater, which is rather hard to come by in wool.

You can find photos of the WLA on my WLA Pinterest page.

I bought the 100% wool brown hat on sale at H&M. Here’s how it looked before I customised it:

The main example I used to base my hat on, was this one from the Imperial War Museum:
Hat: Women’s Land Army © IWM (UNI 73)

As you can see, the hat has a very particular shape. I expected it would be no problem to permanently reshape my hat, simply by wetting it, shaping it and letting it dry. But what was I going to use as a mould? Eventually I found several items that had the right size to form the mould:

And once I had found those, it was indeed very easy to shape the hat. After the hat had dried (which took rather a long time!), I cut about 4 cm from the brim. I sewed on an at least part cotton beige grosgrain ribbon (it was difficult to source the right colour AND width, but eventually I found the right ribbon on Etsy), and pinned on the reproduction WLA badge. And here’s the result!


I did a quick, untidy, sort of ‘40s updo to model the hat. Naturally I’ll post photos of the entire uniform once I’ve worn it, but I don’t know when that will be!


  1. Oh my gosh, this is awesome! I'm on the hunt for a WLA hat, but they're very tricky to find for a good price. Thanks for posting this. It gives me hope!

  2. By the way, could you tell me more about how you shaped it? it's hard to tell from the photo. Thank you!!

    1. Thank you!
      Oh, you're right, I didn't describe how I did the shaping. Well, I looked for items which could create the spherical shape in the middle of the hat (the vase and upside down bowl in the photo), and the rim around it (the flowerpot in the photo). I then placed the vase and bowl inside the flowerpot, and the wet hat over the lot (the crown of the hat had about the same diameter as the flowerpot), and pushed part of the hat's crown into the space between the items, by hand, to create the dent inbetween the spherical shape and the rim. Does that make things clearer?

    2. Yes, thank you! I finally got my brown wool hat, so I'm going to give it a try! Did you spray the hat with water or soak the whole thing?

    3. I'm quite sure I soaked the whole thing!

  3. This is wonderful! Could please tell me how wide your brim ended up being. And how high the crown was once you had blocked it. Thanks so much Adele xx

    1. Oh dear, I completely forgot to reply!
      Just in case you still need the information (and otherwise it might help someone else!) - my brim is now 5.5 cm wide (but I added a 1 cm hem to it a while after I posted it so it used to be about 6.5 cm wide) and the crown is 6.5 cm high.