While it is lovely to have a beautiful hat, it is probably more important that the hat functions well in shading the face, ears and neck of the wearer (though if the wearer doesn’t like the hat and won’t wear it, it doesn’t matter how much shade the hat provides). Since I have been making hats I have been doing a lot of hat-spotting while out, and I have seen many pre-school aged children (in particular) wearing bucket hats with very small brims that really don’t provide much shade, or they sit high on the head which again results in less shade for the face and neck. Also, if the brim is too large such that it is folded up to be worn, the protective effect of the larger brim is negated.
I did a bit of searching on the Internet and found that the Cancer Council has guidelines for hats and a document on Sun Smart Hats. They recommend that bucket hats shade the face, neck and ears by having:
– a deep crown so the hat sits low on the head,
– a brim width of at least 5 cm for a pre-school aged child or 6 cm for primary school aged children and older (including adults), and
– hats should be made from a close weave fabric, should not obscure vision and have good ventilation
– should have a dark lining to reduce the amount of UV radiation being reflected onto the face and eyes
Using the above information, and without getting any hats tested for an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating, I made the following decisions:
1) I would make the hats out of cotton patchwork fabrics for both the outside of the hats and the lining. Patchwork fabrics come in a wide variety of patterns and colours and tend to have a more dense weave compared to other lightweight cotton fabrics. The first hat I made my son had one layer of patchwork fabric on the outside and was lined with cotton drill which is a much heavier fabric. The drill made the hat heavier and hotter to wear than it needed to be for summer hat.
2) I would attempt to have dark fabrics on the inside of the hats, though that would depend on what I can find to match prints, and what is available in collections since it is easier to match fabrics if they come from the same collection.
3) I would make the hat brims for kids more than 5 cm wide, but less than 7 cm which was the width of the first hat (medium size) I made my 3.5-year-old son (it appeared to obscure his vision at times). Brim sizes for the kids hats now range from 5.5 cm for the XS size (for older babies, approximately 10 months+) through to 6.25 cm for the large hats (though brims may vary a few millimetres in size due to the nature of being handmade).
I will be posting photographs of hats that are available for sale soon, as well as fabrics I have available should anyone want a hat customised (change brim size, add chin strap, etc.).
*I have no association with the Cancer Council, all information was found via Internet searches*