For those of you who make cut-and-sew hats (i.e. newsboys, flat caps, etc.), what do you use for the brim?

I've previously used two-ply buckram or heavy-weight buckram combined with interfacing. I've gotten decent results, but I'm so picky, I want it to be perfect.

I know that pre-bought brims are also available. Plus there are thermoplastics. I haven't used any of those options for brims yet.

What gives the best result? What looks the most professional, do you think?

Tags: caps, newsboy

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Years ago I bought a plastic that was sold by the yard and have been working through that for my brims in caps. I've tried to find more of it, but can only find pre-cut brim inserts at Judith told me that they can no longer find the yardage. I haven't tried the pre-cuts yet, but am considering ordering some to test them out.

I like the plastic because it's water proof and can be shaped to the arc that many people like in a brim (bill). It keeps its shape. I've not tried buckram as it can lose its shape if it gets wet (for example, worn in the rain) or is roughly handled (such as wadding up a cap and putting it in a pocket or tote bag).

I experimented in a cap that I made for my son by using plastic cut to shape from an empty gallon water bottle. So far, even with his rough treatment of the cap, it's held up. I used the curve in the bottle (jug) as the arc for the brim. I don't think I could get more than 2 brims out of a jug. The wearer never knows what is in the brim and it's a great way to repurpose and recycle. You could try it and see what you think.

Now how clever is that?! But cutting is hard on the hands, isn't it?

My hands are arthritic and weak due to a medical issue, but I can get it done. I use a scissors that is the type used in cutting upholstery fabric (strong and sturdy). I trace the brim shape onto the jug with a permanent Sharpie marker. Then I poke a hole (carefully) into the jug near the traced brim and cut from there. I don't cut any more of the jug than that.

You can buy plastic in sheets.  I have never really liked plastic, because I would rather have something less stiff.  As someone with a very petite head and face the large precut brims are so overwhelming, and I hate to pay for the precut brim and then cut it down.  I am still exploring as well.

Where do you get your plastic sheets and what does it look like? That that I used is very flexible and easy to cut. I figure there has to be some other use for it, so wonder if it can be found in hardware stores for another purpose.

I have found sheets of plastic in the craft department at WalMart.

You may also want to see if there is a company in your area that deals just in plastics. I think I just googled plastic and my city and up came a wholesale company that specializes in plastic for many industries. I purchased 4x5 foot sheet I’m still working through for pattern making.

Good luck,


Thanks for the input. :)

I received a teeny sample of wonderflex recently, and it seems like that could work well in brims — but it might be kind of expensive.

I'm trying to find the perfect balance of thickness and weight. Not quite sure yet what the best option is.

I haven't tried Wonderflex - but this might work.  Not sure if Fosshape would be strong enough unless in more than one layer, and it does shrink when heated.  Also, I think Kobracast goes too soft when heated - I worry about how it might react, in a finished hat, on the back shelf of a car in the sun, for example.   And this is something we need to be aware of in Australia ;) 

I'm going to try and find out the name of a product our lecturer recommends for peaks and short brims.  It's a sort of very think interlining - holds it's shape when heated and is sticky both sides - so that the fabric covering is very taut and smooth.  East to cut, and can sew through it easily.  Wonderful stuff - but I've forgotten it's name!  Watch this space.

I use this all the time now. I did use buckram for a while, until a cap I made for myself got wet one day and the peak just collapsed.  I find plastic a bit too hard and worry about it poking through fabric, but that's just personal preference, I guess. 

Hi Kristin

I found out the name of the product I use:  It's called "Stitch and Shape" made by a company called Floriana.  It comes with glue on one side or both sides.

I don't think it's specifically a millinery product, so you may be able to get it at large sewing shops or haberdashers, perhaps? 

Good Luck :)

Thanks! I'll check it out.

Hi Kristin-  I have something called Pellon Peltex 70.  I think I ordered it from the U.S.  It's fairly firm, but I think the company does make one that is more rigid.


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