How to make a hat that fits

I will appologise in advance, my brain is too muddled at the moment to convert cm to inches so this question will have to be in cm.

For some reason all women’s hats in the shops here are one size only- 57cm (23"?). My head is 58cm. My husband is 60cm.

I would like to knit hats that fit properly. I know how to figure out how many stitches I need to make a jersey the size I want in any sized yarn but when I tried that with a hat it ended up being a bit loose.

I have looked a a wide variety of patterns and are more confused that ever.

Does anyone know if there is some little trick to working it out?

Did you knit the hat in the round? Your gauge in the round is often different from what you get knitting flat pieces.

Most pull-on type hats should have negative ease to fit well; that is, they should be a just a bit smaller than your head so that they stretch into shape when you put them on.

Hats stretch, or they should. So if the hat or the pattern is a bit smaller than your head measures, that should fit you well.

Here’s a basic hat formula that you can use.
http://www.mielkesfarm.com/bsic_hat.htm

hats are suposed to be snug, which is why thay often have ribbing to start with.

ok lets see if i can make up some maths.

Head measurement is 60cm around.
you get a guage of 20st/10cm in stst and 25st/10cm in ribbing unstretched (because it pulls in more).

Now if you are doing a ribbed hat or a ribbed edge, stretch your ribbed swatch out to its maximum. you will probably find that it is a few st less than your stst swatch (maybe 17st/10cm)

assuming you are working in ribbing. your ribbing guage is 25st/10cm. if you just cast on enough for the head measurement then you would have to cast on 150st. This would meen it sat on your head well, but the ribbing would not be stretched at all and so would not ‘hug’ your head.

If you cast on enough for the stretched out ribbing (102st) then it would certainly hug your head but would look distorted and feel to tight.

the trick is to cast on between these two figures, so that the ribbing is stretched a little (hugging your head) but is not over stretched (and getting distorted). In this example maybe 22st/10cm and therefore 132 to cast on.

1–knit larger (slightly thicker yarn (and yes, there are variation in ‘worsted weights’ (or sports weight or DK weights)

2–knit a different shape… (like EZ shaped hat, or pill box, or …
there are lots of shapes (and shapes can fit better than unshaped hats) besides the plain ‘half dome’ (aka watch, beanie hat)

I agree with the hats of different shapes. I’ve found in the past that the most beautiful, well-fitting hats are the ones that have a variation on shape from a traditional hat. I’ve also had some hats that were knit as a “traditional” hat that came out as a rather ill-fitting piece ( these I passed on to my little niece and nephew- at least they worked for someone!) Don’t be afraid to try something that might look a little daunting- you’ll be surprised at how easy they turn out!

My solution is that I knit it once, and try it on. If it fits, woo hoo. If not, I gift it to someone bigger or smaller than I am, and knit the same pattern again, with adjustments. Most patterns turn out better for me the 2nd time I do them - I can always see things I wish I had done differently. Hats are small enough you wouldn’t mind doing a double. This isn’t as good a system as many I’m reading here, but it works for me. :shrug: