How to Figure your Hat Size

Heads come in different sizes and shapes which is why when you put on a hat it might not fit. But, it’s not a problem. You just need to know your head size and then find a hat in that size.  

But how do you measure your head for a hat? In this tutorial, I will show you three methods to measure your head size.

Tape Measure

You can measure your head size by using a flexible, cloth or plastic tape measure. Here’s what mine looks like. Inches or centimetres is fine.

    Flexible dressmakers cloth tape measure for measuring hat head size.


    Note: a builder’s metal tape measure is too stiff.

    Stiff, metal tape measure that is NOT useful for measuring head size.


    Here’s how to measure head circumference on Goldie, my mannequin, who has a rather slippery head and no ears. 

    Measuring your head size for a hat on a mannequin.


    How to Measure

    • Take the tape measure and bring it around the back of the head so that it loosely rests on the bump.
    • Bring it around the side so that it is about 1/8 inch above the ears.
    • Then, have it meet in the front, on the forehead, around where you would like your hat to rest.
    • Put the tip of your thumb or little finger in between head and tape measure to add a bit of ease.

    No Tape Measure?

    Secondly, if you don’t have a flexible tape measure then you can use string or twine that doesn’t stretch. Place the string or twine the around your head, the same way you would use a flexible tape measure. Remember to include your pinky finger in for ease. Note where the string meets. Then, lay twine on top of a long ruler. This will give you your head size measurement.

    How to measure head size if you don't have a tape measure using a piece of twine or yarn.


      The Mirror Method of Measuring

      But what about if you are needing a measurement of your own head, have a tape measure but don’t have a handy helper or a mannequin that is your size?

        Then, try this third method. Work in front of a mirror to see where to place the flexible tape measure. 

        • Take the tape measure and encircle your head, just above the top of ears to find out the circumference. 
        • Make sure that the tape measure goes over that small bump at the back of your head. Please don’t pull it tightly.
        • Leave a little ‘ease’ so that your little finger can fit under the tape.
        • Look in the mirror to see what number your finger is on. Then, keeping your fingers on ‘the mark’ take a look to confirm.


        Use a mirror to help you measure your head size.


        Remember, where you measure will be where the hat sits on the head. This can vary with different hat styles. For example, some hats are worn high on heads, whereas cloches are worn lower down on the head, over the ears, so you would then need to place the tape measure over the ears for the latter.


        • Keep in mind how you style your hair or whether you wear eyeglasses; these things will add to your head size measurement.
        • Also, just like blue jeans, some people like ’em tight, whereas, others like ’em loose. I find a tight hat gives me a headache!

        It can be helpful for a milliner to have the 'ear to ear' or across head measurement. To do this, take the tape measure and go across the head, from the top of the ear to the other ear.


         How to take an ear to ear measurement for your hat.


        Lastly, do you know the carpenter’s saying: ‘Measure Thrice, Cut Once’?

        Measure your head for a hat three times. Surprisingly, your measurement may vary, so it’s best to do it more than once!

        If you prefer learning by video, please see my short video on Instagram.