Whether you’re knitting hats to donate to babies in the NICU or for people you love, hats are a great, practical gift for babies and new parents. One of the trickiest parts of knitting for babies is sizing. When I had my first baby, I had a hard time figuring out what clothes he would need in each size per season. Would a baby born in the spring need 6- or 9-month clothing in the winter? Some babies are big and some babies are small, and baby’s heads grow the fastest in the first year. How will you know what size will fit best?
To help you whip up baby hats of all sizes, here is a little chart to help you determine what size hat you’d like to make so you don’t end up making a hat too big or too small when winter rolls around.
Average baby head measurments by size
- Preemie head size: 9-inch circumference and 4 inches tall
- Newborn size: 11-inch circumference and 5 inches tall
- 0-3 month size: 13-inch circumference and 6 inches tall
- 3-6 month size: 16-inch circumference and 7 inches tall
- 6-9 month size: 18-inch circumference and 7.5 inches tall
- 12 month size: 20-inch circumference and 8 inches tall
- 24-4T size: 21-inch circumference and 8.5 inches tall
Using the above sizing information, here is the formula to determine how many stitches you need to cast on in the round to knit that baby hat size:
Circumference (in inches) x stitches per inch = cast on number
If you’ve knit several baby hats before, you can use the above formula with any weight of yarn and appropriate needle size. Knit until you get half an inch shorter than the desired hat. Bind off by k2tog every five stitches until you have one stitch left on your needles. Then, pull the yarn through the last loop and weave in the ends to your hat.
You may need to increase (every two stitches k2tog) or decrease (every 10 stiches k2tog) the number of stitches you need to knit together as a decrease depending on the yarn you’re using.
What size baby hat should you knit?
- For a baby due in the spring, knit a size 6-9 month to wear this year, or a size 18-24 month for next year.
- For a baby due in the summer, knit a hat in 3-6 month size to wear this year, or 18-24 month for next year.
- For a baby due in the fall, knit a hat in 0-3 or 3-6 month size to wear this year, or 24-month size for next year.
- For a baby due in the winter, knit a hat in 0-3 or 3-6 size to wear this year, or 12-month or 24-month size for next year.
FREE baby hat knitting patterns
If you’d like a pattern that involves less guesswork, try one of these free patterns from Craftsy designers.
Photo via Craftsy member Purl and Company
One Hour Baby Toque
Only have a day or two to whip up a sweet gift for a new baby? This pattern uses super bulky yarn, you’ll have it done in a flash. Since the pattern has no fancy stitches, it’s easy to adjust the size so it fits your kiddo perfectly.
Photo via Craftsy member BrianaKCrochet
0-3 Month Cascade Jewel Beanie
This pattern is designed for babies fewer than 3 months old — but now that you know how to pick the perfect size, you could easily adjust it to fit any child. Bulky yarn makes these hats super soft (and super quick to make).
Photo via Craftsy member Lyudmyla Vayner
Pumpkin Spice Pom Pom Knitting Pattern
Have you ever seen a hat cuter than this one? The pom poms are irresistible! Orange and brown makes for a great fall color palette, but this pattern would be equally adorable in any other color combo. Plus, if you haven’t wrapped your head around the math for measuring hats, this pattern helps you calculate the right size.
Top Baby Hat Knitting Patterns
Explore popular baby hat knitting patterns from the world’s best designers.