I Want To Break Free!

I hope you guys have been busy enjoying the free Sandcastle Bucket Hat pattern. If you haven’t grabbed a copy yet you can find it here.

I chose not to include a chin strap in the pattern as I am conscious of the potential choking risk. However, during testing several people asked for a strap, so I figure if people are going to add one anyway, I might as well point them in a good direction. This tutorial will talk you through creating a breakaway chin strap.

**Serious Safety Moment**
A breakaway strap is safer than a regular strap, but still doesn’t make this hat suitable for babies/children to wear unsupervised. Think of this strap as being like arm bands (floaties/water wings). Arm bands make a child safer in the water, but you still wouldn’t chuck them in the pool and go for a coffee. Babies/Children wearing a hat with straps need supervising at all times.

I am going to show you two options here – one for a reversible hat and one for a non-reversible hat.

For both you need a lanyard with one of these nifty safety breakaway clips. I found mine in a popular, high street stationary shop. The breakaway clip separates if pulled on, meaning it will break apart if your chin strap gets caught on something.


If you are unable to get hold of one, then you could make your own using two pieces grosgrain ribbon and some velcro.

You also need two KAM snaps or similar (I used size 20), and a toggle.

1. Unpick the stitching near the buckle – you will be removing that in a minute.

2. Cut the strap 4″ – 5″ (10cm – 12cm) from the safety breakaway clip.

3.  You need to finish the end of the strap to prevent it fraying. If your strap is 100% man-made fibres (like mine) then you can seal the end by holding it close to a very high heat (such as a flame.) Alternatively you can use a product such a Fray Stop, or clear nail varnish.

4. Fold the end of your strap over approximately 3/8″ – 5/8″ (10-15mm) and attach a male KAM snap. You can sew the folded strap down before adding your snap if you wish, but the snap will hold it in place by itself.

5. Attach a female snap near the breakaway strap. Both snaps should be facing the same way (both are facing up here).

6. Sew two button holes on each side of your hat, to the rear of the centre dream. Each button hole should be a little wider than your strap. One hole should be approximately 3/8″ (10mm) above the seam joining the hat to the brim, and one about 3/8″ (10mm) below.

7. Thread the strap in through the bottom hole and out the top hole. Connect the two snaps.

8. Repeat the process on the other end of the strap. Where possible try it on your intended model before cutting the strap to your chosen length – it wants to have some spare length to it as you will be attaching a toggle in the next step.

9. Attach a toggle to allow you to tighten as necessary.

You can remove the strap, turn your hat inside out and reattach it as needed.

If your lanyard isn’t long enough to allow you to create the whole strap in one go, then create two and tie them together below the toggle. This has the added benefit of stopping the toggle coming off if pulled down too hard.

If you don’t need your strap to be reversible then you don’t need to use the button holes. You can simply add a snap the the inside of your hat, and one to the strap. Use a female snap on the hat since they are smoother against the skin. Attaching your strap with snaps means that you can remove the strap when it isn’t needed

At all stages you can use hook and loop (velcro) instead of snaps if you prefer. Make sure to use the smoother side near the skin

Despite his expression, Charlie loves his, I promise!!


And Jack took it upon himself to thoroughly check that his hat would stay on during vigorous activity!