Free Crochet Pattern: Basic Preemie Hat

By Rachel Choi – 44 Comments
Lots of people love to donate hats for preemies to charities and hospitals. Here is a basic, simple pattern that works up very fast. It leaves room for a lot of your own creativity and imagination. Feel free to change colors and decorate as you desire. Although preemies come in all sorts of tiny sizes, this hat should fit most, as the bottom can fold up to just the right length and depending on the type of yarn you use it can stretch. crochet preemie hat
Skill Level: beginner crochet skill level

Finished Size: 4″ (10 cm) tall, 4 1/2″ (11.5 cm) wide when flat

Medium Weight Yarn (small amount)
Crochet Hook H (5.00 mm)
crochet yarn size 4

Gauge: 8 hdc and 5 rows = 2″

Crochet Pattern: Preemie Hat
Round 1: ch 3, 6 hdc in third ch from hook, place marker: 6 hdc
Round 2: 2 hdc in each hdc around: 12 hdc
Round 3: (2 hdc in next hdc, hdc in next hdc) around: 18 hdc
Round 4: (2 hdc in next hdc, hdc in next 2 hdc) around: 24 hdc
Round 5: (2 hdc in next hdc, hdc in next 3 hdc) around: 30 hdc
Round 6: (2 hdc in next hdc, hdc in next 4 hdc) around: 36 hdc
Round 7 – 14: hdc in each hdc around: 36 hdc
Finish off.

If you need help with this preemie hat pattern, let me know and I’ll be glad to help!

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  1. DianaGraff says:

    Thank you very much! I have visited your site before, I believe for the easter egg pattern ;0 you are very kind to share this, I actually will make it for a baby that was born way too soon, his mother cant’ find him anything that fits him at any store

  2. Dottie says:

    This Will Come in Quite HAndy When My Son & His Gf Have My New Grandson This Coming September,Grandma Can’t Wait to Meet Her New Little Man
    Dottie In Va

  3. Misha says:

    Hello Rachel,

    Just the perfect pattern just at the right time! Thank you! My friend has just given birth to a tiny little baby boy. I tried one premie hat pattern but that was too big. Hopefully this one will fit him!

    Many thanks again

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  5. Tabitha says:

    I just need the first step explained a little better, I think once I get through the first step I will be fine. I really need to be able to make a preemie hat and hopefully booties soon because my son was born 2 months early and he needs a hat and booties that fit him to keep him warm so he can go home soon. if you can please explain the first step a little more I would greatly appreciate it, I haven’t really made anything with a pattern before so patterns are still a little confusing to me still.

  6. […] Crochet Pattern: Basic Preemie Hat Crochet Pattern: Newborn Baby Hat Crochet Pattern: Shell Stitch Blanket For more patterns, check out the Crochet Spot Archives. […]

  7. gatyamgal says:

    Thank you for reminding me about this great project. Today, I went to a local bar with my husband. The lady bartender was very nice. I showed her a couple crochet projects that I have done and she called another lady over and they both commented on how crafty I was. The second lady told me she knew how to crochet and loved to make baby hats. Since she just retired from the post office she said she needed something to do. She also told me, with a tear in her eye, how she lost all of her yarn and crochet books when the Mississippi River flooded in 2008. I told her that maybe we should start up a crochet group and meet there at the bar. There was another lady there who told me how she would like to join. So, we are going to get together in two weeks and see how it goes. And now, that bars in Iowa are smoke free, it’s a great place to meet. I will keep you posted.

  8. Jane says:

    I work in L&D at a hospital that has many high risk pregnancies in our care, I take care of obtaining hats, gowns, and blankets for fetal losses. Some of these babies are extremely small and even a preemie hat is too big. Does anyone have any patterns that are really tiny?


    • Rachel says:

      Hi Jane, you can decrease the size of this hat, by removing round 6, or round 5 and 6. You can also make the hat shorter by repeating the last line less times.

  9. Jess says:

    Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for the pattern. It was easy to follow for a beginner like me, & the cap looks great. I used a marker & counted all my stitches & they match.

    My question is how do you finish off? I finished the last round14, and so one side of the beanie has a row of stitches the other side doesn’t, since it’s the end of the round. Hope that makes sense. Is that how it’s supposed to look?

  10. arwin says:

    Hello Rachel, Thank you for posting your patterns for hats & such, I am making some for the local NICU, my question is on the # of the yarn, when looking at the yarn label it will say ‘4’ or ‘3’ or whatever, but then a different brand of yarn will say the same # ‘4’ for example, yet it will be thicker or thinner, how does this vary in each project, and how can I be sure that it will turn out ok (of course not withstanding my mistakes!! ha ha)

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Arwin, you’re right that yarns vary in thickness even if they have the same weight number on the label. To make sure your project turns out to be the right size, be sure to check your gauge by making a small swatch using your yarn and hook. If your swatch turns out to be a different size than the gauge measurements, then you can adjust your hook size or use a different yarn. I forgot to include the gauge in this pattern, but it’s now there!

  11. Sandra says:

    I LOVE your site & have used this pattern extensively for the hospital NICU where my kids were cared for. I don’t really worry about gauge because hospitalized babies vary widely in size.

    I try to vary hat sizes by using different yarn, hook & needle sizes; and by adding more rows of increase to the crown. I achieve a smoother finish by using a couple of single crochet stitches before the last slip stitch.

    Thanks for the great site, Rachel!

  12. GrandmaV says:

    Thanks for the preemie pattern! My friend’s wife just had their baby today (3/15). He was due on April 29th. So I will make this hat tonight for the little guy (Granny is a fast crocheter!).

  13. Leila says:

    I understand the hdc, but when it comes to the next round, I’m not sure if I should go through the front, back, or both loops.

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Leila, you should go through both loops unless otherwise noted in a pattern. Working into both loops is the conventional way of crocheting.

  14. Suzanne says:

    Thank you for the pattern! I’m staying at a Ronald McDonald House (again) for my teenage daughter’s health and all the waiting makes my brain go crazy. Having something useful to do again will be wonderful! We don’t have babies in our own lives, so this is a sweet (and swift to complete) project that will take my mind off my daughter’s situation. Making a blanket takes such a long time, and I get too antsy right now, so this is perfect. Bless you!

  15. cynthia says:

    i am a beginnger at crochet and have been trying hard to figure out hats. i seem to have trouble reading the patterns.
    so using line 3 i will explain what i don’t get and hopefully someone can help me understand
    “Round 3: (2 hdc in next hdc, hdc in next hdc) around: 18 hdc”
    so i get that there is 2hdc going into the first stitch right?
    but then i dont get the hdc in next hdc or how it equals to 18.
    or i think this is the part i am doing wrong, so i either end up with not enough or too many stitched per round as a result. please help.

  16. Karen says:

    Our granddaughter was just born 2lb 2 1/5oz at 28 weeks, this pattern is perfect of her. I will get started on her a hat right away. Thank you for your instructions.

  17. Anita Becj says:

    I want to make the Basic Preemie Hat. Am a bit confused at the beginning. After I do Round 1 do I slip stitch in the beginning of the Round and then begin Round 2? Thank you

  18. chantelle says:

    Hi i am making this for a baby cousin…we measured her head from crown to just behind the ear which measures four inches and her head circumference is 11-12 will this fit her?

  19. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for this pattern! I am making hats for the NICU and this is the easiest pattern I’ve come across. I added a “rope” stitch to finish it off and it looks really clean.

  20. Mary says:

    Hi Rachel,

    You are so generous to share your patterns and expertise. I started knitting hats for
    preemies at the request of our local maternity hospital but I have to say your hat is fab.
    As a beginner your instructions are so easy to follow and it is much faster and a nicer look
    than the knitted ones.
    I just have one question, I actually did two chains at end of each row ( saw this on the instructions for the hdc but I think maybe I should not have done the 2 chains for this
    hat as I had a few spaces – which I probably should not have. So on my next one should I
    leave out the 2 chains?

    Thanks again for a lovely pattern, there will be many happy and warm babies in the
    local maternity unit!!!!


    • Rachel says:

      Hi Mary, yes, leave out the chains. This hat is intended to be crocheted without the chains so that it’ll be seamless. Have fun crocheting another hat!

      • Mary says:

        Hi Rachel,

        I have made a few more without the chains and they are brilliant. So easy to do.

        thanks again

  21. jalynn king says:

    Hi Rachel, I basically only know how to stitch across in a straight row, Ive never been formally taught how to crochet so I dont know that technical terms for the pattern… can or will you help me? I want to donate to the Preemie project … thanks


  22. Lois says:

    I am trying this hat for the first time, I’m making preemie things for Labor of Love. But for some reason my hat is looking more like a cone than what is pictured here. I am trying to keep my stitches as loose as possible, so what can be the problem?

    • Rachel Choi says:

      Hi Lois!
      Try to double check the stitch count after you complete each row. If all looks good, then you probably aren’t doing anything wrong. If it looks like a cone it may work itself out as you add more rounds.

      • Lois says:

        I count as I go and all the stitches are correct, it’s just as I add a new row it curls in more and more, and so the beggining round starts taking on a cone shape at the top. I will keep trying, I really like it 🙂

      • Lois says:

        I figured it out, I have to ch 1 before I start round 2, it keeps it from curling too soon and forming the cone!

  23. Becky says:

    Hi! I am not totally new to crocheting but to making hats. When I get to the end of a round I have been slip stitching and it makes a pattern down the hat. What can I do to prevent this?
    The pattern doesn’t indicate a slip stitch, but……????
    How do I go from row to row?
    Thank you for your time.

    • Rachel Choi says:

      Hi Becky,
      This pattern is crocheted seamlessly in the round, like a spiral. You won’t be making any slip stitches. Just make your first stitch into the first stitch on the previous round.

  24. Michael Murdock says:

    Hi Rachel,
    I have a question about the materials list. The crochet hook needed is stated at an “H” (5.50mm). An “H” hook is actually a 5.0mm. My question is, which is correct? Do I use the “H” or a 5.50mm?

    Thank you.

  25. Thank you for this preemie baby hat pattern! I’ve been making several of them for the USO – and have made oodles for Ronald McDonald House families. <3

    And … I'm looking forward to featuring your pattern in an upcoming blog post.

    I'll post pics of a few of the hats I've made with various patterns and link the patterns so they come back to your place for the directions. 🙂

    Let me know if you'd like me to send you the link when it goes live. 🙂

    Thank you for developing such a sweet shareable – and quick work-up – pattern!


  26. ann says:

    I am having trouble ending my hat it is not even can you tell me what I am doing wrong???????

    • Rachel Choi says:

      Hi Ann!
      For a more even finish you can make a slip stitch into the next stitch before cutting your yarn. If that isn’t even enough, then you can try and do a single crochet into the next stitch, then a slip stitch into the next stitch, then cut your yarn.

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