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You correct to say that you cannot use the pattern of another without copyright holder's permission.
You are also correct to note that one cannot copyright the design of another. That would be fraud. Generally speaking, one is only permitted to copyright their own work.
If you are concerned about someone copying your design or otherwise copyrighting it improperly, then you should do it first. It is fairly easy and inexpensive to register your work with the copyright office and I would highly recommend that you that. See here for more information on how to register a work.
I can also further explain the process under a new question. If you are interested please start a new question indicate "For BIZIPESQ only" in the title of the question.
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just a clarification, if I make these hats using her copyrighted pattern, are the hats I make covered by her copyright or are they considered the work of my hands and thus my property and legal to sell?
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