Monday, June 24, 2013

Pioneer Bonnet Tutorial

Here in Utah on July 24th we celebrate our states birthday with a holiday called Pioneer Day. Utahans are very proud of their pioneer heritage so this holiday is a BIG deal. Most people get the day off of work, have BBQ's and celebrate with extended family, eat lots of food and spend the evening watching fireworks in front yards and parks across the state.
We even have a "historical theme park", I guess you'd call it, named "This is the Place State Park" where you can experience life as the pioneers would have when they first arrived in Utah.
This Is The Place State Park

Little pioneer washing machines

Plowing the fields.

 The old school house.

 Old fashioned printing press.
So last year I created some bonnets for my girls to wear. It's not unusual to see people dressed in period clothing for Pioneer Day.

 Enjoying fireworks with all the cousins at Grandma's house.

Even their favorite dolls got one. I just shrunk the size of the pattern down to fit a doll's head. You could use these bonnets for any "pioneer" celebration from American Girls to an adorable Little House on the Prairie birthday party!
I was able to get one child sized bonnet from a fat quarter if I cut carefully. Fat quarters are 18" x 21".
Cut 2 brim pieces 3.5" x 18"
Cut 1 crown piece 14" x 14"
Fold each piece in half...

and round the corners of each...

When you open up your pieces again they should look like this...

Tip: I attached a medium weight fusible interfacing to my brim pieces to keep the brims stiff and crisp. This is an optional step but I think it adds a lot to the bonnet and helps keep the brim curved.
Fold over 1/2 inch and iron the bottom, flat side of your crown piece to create a seam. Top stitch along the seam to hold it down. 

Using a gathering stitch, sew all the way around the curved side only of the crown piece.
It should look like this when you are finished...

Set your crown piece aside to work on your brim.
For the ties you can use a piece or ribbon or bias tape. To make your own bias tape fold a long strip of fabric in half and then fold the edges in again towards the center.

Sew a straight stitch along one side of your bias tape.

To make the optional ruffle on the brim, cut a long thin piece of fabric (or ribbon) and fold it in half. Using a gathering stitch create a ruffle.

Pin the ruffle to the curved side of one of the brim pieces. Line the raw edge of the ruffle to the raw edge of the brim.
Lay the second brim piece on top of the first, sandwiching the ruffle. Pin well.

Sew along the curved side of the brim and turn the brim right side out. Press it flat. Top stitch along the brim if desired.

Now you'll take the crown piece and sew it to the brim. You'll want to make sure that they will fit inside each other. Pull on your gathers to adjust the crown piece to fit inside the brim.
Slip the crown piece (ruffled side) in the open side of the brim 1/2 inch and pin...
Top stitch the two in place.

Your bonnet should look like this when your finished.

At this point you can add your ties to the side as well a little piece of elastic to the back to help form it to the head.

Tip: I noticed it help curve the brim around my daughters head when I attached the ties to the sides of the brim pieces rather than to the sides of the crown piece.
 These little bonnets took no time to make and I ended up creating 3 of them for 3 very special little girls and matching bonnets for their dolls. My girls would pull their bonnets out throughout the year to play with them and they always look so precious.



  1. Absolutely precious!!! Thank you so much for sharing! I adore bonnets, and have wanted to make myself one (I don't have daughters...yet). You see, I'm a huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fan!

  2. Somehow I just found your blog again--yay. I totally need to make Kamrie one of these--adorable! And you've made Kit, Chloe, and Louise dolls?!? Love that pattern. Those dolls are so cute and love the smaller bonnet you made for her.

  3. Those are so sweet! My readers at FaveQuilts would love this!