I am a sucker for all things vintage. While most people haven’t considered bonnets a necessity since about 1932, I would beg to differ. As a practical garment the bonnet keeps my baby’s head shaded, but unlike bulkier hats she is more likely to keep it on. Most importantly, have you seen how adorable it is?
This was a fun project. It was fairly quick and straightforward, but involved some hand stitching which I rarely get to do. I even got the chance to use these rosettes and lace which I’ve been saving for years.
I started off by drafting a pattern based on a few measurements of my daughter’s head. The bonnet consists of sides and a top band and is lined with identical pieces. I also drew on the leaves and placement for the roses so that I could transfer that to each exterior side piece.
Usually I don’t trace my pattern pieces onto my fabric, but in this case I did so that I could embroider it beforehand. I needed enough extra fabric surrounding the pieces in order for the embroidery hoop to have something to hold onto. You could use any light to medium weight woven cotton for a project like this. I chose a solid colored cotton so that I could add my own decorations.
I used a hoop to keep my fabric taut for the embroidery, and a needle with a large eye for my choice of thread.
I used this leave embroidery stitch which is simple and produces a lovely result with each thread crossing over the next.
To attach the rosettes I lined them up with my placement markings and stitched them on, being sure that my stitches weren’t visible from the outside.
Here’s what it looks like from the inside. Nothing pretty, but it’s ultimately covered by a lining anyway. Once the embroidery and appliques were done I sewed the side and center pieces together.
To apply the lace, I basted it to the outside first. Then, with the exterior layer on top of the lining, I stitched over the basted stitch. This way the gathers stay nice and even.
I also added an understitch on the lining so that the front edge will stay nice and crisp.
To finish off the bottom edge, I used a strip of fabric that was both a binding and ties. It is 1″ wide and folded on itself so that it finishes at 1/4″. In this photo you can see the second pass after I’ve stitched it on the other side then folded it to the front.
Also, you’ll notice that there is a little section of gathering under her ear. This helps the bonnet curve to her head and fit properly. I was guessing on the amount of gather that would be appropriate and you can see that my first attempt wasn’t quite enough. So, I took off the binding and gathered it a bit more.
And there she is! I love putting this bonnet on my baby girl. She’s growing so fast. She wears it as often as possible, no need for an occasion.