Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How a hat makes a costume; Pioneer Bonnet!

Liz modeled the bonnet for me, and she's just too cute in it!  It really is one size fits all.  Although it's for me, I may have to save it for her for some later use.

I've so enjoyed being a volunteer for Girl Scouts this last year, so when I was invited to Fall Camp to teach 5th and 6th graders a little sewing (and help with some outdoor cooking) of course I said yes!

They asked if I could wear a costume for their theme of Women of the Oregon Trail, because they know I have quite a costume stash. Sadly I don't own any pioneer themed stuff. I looked into making a full costume, but it is very fabric and time intensive.  Camp is at the end of the month, and I don't have another use for a full pioneer costume anyway.

I do have a sideless surcoat in a small print that kind of passes as a possible full apron over a loose dress that looks kind of Oregon Trail-ish, but it needed something if it was going to work.....
And then it hit me, a bonnet!  It's just what I think of when I think of pioneer women (and girls).

I asked around and did a little research, and found a nice Free bonnet pattern from Sew Chic

I have a couple of cotton prints in my stash, and they are really perfect for this project.  I picked one I thought would stand out and be fun. 

The pattern is very nice, but reading over the instructions, I noticed it does leave some unfinished edges on the inside.  For a costume I suppose this isn't a huge deal, but I made my first costumes with unfinished seams on the inside, and every time I look at them, I wish I'd known more and made them more polished.

I made a number of changes in the sewing order and other things to create a clean finished project.
First I finished the bottom edge of the crown, which to be fair is listed a as a suggestion on the pattern.

The instructions have the ties just sewn on at the end. I knew that would leave a real mess inside, so I sewed the ties on the way I'd done on aprons in the past.  Yay for experience!

After basting them on facing inward, I folded up the back as instructed, and Viola, clean ties!

The instructions also have you sew on the crown to the brim after the brim is finished, so the inner edge of the crown would be totally raw. Also from past experience making shirt yokes and collars, I knew how to sandwich the edge inside instead, so I did that (though it was quite a lot of extra work, I am really happy with the result!

So here is the fully finished inside of the bonnet, clean and neat as the outside!

I didn't wear any make-up or anything for the picture of myself in the full costume, which I guess makes it more authentic, but man I look old to myself now!  lol.  Ah, life.  All the same, I just love the finished bonnet, and it really does make the entire costume!

I have no real need for this bonnet for the future, so even though it is tempting to keep it for some vague future use, I think I'll donate it to the Girl Scouts after camp.  I'm sure pioneer women comes up as a theme often enough they will get some use out of it. :)  If I really need one, I can always make another.


  1. I just found your post, and enjoyed your take on my bonnet pattern. Looks so cute on both of you!

    1. Laura, thank you so much for your comment! You really do have a great group of bonnet patterns for free, so thank YOU so much for sharing them. :)

  2. Aww what an adorable way to make a Bonnet. so simple, it looks so nice on the both of you . Thanks so much for sharing . Glad I found you.