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My poor MM and her ears. I promise you, if it’s below sixty-five degrees–or it’s rainy/overcast–or it’s slightly windy, she will get an ear infection.
So I do what my mother did for me. She wears bonnets.
The problem with bonnets, you see, is that it’s getting harder and harder to find them. Sure, you can still find Laura Ingalls Wilder-esqe bonnet patterns, but not cute and fashionable ones.
This past fall I got MM two bonnets at Urban Baby Bonnets (I’m sure you’ve noticed them in lots of my pictures from the last six months). They are fabulous in every way. They protect her ears and fasten under her chin so just can’t rip them off. And I’ll definitely be buying her more this fall, but before then I thought I’d sew my own light-weight ones for the summer sun.
I Googled “baby bonnet tutorials”. Nothing. I tried every search I could think of. Nothing. So I went on Etsy and started looking at their vintage bonnet patterns and I found two I liked and bought them both. Unfortunately, the retro one from the 1950s turned out to be a girls size 6…oh well, I’m sure MM will still be rocking bonnets in kindergarten. I know I had to.
**Note: all seam allowances are 3/8″**
The one I used for this tutorial is Simplicity pattern #3840 Its copyright says 1994. I’m not sure if you’ll be able to find it, but the two pattern pieces are easy to make–just look closely at my pictures and test your pattern on your child before you cut out any fabric.
On the outside of the pattern it says “ALL SIZES” and on the inside features small, medium, and large. Well, my daughter with her mammoth 96th percentile head (the size of a 2.5 year old) wore a large. Yes, it’s a little big on her, but she can grow into it.
The only problem I had with this pattern–other than making me feel like my baby had a giant-sized head–were the straps. They recommend ribbon. Ribbon? Really?! They must have never met my child who can yank off a ribbon bow so fast it will make your heard spin! So, I created a chin strap.
This pattern took me one afternoon nap time to complete. To anyone that doesn’t know MM’s nap schedule, that’s 1.5 hours or so, hehe.
Enough formalities…here we go!
First, cut out your two pattern pieces.
Second, cut out the three fabric pieces for the main part of the bonnet. It’s important to note with fabric choice that the underside fabric (the larger piece) is not going to be on showcase as much as the top piece. I chose two Michael Miller fabrics for this tutorial and an Alexander Henry for the other. You’ll need to cut one piece of fabric for the scalloped edge and two for the underside pieces. I’ve made two of these bonnets so far and on one I used the same fabric (brown dot) and on one I used coordinating fabrics (as seen here).
Next, sew your top pieces together–rights sides facing up.
I did this by securing pins, but you could use Wonder-Under. I don’t have any luck with Wonder-Under, so I just pinned.
After that, sew the top piece on to the other piece with a zig zag stitch.
And, even though I’m ashamed for you to see, here’s mine…SO not perfect, and that’s okay!
Cut two strips 9″ x 2″.
You’re going to fold the strap into the thirds (length-wise). Make sure to press firmly after each fold. Sew 1/8″ seam allowance after you have folded it.
After that comes the “hard part”. Place the backside over the front side where the end are. Place a strap in between the two fabrics and pin.
Doesn’t sound hard, does it? Well, the hard part is getting your child to sit still long enough for you to make adjustments! Miss MM likes to yank the bonnet off as soon as you put it on her–just like her hair bows–it’s a very fun game for a fifteen-month old, let me tell you.
What I love about this pattern is that as the child grows–and boy, they do that fast!–you can let the bonnet out too.And we’re almost finished. After you have it fitted like you want you’re going to sew all three together using a button and thread. I used vintage buttons–you know I have a “thing” for old–but you can use whatever.
Last, you’ll need to add snaps. Again, I “measured” it while I had it on her and marked where the snaps needed to go. I put more than one set of snaps so as she grows I can let it out. (I also made my chin strap longer than it needed to be, so again, I could add snaps/let it out as she grows)
And, taa-daa!, all finished.