How to Make a Pioneer Bonnet

Written by michelle powell-smith
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How to Make a Pioneer Bonnet
. (RCKeller/iStock/Getty Images)

A pioneer bonnet is a delightful addition to a little girl's dress-up box, a useful costume option for school plays, and even practical sun protection. If you have a young fan of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, a pioneer bonnet is sure to be a well received gift. These bonnets are comfortable to wear and easy to make. Use the same basic pattern to make a bonnet for a baby or adjust it to fit an adult.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cotton print fabric
  • Lightweight cotton muslin
  • Thin quilt batting
  • 3/8 inch grosgrain ribbon
  • 3/8 inch elastic
  • Newsprint or pattern tracing paper
  • Compass
  • Sewing machine
  • Coordinating thread
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Quilting needle and thread
  • Iron and ironing board

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  1. 1

    Use a compass to draw a quarter circle on your newsprint or pattern tracing paper. Make a pioneer bonnet pattern with a 10 inch diameter for infants and toddlers, a 14 inch diameter for children, or around 17 inches in diameter for adults. Add 5 inches to 8 inches to the bottom of the quarter circle to form a rectangle at the bottom of your pioneer bonnet pattern.

  2. 2

    Cut the entire bonnet pattern on the fold of a piece of lightweight cotton calico fabric, allowing for a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Cut one on the fold out of muslin to form your bonnet lining, again adding a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Fold the quarter circle section of your pattern out of the way and cut just the rectangular shape out of thin quilt batting.

  3. 3

    Pin the bonnet and lining right sides together. Pin the batting into place on top of the lining, then sew along the straight side and around the sides of the pioneer bonnet, leaving a generous opening for turning. Trim seam allowances to a scant 1/4 inch, clipping corners on the diagonal. Turn and press.

  4. 4

    Try on your pioneer bonnet and mark the base of the skull in the back. Stitch two lines along the back of your bonnet, spaced 1/2 inch apart. Thread elastic into this casing, using the remaining opening in your bonnet to access the casing, securing at either end with a backtack on your sewing machine or sew it into place by hand.

  5. 5

    Quilt the brim of your pioneer bonnet. Work in straight vertical or horizontal lines for the most authentic look.

  6. 6

    Hand stitch ribbons into place near the brim to tie the bonnet under the wearer's chin.

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