Riley and Rowan's class trip this year was to the O'Hara Mills Settlement. It's a little pioneer settlement that is located about 20 minutes from our home. We've been there quite a few times and my kids really enjoy it. http://themiddleagedwomanwholivedinashoe.blogspot.ca/2012/08/oharas-mill.html
A few nights ago I jokingly suggested to Riley that I should make her a pioneer bonnet. Sadly she took me up on it.
Last night I sat shaking my head wondering why I was so stupid. Why had I told her that I would make her a pioneer bonnet? I scoured the internet, but what I found seemed complicated. Logic told me that the pioneers would not have created something that was overly complicated, they just didn't have time for it. Most of them would have sewn their own clothes by hand. I changed my approach and began to look at "pictures" of bonnets.
I decided to create a very simple pattern. I used old Christmas wrapping paper for my pattern. I really like the Christmas wrap to make patterns because of the size and the thinness of it. I cut a semi-circle for the main part and then a half moon part for the brim. I cut it all out and crossed my fingers.
I will not pretend that my bonnet was authentic. I know that the pioneers would not have had elastic, but it made my job so much faster and easier. I sewed an elastic casing along the rounded part. I then used a darning needle to feed the elastic through. This was for the back of the bonnet that is gathered.
After I had sewn the elastic in for the back to create that gathered look, I sewed the brim onto the flat part of my bonnet. I had cut out two of the half moon patterns for the brim and sewn them together. I then turned them out and stitched along the edges to give it more strength because I was too lazy to starch it, and plus I didn't have any starch or interfacing. I folded the finished brim in half to find the middle and then matched it up with the middle of the flat part.
After I had finished sewing the elastic in and attaching the brim I sewed together some ribbons to keep the bonnet closed. From beginning to end this project took me about half an hour and the includes creating the pattern. Researching a pattern took longer than making the pattern and the bonnet. It was actually pretty easy, and I was really happy with the way it looked. It was after midnight by the time I had finished, and I just had my fingers and toes crossed that the bonnet would fit Riley. If you are wondering why if the bonnet only took me about half an hour to make why it was after midnight when I had finished. Rowan had requested a raccoon frontier hat (you know Daniel Boone). I had to figure out a pattern for that and then sew it too.
The next morning I lay in bed and could hear Riley and Rowan searching for their hats. Riley was quite pleased with her hat. She ran into the bathroom and declared "I'm ADORABLE! I look just like an Amish girl!!!!" One happy customer. Rowan looked at his hat his face all screwed up. "This doesn't look like a raccoon cap! I can't wear this I'll look stupid!" I'm not sure if he expected me to run out and catch, kill and skin a real raccoon to be authentic. He had kind of spilled it on me last minute that he wanted a hat, literally last minute, as he was saying good night. I did my best with the polar fleece that I had in the house. I thought that it looked pretty good. It just goes to show that you can't please everyone.
Riley excitedly showed her teacher her pioneer bonnet. She felt too embarrassed to wear it at the pioneer settlement like she had planned to. She said that she "forgot" it in her knapsack, but we both know that she was embarrassed. That was o.k. to me, I was happy with her original response. A little while into the morning she got up her nerve and put on her bonnet. She proudly wore it for the rest of the day. Turns out the bonnet was a big hit with her friends because several of them have asked me to make them one... hopefully they will forget.
If you want to make a pioneer bonnet and find my instructions too difficult to follow (like I did with the ones that I saw online) just let me know and I will clarify my instructions so that you too can be crazy and make your child a pioneer hat.