A bonnet is a small, sweet gift for a new baby. Making one is fairly simple, and you can apply all sorts of personal twists to a basic bonnet pattern. I am fond of visiting vintage and thrift stores to search for treasures, and I tend to find myself leaving with an assortment of fabrics and linens. Vintage hankies, hand towels, pillowcases, and napkins are often adorned with hand embroidery – a detail that I love. I began collecting vintage linens before it occurred to me that if properly cut and assembled, these hand-adorned gems could be turned into perfect baby gifts.
Every bonnet I have made using vintage linens varies greatly. You will not find hand-stitched linens in a standard size or shape, so I recommend really looking at the piece you choose to use and deciding exactly where you want the embroidered embellishments to fall on the hat. Occasionally I come across pieces that are edged in hand-crocheted lace, which I try to incorporate into the portion of the bonnet that shades the face. I have other napkins that have something sewn into the center – with these it might be nice to place the stitching on the back of the hat. The fun part of this project is how you choose to use the embellishments.
Before beginning, wash all the fabrics you will be using. Be careful with the vintage embroidery: wash it on delicate and cold to avoid bleeding the color from the thread.
In this tutorial, I will show you how to make two variations on this simple bonnet pattern – one with a flat bill and one with a ruffled bill.