Godey's Lady's Book? Aren't you just giddy? (Let me tell ya, I was just giddy when I think I figured out what "filling it in" meant.)
The bonnet calls for some gathering, but you can actually make it without gathering for about the same look. It also calls for "cotton wick yarn" cords to stiffen it, but I just used interfacing. Here's how you can make a simplified version:
1. Download the pattern, print it, tape it together, and cut it out. (I drew this out in Excel, so when you cut it out, just curve the lines best you can. I'm sure there's good pattern drafting software out there, but this is all I have!)
2. Cut out:
- Front (brim): 1 fashion fabric, 1 heavy interfacing, 1 lining (can match fashion fabric or use white or another light color). If you want to add the "runnings" to the front, see my "adventures" below on how to do it.
- Crown (back)
- Ties: 2" x 18" for back ties, 2" x 20" for front ties
- Press/sew the interfacing to the back of the front fashion fabric.
- Press the top edge of the lining to the wrong side 1/2".
- With right sides together, sew the side and bottom edges of the front together, trim edges, clip corners.
4. Finish the bottom of the crown by folding it to the wrong side 1/4" and again 1/4" and stitching. The original instructions say to gather and bind the bottom. I'm making these instructions as easy as possible, so I'm skipping that part and just finishing the bottom of the crown. Trust me, it will still work.
5. Make your ties. Fold in half lengthwise, stitch one short end and along the long end 1/4". Clip corner, turn, press.
6. Attach the crown to the front. Start pinning the bottom of the crown to the bottom of the front, right sides together. Work your way up equally to the center. You see you have a bunch of excess fabric at the top. Just flatten it out evenly on either side of your center. You're creating a pleat at the top center back of the bonnet. I think this is what they mean by "filling it in," well at least it's got to be close.
7. Before you stitch your seam, place your back ties with the seam toward the bottom 1/2" up from the bottom of the bonnet. Stitch your seam (re-enforcing a little over the ties).
8. Turn right side out, tuck your raw edges into your front and hand-stitch your lining down.
9. Finish your cape.
- Because the cape is so curvy, hand-stitching is the way to go. Finish all edges of the cape.
- You could cheat and make a facing for the cape (just cut two capes of the same size, sew them right sides together, clip curves, turn, press).
- After making so many bonnets, I began semi-cheating. I hand-stitched the curvy parts, then machine-stitched the straighter parts.
- The written instructions do say "The cape can be of any size desired," so I guess you could modify the shape to be more square, then you could just fold under your raw-edges and machine stitch. See below for this option.
- Match the center top of your cape to the inside center bottom of your crown. Pin the rest of the cape evenly to either side of the bonnet. If the cape does not extend far enough to the sides of the bonnet, remove cape and make a little pleat at the back, bottom, center of the crown. This will shrink the overall width of the bonnet allowing the cape to extend more around the sides/front.
- I attached the cape by hand so I wouldn't have a big, ugly machine stitch at the bottom of my bonnet.
11. Attach your front/inner ties. I placed them about at the back of my jaw. If you put them much further back, you feel like you are going to choke.
|Finished project with gathers on the crown.|
|Finished project without gathers on the crown and without "runnings" on the front.|
|With this one I put the ties a little further back.|
Just for fun, here are my "sewing adventures" with this one. Somehow, the diagram, written instructions, and picture don't match up.
Here's what happens when you cut out the pattern according to the diagram and the written instructions: "Measure from just below the ear across the head, and allow your cloth to be twice the length." If you do it this way, the front is waaaaay too long and looks nothing like the finished drawing. I think maybe it meant twice the depth to allow for runners (see below), or maybe it was twice the length so you could cut it in half for the facing.
I also tried to "measure from just below the ear across the head" (but not double it), but then the finished product looks a little small. The diagram indicates 23" wide for the front, but my grid paper would only work to 21", which I think looks great.
If you want to cut your front out bigger to allow for runners, you can do it like this:
|Cut the fabric the 21" wide, then double the 10 1/2" depth to 21".|
|Sew in your runners as desired (these were 1/2", but 3/4" may have turned out a bit closer to what is seen in the original drawing). You can see I had a little excess that I ripped off. Assemble the same as is shown above.|
|Look how cute this mistake one looks on, though!|
Have you noticed, too, that the original drawing has more of a square front, whereas the bonnets I made following the diagram end up with more of a rounded side-front? I guess it's your preference. The more rounded edge is easier to see out of; I like it better.
|Front cut out according to the diagram.|
|Front cut out just rounded at the corners (following the written instructions and the original image)||.|
Now I hate to admit it, but when I saw that the crown pattern-piece was quite a bit longer than the 23" front (or 21" in my case), I cut off the bottom part of the crown to make it shorter. However, this is what happens:
The original pattern says to "gather [the crown] in a little at the neck and bind it." In some of my versions I did this. If you don't want to gather, though, you can just run a piece of embroidery floss (or other thick thread), through your finished bottom edge by anchoring it at one end, feeding the needle through your hem, then pulling it out and anchoring it again. When you gather the bottom of your crown a little, the small cape fits just right. In the directions I give above, I've eliminated this gathering step to make it easier. Because you're not gathering, you need to modify the cape -- which I have done in this pattern.
Playing with the cape.
Here's how I modified the original cape pattern to fit this simplified bonnet tutorial (without gathering at the neck).
|Looks fine on.|
So how many of these bonnets did I make initially? Well, the 4 you see here, then I ran out of interfacing, so I had to start unpicking versions. I did that twice. So you could say it took me 6 tries to get it right. Well, maybe not right, but the best I could do with the knowledge I have!