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Do You Wear a Sunbonnet (or Straw Hat) to Protect Your Face and Neck From the Sun?

5/28/2010 11:55:09 AM

Tags: question to readers

Sun hatDo you remember reading Little House on the Prairie? Maybe you watched the multi-year series on Tv. In either case, Ma, Pa and the girls all wore hats, especially in the summer. Pa’s hats were made from straw that Ma braided into long strips and sewed together, making the crown and then the wide brim. The girls all wore sunbonnets (and long-sleeved dresses) to keep the sun from browning their faces and arms, making them look uncivilized. Times change and today many of us favor a tanned look, thinking we look healthier than with pale, white skin.

I recently visited DeSmet, S.D., the setting for Little Town on the Prairie and The Long Winter. The Laura Ingalls Wilder gift shop offered calico sunbonnets, aprons and dresses for little girls who want to pretend they are just like Laura on the wild prairie. I managed to resist the impulse to buy one of each adorable set for my 7-year-old grand daughter, knowing she would never wear a bonnet or an apron.

If you have a hankering to make a sunbonnet for yourself or a Laura wanna-be, you can find an easy-to-make replica from a 1978 MOTHER EARTH NEWS article. Maybe you already wear head protection summer and winter; if so, tell us about your favorite hat in the comments section below.

Photo by Istockphoto


 



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Post a comment below.

 

DrFood
7/12/2010 10:02:50 PM
I am covered in freckles and have learned not to go outside without a wide brimmed hat. I generally can't wear women's hats, as I have a really big head! (Back in college, my head circumference and my waist were the same: 23 1/2 inches. Yeah, that's weird.) I recommend a hat company called Sunday Afternoon--I have a hat from them with a broad brim in front and loose fabric in back that covers your neck. It's the best choice for really windy days. I have an Australian mesh hat and a really big orange straw cowboy hat that I wear with the brim pulled down, so it doesn't really look like a cowboy hat. Now, if only I could remember to wear sunscreen every day! I've set my cell phone to chime a daily warning at 1pm, to remind me to go inside and get out of the sun.

Matt_26
7/12/2010 6:46:50 AM
I can't say I wear a straw hat, although I gentleman I install solar electric systems with does. You have to figure being a roof all day- and since it's for a solar system- it's NOT in the shade. I wear a boony-hat typically worn by special forces in the field. If it's sunny, I put the strap inside, and allow the brim to hang down on all sides, protecting my face, ears, and most of my neck. If it's not so sunny, I put the strap on the outside of the hat so it holds the sides up and wear it like a cowboy hat. http://www.armynavyshop.com/military-boonie-camo-hats.html What I like best about these hats is that you can get ones that are lighter and more breathable, or you can get some that are more waterproof. I'm sure just spraying it with a DWR treatment (obtained at any outing store like EMS, REI, possibly Cabellos/Cabellas?- unsure of the spelling, I don't shop there.) Anyway- DWR is a water-resistant coating that you spray on a few times a year. Love this style hat!

Dave_72
7/5/2010 12:09:27 PM
At 53 I am wearing broad brimmed hats most of the time. Another thing I have recently added was a bandanna around the neck. I was reading a western book the other day and it pointed out that the cowboys wore a bandanna draped over the back of the neck to protect them from the sun. I find that the broad brim hat still doesn't protect the neck. Not a cowboy but the bandanna does work.

Beverly A
7/5/2010 11:11:12 AM
I use a wide brimmed hat and lots of sunscreen when outside. i stopped any attempt at tanning after college because it was a waste of time. 20 years later I am lucky to look 10 years younger than my actual age (my younger friends tell me how young I look). All skin colors are gorgeous as they are meant to be, not as we think we should look. Alot of leathered old women running around, unfortuntaely they are my age and look 10 - 15 years older than their actual age.

jaqio
6/9/2010 6:47:47 PM
"Times change and today many of us favor a tanned look, thinking we look healthier than with pale, white skin." although i usually hate having to be politically correct, this sentence should be altered a bit to say that many anglos favour a tanned look. but really...this no longer rings true anyway; it is a mentality from the seventies. i have seen many young people who have beautiful white skin and they don't look like they give a fig about tanning. i stopped tanning and started wearing sunscreen in the late eighties early nineties and many of my friends made fun of me but i didn't care.

Malleus
6/9/2010 11:33:13 AM
I bought a felt cowboy hat from Tractor Supply. Best kind of hat in my opinion. Looks good. Gets compliments. I wear it as often as I can.

Labgirl1
6/3/2010 7:42:02 PM
I wear a straw sombrero that I bought at the Dollar Tree for a dollar! Not the most attractive attire, but it does the job when working out in the yard or mowing. For fun activities, I wear a lacy white garden hat or a visor. Lady Aelina, that is too funny. I also like to annoy my sister with my quirky habits.

Chris Curley_2
6/3/2010 10:57:58 AM
Skin tones come in all colors and people with darker skin tones care about sun exposure too. This sentence seemed jarring and needlessly exclusive to me: "Times change and today many of us favor a tanned look, thinking we look healthier than with pale, white skin." Your point was valid (tanned skin can be perceived as healthier), but the way it was conveyed made it sound like you assumed all your readers were white. It was a good article otherwise, and I agree that sun bonnets are great!

Chris Curley_2
6/3/2010 10:49:03 AM
Skin tones come in all colors and people with darker skin tones care about sun exposure too. This sentence seemed jarring and needlessly exclusive to me: "Times change and today many of us favor a tanned look, thinking we look healthier than with pale, white skin." Your point was valid (tanned skin can be perceived as healthier), but the way it was conveyed made it sound like you assumed all your readers were white. It was a good article otherwise, and I agree that sun bonnets are great!

Susan Aarseth_2
6/2/2010 11:07:18 PM
My favorite hat is what I call my sombrero. It has a super wide brim, 7 inches, is made out of straw,but is lined in cotton fabric on the underneath. I wear is everywhere. Only the brim is lined so the top part is dense and sides have many breathing holes,my hea does not get hot. I chose black underneath because is does not show sweat, dirt, etc at bad and no glare.

Susan Aarseth_1
6/2/2010 11:01:16 PM
My favorite hat is what I call my sombrero. It has a super wide brim, 7 inches, is made out of straw,but is lined in cotton fabric on the underneath. I wear is everywhere. Only the brim is lined so the top part is dense and sides have many breathing holes,my hea does not get hot. I chose black underneath because is does not show sweat, dirt, etc at bad and no glare.

WileyR_5
6/2/2010 10:38:13 PM
Almost everyone wore hats until the early 1960's when they went out of fashion when President Kennedy didn't wear them even for his inauguration. Until then people seemed to appreciate the utility of hats. They keep your head warm in the winter----and we know that heat escapes exponentially from the head--cool in summer, protect us from sun and rain and wind, and are good for gathering crops and eggs when caught without a bucket. I'm rarely without a hat in my truck, sometimes a cap but in hot, sticky Southeast summer, a lightweight straw or mesh vented wide brim "fishing hat" make a good companion.

tony deckard
6/2/2010 3:21:39 PM
I now wear almost nothing BUT wide brimmed hats. I was once approached by a man who saw me wearing an outback type hat, and he told me that if everyone wore a hat like that, eye doctors, like him, would be out of business. They're not just for skin cancer anymore.

Nicole Tuttle
6/2/2010 11:48:35 AM
I have several different styles/colors of wide brimmed, floppy hats that I wear religiously in the summertime. Being very fair skinned, with thin, blonde hair, I learned a long time ago that nothing protects the part in my hair and the tops of my ears better! (Those are such yucky places to get sunburned) I routinely wear long sleeved shirts made of lightweight fabric to protect my shoulders and arms when I know I'll be in the sun for any amount of time, too. But now that I've found the pattern for a sunbonnet....I might need to add a few of these to my hat rotation!! Yipee!!

Janet_46
6/2/2010 11:11:43 AM
When I was a girl, I loved the "Little House" books and wanted one of those sunbonnets. My youngest daughter loved the books and wanted a bonnet, too. I made one for her. I don't go outside without a wide brimmed hat on. I started that around age 20 and now people tell me I look at least ten years younger than I am.

abba_1
6/2/2010 9:41:14 AM
I like both bonnets and floppy-brim hats. I don't wear sunscreen. I was a lifeguard for many years, and after burning terribly over and over with it I decided cover-ups were better. I also learned that sunscreen, outside of only a couple brands sold in Canada and Europe, cause internal cancers. On me, they caused skin problems after enough years.

Ms. Swink
6/2/2010 7:20:20 AM
I have two very wide brimmed hats. I don't go out in the sun without one on my head. Thinning hair, and very pale skin make me shun the sun. Funniest hat I ever wore... was a green elf hat made of construction paper. Seems I forgot my hat on assembly day so my students and I all quickly made one. We got some chuckles, but none of us got burned heads!

Josey276
6/1/2010 12:13:27 PM
I learned the hard way. I always wore a baseball style cap when I was fishing, working in the garden, mowing etc. Then at the age of 53 I got a lump the size of a quarter on my neck. Which turned out to be Squacemus Cell Carcinoma or better known as a type of Cancer from the sun.I was told I had 6 months to live if I didn't do anything about it.. After 37 Radiation treatments 3 Chemo Therapy and surgeries. I am today, 3 years later hopfully still cancer free. But I never go outside without a large brimmed hat. (I have many different styles)This and sunscreen are something I do religiously to try to keep from getting cancer again. My wife also chases behind me if I do forget to wear a hat outside. Love her for caring. So please wear a hat and sunsreen if you have to be outside, because I never dreamed it would happen to me. That is something you never want to go thru.

Lady Aelina
5/31/2010 5:31:13 PM
To respond to Court---No one is excluded to the dangers to skin cancer. Everyone should wear sunscreen and a hat no matter their ethnicity. I am one of those silly people who enjoys wearing weird floppy hats and growing tomatoes. The more outlandish, and annoyed my Sister gets the better the hat. But, I also put on Factor 30 sunscreen on as well.

coloradogreystar
5/31/2010 5:15:05 PM
OH! I was in De Smet last week visiting the Ingalls-Wilder museum and homestead!!!! I saw those bonnets! I bought the audio books instead. By George though, I'm getting one from the Rock Ledge Ranch historic homestead in Colorad Springs as soon as I get down there! At the Ingalls' homestead, they have covered wagons you can camp in! Going to do that on the next trip!

Leipsic Bob
5/31/2010 3:37:55 PM
For over ten years I have been wearing a brimmed hat (as opposed to the baseball-type) because of the danger of skin cancer. And besides, it looks neat! I have several types" straw, fedoras (2), "Riverboat gambler" types, "Outback" types and even a derby.

Court
5/31/2010 3:08:48 PM
"Times change and today many of us favor a tanned look, thinking we look healthier than with pale, white skin." I found the above comment to be pretty insensitive and white-centric. It assumes that "pale, white skin" is the status-quo and that anything else is some unhealthy alteration by the sun. White people are not the only people reading this site. Please consider using language that's more inclusive of people of color. It's irritating enough being left out of the discourse on mainstream sites. I'd hope that a more radical, progressive site would take care to alter language/thinking to be considerate of other races.

Cindie
5/31/2010 9:08:01 AM
This is my 21st year delivering the mail in Las Vegas. For the past 12 years I've worn a very large straw hat with a neck strap to protect my face and neck from the sun, in addition to sunscreen. I still have freckles, but at 59 it's all about skin cancer prevention.

mary_95
5/30/2010 1:24:33 PM
I wear a sun bonnet when working in the garden. It's a hand-me-down from some family member. It's a handy bonnet that unbottons at the corners and turns into an apron with two big pockets. It's great for harvesting! Also, I can carry some small garden tools with me. But mostly I wear it as a bonnet.

terry sterkel
5/29/2010 7:47:29 PM
I have used a classic (and 100% authentic) Amish straw hat. Tough, light, lets air in, and the wide brim keeps my Texas-immigrant neck non-red. Does everything a cowboy hat should, but it really works. Got the straw hat from an Amish woman north of Bird in Hand, who made them for the county. And yes, I got the black ribbon.







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