How to Make a Sunbonnet

Use this pattern and these easy instructions to make a sunbonnet in less than two hours.

| July/August 1978

Summer sunbonnets have been worn by the ladies in our family for the past six or seven generations. My 84-year-old grandmother — who taught me how to make the sunbonnets — used to handstitch hers up out of turkey-feed sacks back in the days when bulk grain came in fancyprint cotton bags instead of today's "modern" paper containers. And she worked from a pattern — the very one I'm going to pass along to you now that was handed down to her ages ago by her mother-in-law.

I suppose I'm about the first member of our family to make a sunbonnet with the help of a sewing machine. You may use one too if you wish, but it's certainly not necessary. And I'm sure you'll have no trouble following my simple instructions on how to make a sunbonnet, even if you've never sewn before! Anyone can make a sunbonnet!

Washable Cloth Is Best for Sunbonnets

A sunbonnet may be made of most any washable cloth you prefer ... such as common cotton, muslin, or even lightweight denim. The main requirement for sunbonnet material is the ability to withstand many washings and considerable exposure to the sun without becoming too limp or faded. Then too, since it's difficult to iron a sunbonnet, the fabric used in one of these ruffled head coverings should also be fairly wrinkle resistant.

You'll need 1 1/2 yards of a 36-inch-wide, brightly flowered print in your favorite colors plus a 36-by-18-inch piece of heavy muslin (or any other stiff, washable cloth that can be used as padding) to make a sunbonnet.

The Pattern for Making a Sunbonnet

Copy my grandmother's original pattern to size by following the measurements shown in the illustration (in the Image Gallery) and drawing them onto brown grocery bag or heavy wrapping paper.

The large semi-oval piece will become a fluffy CROWN that fits over the back of your head ... while the long flap across its end forms a DUCK TAIL which hangs down to protect the nap of your neck. The bonnet's BRIM, or sunshade, will be made from the smaller half-oval  ... while the four strips are destined to become a DRAW, DRAWSTRING, and two chin-strap TIES. (Eventually the DRAW will be sewn right across the back of the DUCK TAIL to make a hollow "tube" for the DRAWSTRING to fit through. This positioning of the DRAW is indicated in the illustration by dotted lines.)
5/27/2018 12:53:48 AM

I used the plans at WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG to make my own – I highly recommend you visit that website and check their plans out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha. Go to WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG if you want some additional plans :)

1/18/2014 12:07:15 PM

To find the pattern, click on the slideshow button. It's image #3.

Maureen Mills
1/11/2012 1:11:56 PM

Well everyone go to the image gallery and page down at the bottom of the page right side you will see page 1 -5 I don't understand why someone did not answer the post Have a happy day and fun making this item I am grateful to share with everyone and grateful for this item

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