Craft Projects

Just call me Sunbonnet Sue

I’ve said when I introduced this issue that I LOVE a sunbonnet. Possibly as much as I love a granny square poncho. (Remember, I’ve also said I was born in the wrong decade.) I was really excited to complete this project. I was also excited because I have a habit of doing so many of the yarn based projects in these magazines, but so few of the others. Admittedly I put it off because I HATE enlarging patterns. It’s easy enough, it’s fast enough, but just like doing dishes, I HATE it. (Side Note- I HATE doing dishes. I hate it with a serious passion.)

The pattern was easy enough to enlarge, and pretty easy to sew. You sew a double sided brim, with some variant of stabilizer. I couldn’t find mine so I walked across the street to the quilting shop and bought a yard of heavyweight there. The original pattern says you could even use a thick muslin. I can’t picture it with anything thinner than the heavyweight I chose, but with a thicker body fabric you could use a thinned stabilizer. The crown of the bonnet is a single layer, with a facing of bias around it. I decided to use this fabric I had stashed away. I bought some of it at a sale, but it is very similar to some other items I have made from old feed sacks. It could be a feed sack, or not, I don’t really know, but it was enough like it that I had to use it.

The back of the crown has a tie to gather it up. You sew a casing and then tied it up with string. There are 7 dots along the brim and crown where you are supposed to sew snaps. I searched and searched and could not find my snaps. So the photo to the left was how it looked while I pouted about snaps. Finally I decided to skip the snaps. The snaps are made to make it easy to wash and iron. But, I’m going to be honest with you (I always am) I never iron. I am more likely to make a brand new bonnet then to iron this one. Our iron is like our vacuum- I have to ask my husband where it is when I need it. So I decided to just sew it together where the snaps were supposed to go. I could sew them with a few good stitches, and if I ever need to I can just carefully snip those stitches and take it apart.

Following my original dots I felt the lowest vents on the sides were far to floppy. I didn’t like them. It also left very little fabric to actually cover the back of my head, and I couldn’t gather the back at all. So I snips those two spots and re-did them. I moved that last dot to 5 inches from the previous dot on the crown. That is about 2-3 inches above where it was. The dots on the brim are just evenly spaced, so that remained the same.

The slight adjustment made it MUCH better. I can gather the back now, but also feel it is a bit floppy. I’d prefer less fabric back there.

The vents make it quite breezy and comfortable. The flap along the back provides a lot of neck protection. My friend called it “Retro Skin Cancer Prevention.” I absolutely intend to wear it, so if you ever see this sunbonnet out and about you found me!

I promised my niece a sunbonnet as well, but I’m going to let her try mine and see if she likes the back or not before I make her one. I asked her if she wanted one or if she thought them ridiculous, and she said she’d like one. I know they aren’t quite the fashion these days. I also intend to make a few for the online shop I’m hoping to open. All said and done the entire process took just a few hours. I will quite possibly adjust the back of it a bit though, I’m just not a fan. I like the gathered section, but in general after moving the vent dot it is just a lot of fabric back there.

This photo will probably show what I mean. The gathered tail isn’t even on this photo, it cuts out at the corner. You can just barely see it begin to gather. So all that fabric below the brim, is just flapping around the back of your head. It could be an error I made in enlarging the pattern.

There you have it! A sun bonnet circa 1952! My new sun hat. It will be fantastic for gardening!

2 thoughts on “Just call me Sunbonnet Sue

  1. Bring sun bonnets back! They could become a thing. They’re very protective and the vents look like it would keep it cool.

    1. It HAS been a while since they were a thing. They have come and gone over the past. I am hoping to work on the pattern and fine tune it a bit, then I’ll probably be making some for the shop I’m working on!

      I took mine with me to the country, but didn’t get any time to really try it out. I just need to remember it next time I garden, see how well it works.

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