Learn about Life in the 1920s

Making a Childrens Bonnet

DETAIL TO HAT BRIM Childrens bonnets are not made on hard frames; crown forms, and net shapes for "Granny" bonnets can be purchased, and may be used for winter bonnets, but shirred bonnets and hats are made over shirring cord, or feather-bone reeds; so that the work can be cleaned or laundered without ripping, as would be the case in using wire.

The bonnets illustrated are fairly representative; some years the brim will have more flare, sometimes fashion decides the upper part shall be bent down and the sides thrown wide, and the crown have no puff, and there shall be more tucks and ruffles at the edge.

Then the curtain, which was put on to protect baby's neck from sun and wind, comes in for its share of change, and is frequently replaced by a mere twist or plaiting of ribbon.

Whatever the shape may be, from the flaring "picture" bonnet to the neat close "Dutch" bonnet or cap (Fig.27), if shirrings are done at all they are done in either of the following ways: The material is used double, the shirrings run in such a way that one can run the reeds in between them (as shown in Figs. 24 and 26, which has the under fold plain, with a tuck above each reed casing on the upper side); the tuck can be omitted, leaving a plain shirred effect, drawn to shape on the reeds.


The other method is the one used for the bonnet (Fig. 25), which is of two shades of gray silk, used singly on the straight. The edge tuck is two inches deep and is turned in and shirred along twice to hold the first reed; here a one quarter inch tuck is shirred in, then there is a space of one and one half inches, and another tiny tuck is run, and at equal distances below two more; the reeds are then pushed into these tucks, the brim drawn to shape on them, the ends firmly sewn inside the ends of the brim piece, and all threads drawn up and fastened off.

The crown of this bonnet is a mere cap, fitted to the child's head, of stiff muslin; you can shape it by any child's cap, or over an old lady's close bonnet frame. Around the face and neck sew a piece of tape wire or flat featherbone, and bind over with a bit of the silk. Plat on the back sew a piece of silk; next, take a strip of the silk, on the bias if possible, but on the straight will do, measure off a piece of reed to form a horseshoe or ring, turn one edge of the strip over this and shirr along below, in the same way as directed in Fig. 23, fulling up the silk and drawing up the thread till all is on, then fasten off; pin in place and sew on, allowing much more fullness and width at the top than at the side to get the puff, which must be arranged, pinned, and sewn in place about two and one half to three inches from face edge of crown.

The band of lighter silk that goes around the crown neatens the puff edge, and the edge of the brim where it is sewn on to the crown; it has a cording at each edge, and two between, shirred, and pushed on reeds like the brim; the two edge cordings are firmly sewn in place all around, but the two middle ones are only sewn down at either end, above the back binding, with a bit of silk bound over to make all neat. If a curtain is wanted, shirr on reeds same as brim, finishing the edge that comes on the bonnet with a cording like the crown; but the back may be finished by a twist or fold of ribbon, which is in one with the ties. A pretty fashion is to have rosettes on each side where the ties are sewn.


Such a bonnet needs only a big bow of ribbon on top, but may have lace plaited on to the crown edge inside, and a bow over the left eye; the fullness of the lace can be kept in place by tying it every couple of inches with fine thread tied in a knot and cut off.

Fig. 26 is a similar bonnet, but with double brim carried all round and flaring more.

The same crown can be turned into the "Dutch" (Fig. 27) form by making the brim half the width and contracting the reeds till they are but little larger than the face edge of crown; and also lowering the crown puff to about the fullness of the sides. Such a bonnet must not be trimmed with large bows, but small rosettes, a cluster of very small feathers, or flowers, and a full ruche of narrow lace inside.

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