An Old Workbasket Sunbonnet Pattern That Opens Flat

Are you looking for an authentic, vintage sunbonnet pattern for a Little House on the Prairie costume or something similar? This is the one for you! It opens flat for easy ironing and needs less than a yard to make it.

The pattern is in two pieces (which I’ve included below), the Crown and the Brim. The ties (which are optional) will be of the length and width of your choosing.

Note the instructions: Scale 2.5″ for each square (adult size), child size will be less (you’ll have to work that out yourself). You can try enlarging the print copy with your printer, but it’s likely you’ll need to get out some craft paper, a ruler and a pencil to map this out by hand.

Whip up a mock bonnet to test the sizing, you may find it takes a few tries. If you don’t have time or patience for that, look at the image of the finished design. The bottom of the brim (resting at your jawline on either side) should measure the same as the pattern piece of the brim (straight edge side) + the seam allowance for both ends.

Suitable Fabrics: I would use a nice cotton print, nothing too light so it keeps its shape nicely. Note the tip in the provided instructions to line with a piece of heavy muslin to give it some weight…though any commercial interfacing would do the trick as well.

As with many vintage patterns, only the basic instructions are provided so I would consider this an Intermediate level project.

Sewing Instructions

Make ’em to match your housedresses, your gardening outfits, even your sports clothes or your square dance costumes. Here’s one that opens flat for easy ironing and it’s so very easy to make. Two-thirds of a yard of average material will be enough.

The proportions shown on the chart should remain, but the scale may be varied to suit the size you plan–two and a quarter inches for each square will come out about right for the bonnet for an adult. The straight side of the brim should measure 18 inches and crown piece should be 20 inches long and 16 inches at the widest point-enlarge the scale accordingly. For a child’s bonnet, make the squares smaller.

Click image to download… Click To Download

Face the crown piece all around with a bias strip cut an inch and a half wide. Then sew a bias casing at X for drawstrings; work an eyelet in the center of casing and fasten strings at the side seams; later, tie them at center.

Cut an interfacing of heavy muslin and stitch with both brim pieces. Turn right side out and stitch around curve–as many rows as desired. Whip the straight edge.

If you wish a light-weight slat type product, it can be done with long emery boards from the manicure goods section. Use these stiff boards as slats, sipping them into channels that are stitched crosswise just outside a penciled outline of the emery boards; leave one end open so the “slats” may be removed for laundering.

Sew snaps or buttons at dots. From O to O, sew, snap or button a band about a half inch wide by 8 1/2 inches long, to be a stay to keep the bonnet from slipping forward.

The curved outer edge, as well as tie ends, if you wish them, may have lace or embroidery trim. Broken line on chart shows optional shape for neck, if you want more protection from the sun.

Source: The WorkBasket (June 1952)

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    • Willie

    I will definitely make this. I am looking for vintage apron patterns. I love aprons and want to make several. I have one that my mom made probably 60+ years ago but it is worn and thin. Do you have any idea where I might find patterns?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Grandmapam

    I’ve been looking for this bonnet pattern for years…my friend found your site. Yippee! When my daughter, age 45 now, was a baby, my mother saw another lady with her baby, and that baby had on a bonnet like this one. My mother talked to her but the lady didn’t know where the pattern came from, because someone had made it for her child. Anyway, my mother came home, determined she was going to make Greta one of these bonnets. I don’t know how many attempts she made but finally got it right….and my girls wore these little bonnets (without the neck piece) as long as they were small enough to do so, along with little dresses or sunsuits my mother would make.Then my girls grew up, and Greta, my oldest, had a baby girl, Laken…then later she had Brooklyn, then Madison. Wanting to make bonnets for my first granddaughter I asked my mother for the pattern. It was no where to be found, sadly, and she couldn’t figure out to whom she might have loaned that newspaper pattern she had used so often. So none of my three granddaughters had a chance to wear these precious bonnets. Now, in June, I’m having my first greatchild…a girl named Anna, and I want to make bonnets for her….these bonnets. I’ve worked and worked but can NOT get the proportions figured out. Is there any way I can pay you to create an infant size pattern, and mail it to me?
    When it comes to mathimatical things I was not in line when those skills were passed out.
    Now that I’ve told you my life story I’ll introduce myself….I’m Pam Galyon and live in Tennessee.
    Have a great day and thank you so very much.

    • Margie Campbell

    Printed this for a customer this morning…it was exactly what she was looking for! Then I printed one for me…love it!

    My customer doesn’t have internet…and was so happy to find this as a free item. To buy the pattern full size is more than she could afford (I provided fabric and thread at no cost, so she could make for her granddaughter).

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