A classic baby bonnet is the ideal accessory for a christening gown, formal dress or portrait. You can sew a traditional baby bonnet quite easily, using fine and delicate fabrics. Alternatively, opt to sew your baby bonnet in more contemporary fabrics for a less formal look. Baby bonnets may be sewn by hand or machine and can be styled simply for a casual look when you are sewing for a baby boy or made much lacier and daintier when you are sewing for a baby girl.
Choose a baby bonnet pattern. If you are looking for a traditional bonnet, heirloom-sewing suppliers offer a wide variety of baby bonnet patterns. Most are designed for machine heirloom sewing, but you could sew them by hand if you prefer. Keep in mind that elaborate details and trims can be edited or removed to make the baby bonnet pattern easier to make. Major pattern companies offer bonnet patterns intended for christenings and formal occasions as well, but sizing may vary. Finally, you can also find prairie style bonnets for babies; however, these may have slightly more complex construction. You can also create a simple bonnet pattern on your own by gathering one side of a fabric strip into a circle at the back of the head.
Measure the bonnet pattern pieces. Keep in mind the actual size of a preemie, newborn or infant's head. If the pattern pieces vary considerably from this size, you may want to adjust them accordingly. The circumference of a preemie's head is around 12 inches and a baby's head around 14 inches. Cut out your pattern. Fine batiste is ideal for an heirloom-style baby bonnet; however, slightly heavier cottons can also work well. If the pattern does not call for a lining, consider including one to avoid having exposed seam allowances on the inside of your bonnet.
Press and starch your bonnet fabric. Embellish your baby bonnet before proceeding with construction. You can machine stitch lace or trims into place on the bonnet fabric or use hand embroidery to decorate your bonnet pieces. Lace works well to decorate a girl's bonnet, while fine satin or grosgrain ribbon can be used to embellish a boy's bonnet. Fine piping may be used in the seams.
Sew the seams in your bonnet. If you are lining your bonnet, sew the outside and lining right sides together, leaving an opening for turning. Be sure to allow for casings and ties as needed. Turn right side out and press well. Top stitch along the brim. Hand stitch the opening closed and finish your baby bonnet. If you are not lining your bonnet, be sure your seams are neatly finished with pinking shears or a zigzag stitch.
Attach ties to your heirloom bonnet and thread ribbon through any casings in your bonnet. Satin ribbon is ideal for bonnet ties. Trim the ends of the ribbon on an angle. Give your baby bonnet a final pressing. Be careful of the iron if you have used satin ribbon.