Who can resist a fluffy, ruffly bonnet around a sweet baby face? Definitely not me! I made these bonnets a long time before Baby Kate arrived, but just recently rediscovered them while cleaning out a bunch of old trunk show treasures. So glad Baby Kate doesn’t mind modeling! The raw edged silk organza ruffles are created with a Baby Lock Embellisher. Coolest way ever to make ruffles!
I found my pattern, too. If you would like to download it, click here. There are no instructions, just the pattern pieces in PDF form for you to print. But follow along with this blog post and I’ll give you the basics for ruffling, embroidering, and constructing if you’d like to make ruffled bit of pretty for your own wee one.
You do not have to add embroidery, but it sure does make the bonnet extra special! I used roses from my Petites collection - click here to see it.
First of all, I traced my bonnet pattern onto my fabric. (I find it easier to do the embroidery on big pieces of fabric rather than cut-out, smaller shapes.) I marked lines for my needle felted ruffles on both pieces, straight on the bonnet side and curved around the shape of the bonnet back as shown below.
Next I stabilized the fabric and embroidered the rose designs, centering the back group in the middle of the bonnet back and centering lines of roses between the bottom two marked lines on the bonnet side as shown above. Once the embroidery was finished I removed the stabilizer and cut out the pieces and stay stitched both pieces 1/4" from the raw edge. Then I cut several nice long strips of bias cut silk organza 2” wide each for the ruffles. It takes about twice the length of fabric to create a ruffle for needle felting.
(Note: If you are using very fine fabric for your bonnet, you may need to stabilize the fabric before felting the ruffles and sewing them down with the motif stitching. Soft tear-away or Baby Lock's No Show Mesh will work fine. If you use this for your embroidery you can leave it in place as you apply the ruffles. The excess stabilizer should be removed before construction.)
If you happen to have a 7 needle Baby Lock Embellisher, just get right to it and needle felt the strips of silk organza along your marked lines. If you have a 12 needle Embellisher, you may wish to remove all but the first 3 needles right in the center at the front of the head. (This is easiest done by removing the head and then removing the needles. You can use all 12 needles, but you probably should cut your bias strips slightly wider.) Hold the ruffle gently and guide it over the marked lines, taking care not to stretch it length-ways. Encourage it toward the felting needles; don’t hold back on it. Nice thing about ruffling with the Embellisher is that if you mess up, whiffft! Pull it up and put in a new one, just like that!
After completing my ruffles, I stitched down the center of each one – on top of the needle felted path – with a nice wide, pretty heirloom motif stitch and matching embroidery thread. That made the ruffles permanent.
I had already marked the center back of both the bonnet back and side fabric pieces for lining up my embroidery; if you haven’t, you might want to do that now.
I sewed the bonnet back lining and ruffled bonnet back piece together at the lower edge, carefully keeping the ruffles lying open and flat at the edge. Next I created a 3/8" casing and cut a 6” piece of elastic, sewed it at one side, and pulled up the elastic until there was 3” excess elastic hanging out. Then I stitched through the elastic and fabric to secure it at the side and clipped off the excess.
Next I stitched the those two bonnet back pieces together around the outside about ¼” from the edge. They are facing wrong sides together.
I decided to create my own embroidered fabric for the front ruffle by stitching a scalloped satin stitch motif and a lacy rose motif (chosen from my Baby Lock Ellisimo's on-board motif stitch selections) along a straight piece of silk organza stabilized with wash-away stabilizer. When finished stitching, I trimmed away the excess past the scalloped satin stitched edge, soaked out the stabilizer, and – when dry – trimmed the ruffle to 2.5” wide. It was a snap to needle felt this ruffle onto the front edge of the bonnet, but one could also just gather it and sew it by machine as well. Narrow rolled hems finish the ruffle ends.
So, the back is complete; now I needed to sew the side lining and ruffled fabric together. Keeping the ruffles lying as flat as possible at the edges and OUT of the seam allowance areas at the front corners, I stitched the lining to the ruffled side fabric piece (right sides together) along the two short ends and across the front, enclosing the added front ruffle in the seam. This seam began ½” away from the back edge. After stitching I trimmed the seam allowance selvage to about ¼” everywhere except at those ½” bits at the back edges. Then I clipped the corners, turned right side out, and pressed along the seam. (Helpful hint - Check those ruffles inside before you trim! Make sure they are not caught where they shouldn't be.)
This piece is now open at the back. Next I pinned the back edge of the ruffled fabric side piece (only, not the lining too) to the lined bonnet back piece.
After sewing those two pieces together, I trimmed the seam allowance selvage to about ¼”. (Check those ruffles again before you trim!)
If you stand on your head a bit, you can flip the lining up over the ruffled fabric at the bottom back edges and sew right sides together for a short way and then turn under and pin the rest. This will help keep the bottom ends neat. If you don’t want to stand on your head, simply fold under the seam allowance selvage of the bonnet side lining, pin over the seam where the back bonnet joins the side bonnet, and hand sew to secure.
All that’s left is to sew on some ribbon ties. I made a little loop on one end of my ribbon and whipped it in place on both front bottom edges.
Tah-da! A really ruffly baby bonnet! Here's a pink version on my dear niece's baby girl, isn't she precious!
And here's a photo of the finished bonnet on a stand. You can see the detailing a bit better.
So, grab your Baby Lock Embellisher and get ruffling! You won't believe how fast it can do that!