An 1860s Drawn Bonnet for an American Girl Doll

Here is a short tutorial for turning a straw basket and Christmas ribbon into an 1860s drawn bonnet for an American Girl doll.

An American girl doll wears a drawn bonnet with an orange shawl and dress

Some time ago, I split a small straw craft-store hat in half, lined it in silk taffeta, trimmed it in more silk taffeta and a feather spray or two, and made a straw basket bonnet for an American Girl Doll.

Side View of an American Girl doll wearing a straw bonnet decorated with fake flowers and a feather biot

The baskets had come as a set of two, and I wanted to see if i could make something that would approximate a different style of mid-Victorian headwear – an 1860s drawn bonnet.

I split the second basket in half, bound the raw edge with a strip of bias tape and lined it in cotton. (so that the straw weave wouldn’t catch on the dolls hair.) and just for fun, I tacked a row of pleated orange ribbon along the edge of the brim.

To make the drawn effect, I lightly gathered the wired ribbon along ONE of the wires, tacking it into place along the curve of the hat, and cutting it to fit each time i had completed a curve.

And then i did nothing else with it whatsoever except stick it in the back of my parents closet.

An 1860s drawn bonnet for an American Girl doll, made from a straw basket and covered in rows of wired ribbon and trimmed in orange ribbon knife pleats.

After the fiasco of the Halloween hat, this bonnet came to mind as a better vehicle for the orange ribbon roses on THAT disaster – they’re made of the same orange ribbon as the trim on this bonnet!

Over Christmas I collected the bonnet from my parents place and last week, I buckled down and finished trimming it.

I had no more of the ribbon I’d used to cover the base, so to make the curtain ( he fiddly bit at the back of the bonnet that kept Victorian ladies’ necks modest) but i had a scrap of gold ribbon in my stash that more or less matched.

And then I trimmed!

Rear view of an 1860s bonnet for an American Girl doll. The bonnet is trimmed with gold and orange ribbons.

To coordinate with my new bonnet, I dug into the stash and pulled out a much-loved and never-used remnant of sunset-colored rayon chiffon, and while I was still in my happy hemming place, hand rolled and beaded a hem around the edges for a matching shawl.

Close-up of the beaded edges of an orange chiffon shawl

(This is supposed to be a historical piece, so we’re just going to pretend that synthetic dye technology was a few decades in advance of reality, okay?)

I added a pair of orange ribbon ties:

An American Girl Doll 1860s bonnet with bright orange ribbon ties

And – voila! One entirely passable 1860’s drawn bonnet for an American Girl doll!  In technicolor. VERY Technicolor!

an american girl doll wears an 1860s drawn bonnet trimmed with orange ribbon roses







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *