Elizabeth Stewart Clark & Company

A Quick Tufted Hood Project

Rather than a formal tutorial with process pictures and illustrations, I’m sending this quick set of notes up for those who’ve wanted to know more about using the free basic sunbonnet pattern from the Compendium to make a quick and warm winter hood.

Here’s a link to a picture of an original tufted winter hood that has very similar geometry to the shape produced by the slat bonnet instructions. To use the slat bonnet for a similar hood, here’s the process:

Draft up your shape, and test it in muslin. In the case of a hood, the portion that would normally be slatted for sun protection will instead be partly folded back to form the pretty decorative brim. You definitely want your winter hood to touch your shoulders, as this blocks breezes much more comfortably.

  • Cut one complete bonnet shape in a light to mid-weight wool fabric.
  • Cut one complete bonnet shape in thin wool batting, then trim about 1/4″ from the entire edge, all the way around.
  • Cut one complete bonnet shape in a smooth cotton, such as cotton sateen, for the lining/brim facing.
  • Cut a rectangle a few inches wider than you’d like the decorative turned-back brim to be from a pretty contrasting fabric, if desired (you could just choose a pretty color for the sateen lining and have that be your revealed prettiness.)
  • If you want to closely match the hood in the photo, curve the front lower edge of the brim smoothly, and cut long strips of your outer wool to use as the pleated trim.
  • Cut three lengths of wide plaid silk ribbon, or narrow-hem strips of your wool to serve as the outer ties that go to the back of the hood, and narrow-hem strips of the your lining fabric for the under-chin ties.

You will also need a small amount of wool yarn in a contrasting color, to do the tufting or knotting that keeps all the layers neatly together.

You’re now ready to assemble and tuft the hood.

  • Press all the edges of the lining fabric and outer fabric to the wrong side 1/4″. Take time around the curves; they will indeed curve!
  • Create a “sandwich” with your lining fabric wrong side up, your trimmed-down batting in the middle, and your outer fabric right side up. The folded and pressed edges of your outer and lining fabrics should neatly hide the batting. Pin carefully all the way around to keep things stable, or hand-baste the folded edges together.
  • Thread a large-eye needle with your wool yarn, and “tie” or tuft the three-layer sandwich every 2″ (to match the interval in the original example hood), using a square knot for each, and trimming the yarn to about 3/8″ after knotting.

Time to finish up!

  • Use fine handstitches to permanently sew the folded edges of the lining and outer fabric together along the outer edge. This could also be machined, but the edge will be more stiff and less flexible with machined stitching. When handstitching, you could use a small running stitch, or fell the lining edge just inside the folded edge of the outer fabric.
  • Work a narrow running stitch hem on your wool trimming strips. Box pleat the strips and tack them by hand to the inside edge of the brim (so it will show when the brim is turned back) and the outside fabric of the curtain/bavolet. You’ll have to choose a “switch-over” point somewhere near the lower front edge of the brim.
  • Hem your ties, and attach them at or just lower than your earlobes on the inside and outside of the hood.

To wear the hood, tie a bow in the hemmed fabric tapes to the back of the neck. Tie the interior hemmed fabric tapes under your chin. Turn back the brim to an attractive depth, and keep cozy!

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About The Sewing Academy
With a focus on the 1840-1865 era, The Sewing Academy is your home on the (internet) range for resources to help you meet your living history goals!

Elizabeth Stewart Clark has been absorbed by the mid-19th century for over 20 years. She makes her home in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, four children (from wee to not-so-wee), far too many musical instruments, and five amusing hens.

Email Elizabeth Or call 208-523-3673 (10am to 8pm Mountain time zone, Monday through Saturday)
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