Epic DIY post of epicness today. We all know my fascination with bonnets, but I get sticker shock every time I look at one… even the more reasonably priced ones. So I did what any rational horse lover would do, and I asked my mother in law to teach me to crochet.
She gave me a tutorial, which you can re-create by going to youtube and watching videos. For my bonnet, I used the single crochet stitch the entire time. Search that on youtube, and you’ll be golden.
So after I learned my stitch, my mother in law suggested I make pot holders to practice… but I said horse hats or bust! The next day I went to the fabric store and bought 3 yarns and fabric for the ears. That night I started to crochet and immediately realized my yarn was way too fuzzy.
If you want to crochet a horse bonnet, you need to get cotton yarn. Mercerized cotton yarn is even better. Once I ordered the right yarn, we were ready to begin.
Since I didn’t work off a pattern, I held one of my KL Select bonnets up to my DIY one to try and get the sizing right. I started with 28 crochet stitches at the area that goes under the crown piece of the bridle.
After I got a few rows in the beginning, I added a stitch on either side of the back of the bonnet. This way, I’m moving out to allow more room for where the ears will eventually go.
When I finished the piece behind the ears, I “tied off” and knotted the work up. Next, I moved to the edge and crocheted the area to the right of his right ear. Then, the area to the left of his left ear. Finally, the middle area leaving an open space for each ear. After each section of single crochet stitch, I tied off and then tied on to connect the sections. Again, youtube is your friend here.
Once I finished connecting all the pieces for the ear holes, I then did a row all the way across. You have to be careful to count the number of stitches that go on top of the ear holes. If you do too few or too many that doesn’t match the opening you left, the bonnet will be warped.
Once the ear holes were closed on, it was time to think about the front face flap of the bonnet. This is basically just rows of reducing your crochet stitch by one each row. I chose to make a square flap, so once I got far enough down I created my square “bottom” with 6 crochet stitches across. Remember, you’ll be adding trim eventually so make things a bit more narrow than you want them to be once you add trim.
When the base is done, it’s time for the trim… which is the fun part. Now during making the base, you’re pretty much crocheting across the piece in rows. For the trim, what I did was turn the piece and start crocheting around the edge. You’re still doing the same stitch, but it’s in a different direction.
For my trim, I first did a single crochet all the way around the bonnet. That didn’t look very thick, so I added an extra line. I don’t love the way you can see the intermixing between the silver yarn and the navy yarn. I know there are lots of different crochet stitches and trims, so I may just need to learn a better one here to achieve the look I want.
Once I did one two rows of silver around the base, I decided to add a single row of white. Since I was using the white acrylic yarn, it was much thicker (and fuzzier) than the navy or silver. Gives a different look, but I think I liked it… just need a non-fuzzy version when I buy more materials in the future.
With the white, the crochet part of my bonnet was done. Next I needed to add the ears! For the ear fabric, I bought lyrca (stretchy swimsuit fabric) in a dark navy to match my base. I again used the KL Select bonnet as a template since the ears fit Simon, but I basically cut a folded half circle in an ear shape.
Then I sewed the ear together, leaving the bottom open. Note: make sure you sew with the off side of the fabric facing you.
Next turn the ear inside out so the stitches are hid and the shiny side is out. Poke that ear through the bonnet holes, so the shiny/finished side is facing the “good” side of your bonnet.
Now carefully fold a small amount of ear fabric to a small amount of your bonnet crochet. What I did is fold a short straight line, sew it, and then re-adjust. Be careful so you don’t end up sewing your bonnet together!
Once you go all the way around, your bonnet will look like this from the side that touches your horse.
And then you have ears!
At this point, the bonnet is ‘finished’ unless you want to add any fancy trim or sparkles. I decided to wait until I put it on Simon to verify the fit before I got crazy with the add ons.
Up close, you can see some irregularities in the stitching and a little lack of straightness here or there. For my first time making one I was pretty thrilled though, and figured it would look okay from a distance. The next day, I went to try it on Simon.
The overall verdict? A bit too small. I want to make another one that goes further down to his eyes, longer flap, and a little bit more on either side of his ears. This was certainly doable and didn’t look awful, but I figure there’s no point settling when I can just pull the crochet out and re-do the bonnet to fit a bit better.
These don’t look as nice as some of the high end custom bonnets, but I’m not sure I care. With some sparkles and some cording (and a better fit), I don’t think you’d know the difference! Plus I can make as many as I want… now I need more saddle pads. 🙂
Obviously it’s not a perfect tutorial, but I had a hard time finding documentation out there so I figured this would be a good start! If you have any questions I will do my best to answer then (or find youtube videos for you to watch).