Wednesday, September 7, 2016

FCE DIY: Bridal Shower Fly Bonnet

So these pictures have been sitting around in my drafts folder for basically ever haha. Not many folks from my barn know about this blog, let alone actually check in on it... but the bride-to-be from yesterday's paper chase post is among that small group and I definitely didn't want to risk ruining the surprise by prematurely posting these pics!!

sparkly bonnet trim, almost finished but for the sequin heart patch
Finally, tho, I can post this fun little DIY project! Or maybe it's more of an 'upcycling' type project? Idk exactly what to call it. I didn't really make any of the materials myself, mostly just snipped and tucked and stitched a few random things into new and prettier shapes haha.

raw materials, including materials for the veils too. didn't end up using the flowers or the iron on letter crystals, unfortunately (ahem, someone doesn't own an iron.... oops)
We started with the standard fare $7.99 fly bonnet from Dover. You know the one. With the frills? That basically looks kinda like a horror show on most horses unless the fit is jusssssst right?

much frills, so horror
Idk maybe I'm being a bit harsh. Maybe some people are into the frills? It just seems tho like bonnets are so close to borderline ridiculous as it is, that the little tufted things just throw the whole picture right over that edge. Again - perhaps it's dependent on fit. Any poorly fitting bonnet kinda looks bizarre in my eyes tho so idk. Maybe I'm just traumatized from a horse as difficult to fit in every dimension as Isabel?

snip snip, mother fuckers!!!
Anyway. That's neither here nor there. This is supposed to be a tutorial, right? So. Step 1: Cut those godforsaken frills right off. With care tho - the funny fussy thing about crochet is if you snip the wrong piece at the wrong time, it'll all just pull apart. So try to snip the knots off right at the little loops highlighted in the picture above.

a clean edge emerges!
I also waited to cut off the junctures of where the frills met the bonnet until I was prepared to deal with tying those edges off, again, lest the whole thing unravel on me.

per usual over here at 'Fraidy Cat Eventing, we recommend that you have cats on hand for any serious DIY project
Really, I didn't need to wait tho. Just knot the pieces off once you cut them and you should be golden.

Martini here displays his usefulness in a close inspection of the bonnet's throatlatch
Again tho, not to beat a dead horse, but this Step 1 of trimming off the fringe is definitely worthy of some attention and care. It's not particularly time consuming or anything. But one false snip and you've basically ruined the foundation upon which we want to build all our sparkling blingy nonsense.

So don't kill yourself doing it... but also don't shoot yourself in the foot and end up needing to buy a new bonnet either haha.

arrows point to the junctures where the frills met the bonnet
In the bonnet I used, there were three main junctures where the fringe directly fed into the crochet of the main bonnet. See the above arrows. I'm not entirely positive, but I would bet that most fringed bonnets follow a similar construction. Each of those areas needed to be trimmed and knotted with care. Then I stitched the knots or resulting tails down on the underside of the bonnet to leave a clean edge.

let the blinging begin!!
Once the bonnet resembles a shape that I personally find a little more pleasing (ymmv), it's time for the real transformation. Time to dial that sucker right up to 11 on the sparkly scale haha.

We were obviously on a bridal theme here, but you can pretty easily imagine how this might be customized with other colors, or with other (less blingy) materials haha.

Supplies from Joann Fabric:
-Faux pearls on a 21" chain $6.99 (on sale for $3.49). You could also opt for pre-strung beads, but I felt the chain would be easier to work with, esp for adjusting lengths without worrying about the whole strand busting apart.
-Panacea Crystal Wrap $6.49. I didn't know this was the stuff I needed until I saw it. Basically it's wide bright silver mesh studded with shiny metal sparkles. It's a couple inches wide, and maybe 48" long? Definitely way more than I needed for this project, but I loved how easy it looked to cut to size or shape. Apparently this is what you might use if you wanted to wrap a vase or candle or something? Idk. Whatever the case, it was perfect for this project (and probably many other future projects)
-White sequin heart applique $2.49. Obviously totally optional, depending on whether you want a patch on your bonnet or not.

-Needle and thread (I recommend a thimble too)
-Pliers (for modifying the bead chain)

so easy to cut to size!
I trimmed the silver mesh to a width of three crystals, and eyeballed the lengths I would need by just laying it on top of the bonnet. You could be more precise if you wanted.... But it didn't really seem to matter. The cool thing about the mesh is that it's really easy to measure and cut straight just by nature of being a grid pattern haha.

close up of the bead chain
The bead chain actually proved to be a little fussier than I anticipated, but I'm still happy with how it turned out and it wasn't really that annoying to work with. Again, pre-strung beads might actually have been easier to sew on... but they would have been more difficult to cut to size and could potentially burst apart if the strand broke.

I mostly just laid stuff on top of the bonnet to see what worked. The 21" chain of beads was just about the perfect length, tho I ultimately used the pliers to remove maybe the last 4".

not sewn into place yet
I toyed with having the pearls on the inside or outside of the bonnet, and ultimately decided on the outside. Then cut three separate segments of the mesh to create the right shape.

Then it was time to sew it on! Again, I didn't worry about being too precise here. Our base material is crochet, after all. I tried to keep my lines following the bonnet's existing structure, and sewed the bead chain and mesh on simultaneously.

I recommend stopping to knot the thread often. That way, in case any one portion breaks or gets snagged on something, the whole thing won't just fall apart. It's horses, we need a certain degree of security, ya know?

where the heart lies?
Mostly tho, perhaps the most consuming part of the process was attaching everything. Luckily all these materials are very forgiving. There's no need to be a master seamstress here. You just gotta make sure the needle swoops through all the important parts and keeps everything tight enough.

probably not the best shape
I had trimmed the end piece of mesh with the idea of reducing bulk... but maybe don't actually do this, should you be so inclined to use similar materials. That one little crystal hanging off the edge actually wasn't very stable and kinda got a little warped and twisted in the sewing. Not so much as you'd notice... but it more or less rendered the extra effort of trimming it pointless. Learn from my mistakes!

much better!
Oh, I also chopped off that long strand of rope that's meant to tie under the horse's throat. I always kinda felt that was ugly anyway, and especially with a white bonnet on a dark bay horse. Instead, I trimmed it leaving enough room to create a generously sized loop on that end to match the loop on the left side.

This way, you can thread your bridle's throatlatch through both of these loops, and the bonnet is guaranteed to stay in place so long as your bridle is on the horse!

ta da!
Last step is sewing on the heart applique - which is where I'd most definitely recommend using a thimble. It goes on pretty easy tho, and again it's just a matter of simple sweeping stitches to get it well enough connected to the crochet base.

Then you're all done! Custom bonnet is ready for action!

modeled here with obligatory veil
This project was slightly fussy in some ways. But it provides almost infinite options for customizing with beads and sparkle patterns and ribbons and basically whatever your little heart desires, at a fraction of the price of most custom bonnets.

Think you'll give it a try?


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I kinda wanna make more now lol, esp since I still have so much of that crystal mesh left!

  2. There are so many crafty equestrian bloggers!
    I'm not crafty but my mum is, so I just ask her to make me stuff :)

    1. Ha crafty moms are pretty awesome too! Tho I will say - tho project requires a little patience but not necessarily much skill. You should give it a shot!

  3. Amazing what a difference just cutting the fringe off makes! There is hope for those of us unwilling to pay $50+ for custom.

    1. Yea I really could never justify the cost of some of those customs... Even tho they are lovey and use superior materials and whatnot... It's still just kinda a hat for my horse lol. Turns out tho that trimming off the fringe really does help out these basic off the rack models tho!

  4. I tried a fringed one on Stinker. It was hysterical. I should have taken a picture.

    1. ha i bet the pic would have been priceless!! i love to gaze fondly at isabel's poor face in the pic from that one time i made her wear one too lol

  5. I totally lost my shit at "snip snip, mother fuckers" 😂 this is AWESOME! I think the fringed bonnets are hideous but I didn't realize it was so simple to get the fringe off!

    1. lol awesome! and yea i'd tried to take the fringe off once before but kinda did a half assed job of it and messed the bonnet up a bit... but honestly it's really not that complicated. just mind your snips :)

  6. im glad you posted this bc intrepid makes really nice quality, plain simple bonnets but they need moar sparklies!!!

    i love your cats. i wish you lived closer we could have wine n cat nights EVERY NIGHT.

    1. yasssss for moar sparkles and moar wine and moar cats lol!

  7. You weren't wrong, I love this post. I must try this. Bling everything.

  8. It's so beautiful! You did a great job. Love the commentary

  9. What a fantastic idea and so cool!

  10. That is lovely and what a great gift!! And how lucky that you had a feline overlord making sure you did good work

  11. Hey look! A craft project I have actually done and would do again. :D Cutting the stupid tassels off is genius though. I've always hated them.

  12. oh that was fun! and i loved that you suggested to knot regularly so that things don't just start coming apart after one unravel. haha. pearl necklaces and such are usually strung together with knots for that exact reason! what a pretty outcome :)

    1. Yup I'm big into taking a couple extra precautions so things are a little sturdier.

  13. I hate those fringes too. Even before I started DIYing bonnets, I would just buy those and cut the stupid fringes off. Most of the bonnets I've done only had 2 crochet attachment points for cutting those suckers off though, not three like yours.

    1. The third juncture actually kinda surprised me - I'm glad I was taking my time with it and didn't screw it up lol

  14. This came out SO GREAT!!! Dino has that exact white fringe bonnet... with fringe still intact.. It's so classy that it now lives permanently somewhere in the bottom of my tack trunk.

    1. Haha I bet. You should try to DIY it into something more fun!!

  15. I will take one please. Or maybe two or three because purple needs to be involved here somehow... :P

  16. What an ingenious idea taking the tassels off! I always loathed how they looked and made the bonnet fit on Quest...might need to modify ours soon lol


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