Now, I've been on a pioneer reenactment trek, and it is not a whole lot of fun to pull an actual handcart, but it is fun to make and play with these cute little carts! I started off with a couple of Jiffy muffin boxes for cart bodies. There are some paper templates online for origami handcarts, but I wanted something a little more solid - and most importantly, I wanted something that would actually roll.
Once I had two carts done, the races could begin. This has become quite the favorite! I use foam shape beads, but marshmallows or any small object would work. Each participant is given equal amounts of whatever items the cart needs to be loaded with. Another person shouts "GO" and both participant pioneers load their "handcarts" with "supplies" as fast as they can in whatever manner they want. They then use the attached string (oh, did I mention I attached 18" of string? It's too easy just to pull the handle - where's the fun in that?) to pull their carts across the table or floor to the finish line. The handle must not drag, and nothing can fall out of the cart. If anything does, it must be picked up, the pioneer must return to the start, load the item back into the cart, and then continue onward once again. It's harder than it looks! And it's a blast!!
EASY Pioneer Bonnets
As I mentioned before, I've been on a pioneer trek, and I sewed, or helped sew, dozens of bonnets. They are an absolute PAIN! The interfacing in the brim is the primary culprit. Getting it stiff enough, getting it to cooperate, turning it inside out, getting the seams flat, it is not at all fun. Just isn't. But I love bonnets! They're adorable! So I came up with a plan to make them quick and dirty. Well, hopefully not dirty bonnets, but my methods would surely be frowned upon by my pioneer ancestors because they're far from proper!
That pesky brim being the biggest problem - let's solve it with craft foam. That's right - craft foam. It is the perfect stiffness, light, cool, great colors, can even be decorated - the possibilities are endless. And the most important thing in its favor? YOU CAN SEW ON IT!! Yea, probably old news to some of you, but still - HELLO! Sew on craft foam? Sweet! You can get two brims out of one large piece of craft foam - the 12 x 18 (I think?). Just coordinate with a cute calico of your choice, cut out the pattern (or a reasonable facsimile - it doesn't need to be exact, just that rounded shape), and you're done with the brim.
For the crown, I keep it super simple, again. This is a fast and easy pattern, remember, not an heirloom sewing project. I'm not edge finishing or doing any fancy work. It's possible - I have some lovely full quality bonnets - but that's not what I'm doing here. So, I actually made up a pattern from looking at an old doll pattern and modifying it a little, then figuring out the measurements for a child size. Run a gathering stitch along the rounded edge from dot to dot. Then simply pull the gathering thread, and sew the right side of the fabric to the straight side of the foam brim, as shown. You could add lace between the two for a fancier look, or rick-rack, or cording - there are many cute options to dress it up.
|Sew the fabric crown to the foam brim, using a straight stitch, with the right side of the fabric facing the foam.|
|What the sewn inside of the brim looks like - nice and neat, eh?|
|Add elastic at neck, on inside, with a zig-zag stitch that goes through the elastic, stretching to fit as you sew|
The final step is the ties. Matching a grosgrain ribbon to the brim, folding it over a couple of times, sew pieces about 16 inches long on the inside of the bonnet at the dots, trying to catch both fabric and foam brim in a zig-zag stitch. Go back and forth over it a couple of times to make sure it's solid - kids tug on these quite a bit, and the more solidly it joins the brim to the fabric at this juncture point, the better.
|Traditionally, the ties are made from the same fabric as the bonnet. You are more than welcome to do that. I hate turning skinny things inside out - yup, I'm lazy like that - I'll use ribbon here, thank you!|
That's it! It's like a 20 min or less bonnet! No interfacing! And if you're making it for a family pioneer day event, grab some foam paint, markers, or stickers and let the girls doll up their brims to personalize them! I can see it now - Pioneers with BLING!
|bonnet on a 4 year old|
|same bonnet on a 6 year old|
|same bonnet on a 9 year old (getting a little tight)|