Animal bonnets: the cat and the rabbit

imaginative play - free animal bonnet sewing pattern
It’s ‘Make Believe Week’ at GYCT designs this week, and because I love make believe and making I’ve put together a free animal bonnet pattern for the occasion. The best thing about imaginative play, is that it doesn’t require anything, a whole world or magic and possibility can be created from thin air. That said, a few props can be fun and the bonnets I’ve made with this pattern have seen a lot of use.

It’s an easily customised design; in the past I’ve made bat, cow, owl and wild thing versions and I’ve got plans for zebras and unicorns in the pipeline, but for now I’ve included options for a cat and a rabbit bonnet/hood. The cat version features pointy ears and a peak at the front. I made my version in black velvet, lined with grey and black striped cotton. The bonnets in the pictures ties with tape/ties under the chin, but I have since learned that these are against EU safety regulations- so this should not be used. It is possible to simply have no ties (the hoods will stay on without) or to use a short strap and popper.

Cat bonnet/hood sewing pattern

The rabbit version features a straight front edge and large floppy ears. My version was made with grey wool contrasted with pink cotton.

Rabbit bonnet/hat with free patternBoth of these bonnets were made with the same one size pattern. As you can see it is a little loose on S (age 2 with a head circumference of 50.5cm) and fairly snug on H  (age 7 with a head circumference of 52.5) so I’d put these two sizes as the limits of the pattern. If using a thicker fabric like faux fur it may be necessary to increase the size and seam allowances (which are 6mm in this pattern).

You can download the pattern with options for a rabbit or cat bonnet/hat here. Pages 1 and 2 will need to be be taped side by side and page 3 will need to be taped to the top of page 4.

The method is below (to enlarge it just click on the image and zoom in):

cat tutorialThe method for constructing the rabbit bonnet is the same, except in step 5 the ear will not need to be pushed right to the bottom of the dart, just so that two thirds of the ear is encased in the dart and one third into the seam between the bonnet side and bonnet centre panel.




30 thoughts on “Animal bonnets: the cat and the rabbit

    1. I got some great photos of the rabbit bouncing around too – but said rabbit vetoed them and picked the glum face image instead. Opinionated models eh?

      1. Honestly, people can be so controlling of their image these days! 😉 Sure you could squeeze in a bunny hop without her noticing, or might she sue you?!

      2. She probably wouldn’t notice – but I couldn’t live with the guilt of betrayal. As I’m only paying her in hot dinners not pro model rates I figure she still gets to choose!

  1. they’re so gorgeous! i love love love them! the pictures of your girls modeling they’re bonnets are just to cute! i know what i’m going to sew tonight 🙂 thank you for the tutorial and the pattern!

  2. Cute! I used to make something similar for my own kids when they were small [twenty or more years ago!]. I mostly used fur fabrics, and did a velcro tab for under the chin. I used to do matching tails, with a wooden clothes peg to attach it to their clothing. I sold a few sets to other mums as well. You’re right, dressing up doesn’t need much in the way of props, just imagination.

    1. I have a few in the cupboard made of faux fur too. I love the idea of clothes pegs – I have been trying to think of a better idea than using a safety pin- thanks!

  3. Actually I should sew some tiny harem pants right now for a friend’s baby boy due in a few weeks. but a little rabbit bonnet doesn’t hurt, right? can! not! wait! my daughter LOVES rabbits so much and she isn’t here for the weekend, so I can surprise her on sunday.
    I loved your simple tunic dress – any chance for it in a bigger pattern?

    1. I have to say these bonnets get so much use in our house! As to the pattern I’m not particularly experienced at grading pattern so and I’m pretty busy with my job at the moment, but I may end up scaling it up for my daughter who is now 4. If so I’ll let you know.

  4. Hi, I’m trying to print this pattern and it keeps trying to print it at 88% scale. Is this intentional? I printed one at 88% and one at 100% and the full scale seems a bit large, but the 88% seems small. I’m just wanting to make sure I get it right before I start cutting the beautiful velvet I bought for this darling pattern!

    1. Mmm not sure why it would want to print at 88% it is definitely supposed to be 100%. In terms of the size it probably is on the large size- my children have very big heads! And the pattern is designed the fit for a long time. If your child is younger and doesn’t have such a big head (especially if you’re not using a bulky faux fur fabric) you might want to scale down slightly but perhaps only to 95%? If you’ve got a precious fabric I’d suggest making a quick mock up in scrap fabric or the long fabric first…

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