Last year I made my grandson Kevin a Redcoat costume to attend the Re-enactment of the War of 1812 and whilst the kids were helping me, Morgan wondered if I would make her a pioneer outfit for a field trip her class was taking the following May. Naturally I said yes, especially with ten months notice! We even bought her one of those funny caps at one of the craft vendors at the Re-enactment.
I’ve been gathering materials and accessories since then , and last week finally decided to get on with it.
First off, round up all the supplies gathered in the last nine months, have a mini-fit when you can’t find the $10 cap bought last August, then calm down when Morgan finds it buried in her toy-box.
I had done quite a bit of research on the internets looking at period costumes, so I had a pretty good idea what I wanted the final get-up to look like. I drew a very rough sketch to show Morgan, mainly to give her a bit of confidence in my ability to produce this costume (misplaced confidence by the way, because I really didn’t think I would be able to pull it off). Three year-olds would be happy running around the house wearing a cardboard box if you told them it was a pioneer costume, but a nine-year old knows better.
Using Morgan as the model (obviously) I fiddled-faddled around, draping yards of material this way and that until I was ready to start cutting. This is always the scary part since I never use patterns. I must say that she was pretty patient, getting up on the chair for fittings, lifting her arms, turning around and around for me. Although at one point she did ask if I even knew how to operate the sewing machine thingy!
Getting that cap to stay on proved a little bit difficult, I think I will have to hot glue a hair-comb inside of it to secure it in her hair. Did you think I was going to say I was going to hot glue it to her head??
I used an old dress for the bodice because it had the perfect collar, but it was four sizes too small, so I just cut the sleeves off and opened up the seams. We found a nice sheer blouse with three-quarter sleeves at the back of my closet that she can wear. I was going to cut the sleeves off the blouse and sew them onto the costume, but decided instead to take the easy way out and just let her wear the blouse under the dress.
Next I sewed the skirt to the bodice and attached Velcro to the back seams.
Now it all it needed was a pinafore, so I cut out a one-piece out, straps and ties included.
Now all we need is appropriate footwear.
19th Century pioneer girl meets 21st Century digital-savvy girl!