Thursday, April 18, 2013

Special Field Trip=Special Occasion--PR&P

At my daughter's elementary school, 4th grade is a big deal because they get to go on this awesome field trip.  They go to the plantation in our little town, which had a part in the battle that occurred here during the Civil War. It's an all day field trip and they are supposed to dress up.  I figured this counted as a special occasion, because it is a much anticipated event (she's been counting down the days for a couple of months now) that really only occurs once for them.  That constitutes a special occasion in my book and so I think it fits the bill for this weeks theme over at Project Run and Play.

For my daughters outfit, I designed the Civil War era dress, bonnet and apron.
She picked out the brown print for the dress, after we did a little research on prints from that time period. The bonnet is made out of some brown floral I had in my stash and the apron is just unbleached muslin.

Here she is wearing the snood that I had to wear for one of my summer jobs.  I grew up in Gettysburg, PA--another famous battle field--and worked at the Farnsworth House as a hostess/waitress.  We had to wear a dress, apron and the snood.  It was a fun job, because I got to interact with people from all over. Making this outfit reminded me of that summer.
It was very windy today when we took the pictures and the snood wasn't staying on very well, so the pictures don't look that great but I like how they make her look more dignified, while the bonnet makes her look pioneerish.

The bodice is loosely based on the shirt pattern I drafted a while back. I added a little extra on each front piece so that I could do 3 pleats on each side of the placket. And instead of a collar I added some of this vintage lace.
The sleeves were going to be much simpler, but she requested 'puffed sleeves' (Anne of Green Gables anyone?)  The skirt is just a simple gathered skirt, each panel being the width of the fabric, and then attached with  a waistband.  At the bottom, there are 2 pleats as well. Did you know in this time period, pleats were functional first and as an after thought decorative?  With long dresses, the hems would wear out, so you couldn't just simply let down the hem when you needed to make a dress longer.  That would leave you with an awfully frayed line, but pleats would not wear out so you could let those down.
Close up of the bodice.  I like how the lace kind of makes the dress. I had to restrain myself from adding more and keep it at simple is better. Here's another fun fact about the sewing process. I very rarely sew with one direction printed fabrics. I had to unpick many things and flip them around because I had the print upside down.
Here's a picture of the lace that I used. I get to raid my mom's stash when I go home every summer, and this was one of my finds.  Don't you wish you could get 2 yards for 79 cents still?
Here's a picture of the bonnet. Making these used to be second nature.  My mom would make a ton of these to sell in local shops (Gettysburg is filled with touristy type stores) and we would be enlisted to help. From a very young age, I started by helping to snip the string of ties apart as my mom mass produced them. Then you would graduate on to cutting out the pieces to actually sewing. 
And some final shots.  I wonder if I could convince her to wear the dress when we go to Gettysburg to visit this summer.  We plan on doing a bunch of the 'Living History' programs that will be going on around the battlefield. It's the 150 anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg this year, so it's a big deal. I think it would be fun to get more wear out of the dress.

I'll be linking up to Train to Crazy


  1. so cute and great pictures! Definitely a Special Occasion!

  2. You pulled it off!!! YEA!! And, personally, I think wearing it on your visit to Gettysburg isn't optional :).

  3. I love these types of projects, these are the perfect opportunities to have some fun, don't you think? It turned out great!

  4. I have been one of your subscribers for some time. This outfit really caught my eye. My children have done many "Walk Thru History" events. What a sweet outfit. You may like my post on teaching your children to sew in the form of a Summer Sewing Camp:



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