Archive | March 2014

1854’s School Day on the Prairie- Kirsten’s School Dress


I really wanted to make something for Kirsten. However much I adore the looks of the winter outfit from American Girl, I knew there was no way I would be able to knit a patterned doll sweater. Probably not even able to knit a plain doll sweater also. I had to settle for something easier that I could actually make.

I decided upon the school dress from the Pleasant Company. Nothing in my scrap bin looked acceptable for a calico look which is what I wanted more. Something that would at least be reminisce of 1850s mid-west. At Wal-Mart one early morning, I looked in the fabric remnant bin and found this dark blue rose print quilting cotton. It was the closest I could find at a reasonable price.


Cutting out wasn’t too bad. The bodice front does have a fairly tight curve so I had to use my scissors instead of the rotary cutter for that. The pattern calls for ½ yard of fabric and it does pretty much take up the whole amount. I think I had about a 9 inch by 8 inch scrap left afterwards. Nothing much to make anything else out of it.

The instructions are well written. But if you are a visual person, the pictures in the directions do not have a lot of detail. That could be why there is a “warning” that the pattern is for experienced seamstresses only and children need the experienced seamstress’ guidance. Also with the pdf, sometimes the picture got split between two pages. Luckily, I came across the blog “Hello Kirsti” which had a nice tutorial with pictures to consult also. I included the blog link at the bottom of the post. A quick glance at her pictures was very helpful.


All the pieces came together well. I was sort of apprehensive about this just because I had used the pdf file and had to piece the pattern pieces together. The dress was easy to sew together. As I was working on this, I realized that I forgot to cut the neck-band or that I had accidentally trashed the neck-band. I am not sure which one. I was easily able to get the same fabric at the store that matched what I had

I was able to create this dress for about $5.68.

Hello Kirsti’s Kirsten’s school dress tutorial:

AG playthings patterns:

1960s Spring dress- Simplicity 5822


Originally, I was planning on post both versions of this dress up at the same time. But the more progress I made on the navy cotton dress, I felt like it needed to have its own post. The navy cotton dress is sort of the warm-up for the silk duiponi version that I am currently working on. It isn’t technically a muslin because I had all the fit issues worked out already. But I wanted to know what to expect for the main star dress and when I adapted the pattern to be lined.

I don’t want to give away too many details in this post because then you may not want to see the final silk result. But I did go ahead and tried a new pattern alteration method. It worked out fine and was much easier to understand the changes to be made.

I honestly can’t blame the pattern alterations for this, but my bodice ended up too long (about half an inch at least). It is most likely because I didn’t account for how much the skirt would weigh the bodice down.



Construction of the navy dress was pretty straight forward and ease. I serged all the edges of the pieces before beginning so I would have a clean finish. My serger re-claimed its spot on the dining table and evicted all the quilt blocks (I had hoped to work on when sick but didn’t get to) and doll clothes patterns. Collar came together easily. The front facing was narrowed hemmed. All eight darts had no difficulties. One mistake on the shoulder seams had to be fixed. I sewed them together backwards so that the center front was connecting to the back side seam. But quickly noticed and fixed.

I basted the collar down, put the front facing on and clipped where needed. Then I went back to the sewing machine to topstitch the neckline seam only to notice that I was out of navy blue thread. Even though everything was clicking and going well, I had to put my bodice on hold the rest of the night until I could get more navy thread.

This is the first time I used the buttonhole stitch on my little Pfaff Ambition Essentials. It took an hour to do 5 button holes. I had to rip out stitching on buttonholes about 3 times. The weight of the whole dress must have been fighting against my sewing machine. All the small samples I made came out fine, but on the dress they were too small. I think next time I will go ahead and put the buttonholes in before attaching to the skirt.

Arms were finished with bias strips instead of the armhole facing from the pattern at the very end. I ended up taking in the side seams about a half-inch more on each side after I had the buttonholes in.

The wind did affect the picture session on Sunday.

I am going to wait for the other version of this pattern before I go ahead and post it on Pattern Review for everyone. It is sort of sneak peek at what is to come. But between this and the final silk version, I may go ahead and make a doll dress sort of as a mental break.