My Prairie Dress


I finished my prairie dress yesterday. It had been waiting for the last week for me to put the sleeves in to see if the overall fit was a go. It is a go. It fits perfectly. I am really pleased because I have been eager, on my journey to improve my sewing skills, to complete a successful alteration.

These are the alterations I made to the pattern (McCalls 4548):

  • reduce collar thickness
  • increase waistband thickness to 2″
  • reduce cuff thickness and circumference
  • reduce width of shoulder span, front and back bodice (change shoulder point)
  • raise underarm point, front and back bodice
  • reduce width of chest, front and back bodice
  • reduce fullness of sleeve, everywhere, drastically

Now it is time to finish the girls’ dresses. They’ll help me but I’ll have to sew the difficult parts. I went to bed last night thinking about adding collars to their dresses. I’ll keep thinking about that.


  1. Wow, what a job you did! Well done!

  2. Wardee, that dress is beautiful! You did a wonderful job on your alterations. I am praising God with you that you were able to learn to do this so well.

  3. very nice! The fit looks perfect. How satisfying.

  4. You look beautiful and it fit’s you have grown in your learning this past year my dear friend…the sushi looks wonderful, did your family adore it?
    I just love visiting your home..i come every day I can! warm and loving hugs..

  5. Looks wonderful! What a good job you did!
    That is just the kind of dress DD and I need for our 1838 reenacting. :o)

  6. Wardee — You look just like a pioneer woman — very pretty and put together! How proud of you I am. You did a wonderful job on your dress. I am anxious to see pictures of you and your girls and C. and his Dad. You are a lovely family — and we are rejoicing that we will get to see you soon.

    God’s blessings!

  7. Wardee, It’s just beautiful and you look beautiful in it and quite regal! Congratulations!! :) Love, Karen T.

  8. Beautiful dress! Where did you learn to sew and alter so well? Is there a book that would help with that?
    How do you find the time to do all that you do?

    I learned to sew from my mom when I turned 7 (thanks, Mom!) and I’ve been sewing ever since. Recently, I started teaching myself, through books, how to draw my own patterns from measurements and how to alter. It is all from books from the library. A couple of the goods one I bought myself. For instance, the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing has a great overview of common alterations. For the pattern drafting, I mostly follow Donald McCunn’s “How to Make Your Own Sewing Patterns” (not sure I got the title exact). Then there is a book by Claudia Ein which teaches how to change things around on a working pattern, like sleeves, collars, dart, princess seams, etc. And one more book I picked up which taught me how to make my own patterns from ready-to-wear clothing (just lay them down and copy them). Anyway, it is all through trial and error. Lots of error. ;) And small successes, of course. That keeps me going.

    As for when I sew… whenever I can! Love, Wardee

  9. haniyajenan says:

    You look absolutely wonderful! Thank you so much for helping me on my dress. I Love You!


    Thank you, sweet A.. I think your dress is turning out so lovely. Love, Mama

  10. Martha Bisharat says:

    My princess! You are beautiful! What a lovely fit and how stunning you look in your prairie dress! Love, Mom

  11. Little Black Car says:

    Actually, thanks for posting this; I needed some inspiration! I’ve been tossing reenacting dress patterns around for awhile and haven’t been able to make up my mind. The advertising picture for this one is such a double-punch of garish color and terrible fit that I was having a hard time warming up to it, even though the dress, in theory, is pretty much what I want. Your version is vastly better. Now that I’ve looked at it again, I think I can make it look a lot better with some minor alterations.


  1. […] examples can be seen at Such Treasures (also heavily altered); Jengerbread Creations (mostly unaltered); and Ms. Catnip Kitty (dress 1 and […]

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