Wednesday, August 22, 2012

my pioneer dress... a very random post.

This blog encourages me to do random things. 
Like dressing up in my pioneer dress on a regular day. You would do it too if you had a pioneer dress. (right?) My husband walked in the door while I was cooking dinner, and I was wearing it. He just looked at me and laughed. He has come to expect random from me. I requested that he and the children refer to me as "ma" for the rest of the night. (actually that's a joke).

Why does one need a prairie/pioneer outfit? I did grow up in South Dakota, where you might expect to see an outfit like this, ok not really, but by the time I was 13 the mall actually got its first Old Navy and Gap, so we were off the hook as far as prairie dresses were concerned. Random fact- I have visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder homestead. It is in De Smet, South Dakota.

The actual reason I have a prairie dress... my mom and I made it when I was 15. Our church youth group visited a historic place in Wyoming, (called Martin's Cove and Independence Rock), and re-encated what it was like to be a pioneer. We followed the trail which the pioneers forged. It was a very cool event for me as a teenager, and I only wish I had digital pictures to show you. Just picture me with mudpies smeared all over my face, because that really did happen. Mudpie fights are gross. It was also one of the many times I fell in love with Troy (who is now my husband). A bunch of kids out on the prairie dancing to the light of a bonfire, pushing handcarts, and walking for miles. It was very special.

So what does this have to do with anything? Well, first off, this is pretty much the first sewing project I was ever involved in. My mom did most of the work, since I was clueless, but I remember helping to cut out the pattern. I had no appreciation for sewing back then. Looking at the dress's precise, neat work, I have a sincere respect for my mom. She is talented! It wasn't until I moved away for college that I became interested in sewing. But even still, my mom was/is a great example to me, and I'm grateful she shared her love and ability of sewing with me... and that I eventually caught on!

(in case you're wondering, my 6 year old took these pictures of me. my neighbors must think we're strange!)

(i was pleasantly surprised that i still fit into this dress. its been sitting in my hope chest for 15 years! my body has shifted since then, but apparently i'm doomed to be a shortie for the rest of my life. perhaps i should have ironed the apron)!


This is my ma and pa. I think they're pretty adorable. They went on the same trek again this summer with our Church group. So I am borrowing these pics from my mama's facebook page. Funny thing- I sewed that apron for her years ago for Christmas. :)

I'm sharing this today because it is a project I made with my mom, and I treasure the memories. To me, there is no better way to bond with someone than by teaching and sharing your skills and passions. Sewing, quilting, cooking, etc are dying arts and I am so grateful to have my mom (and mother-in-law and grandmothers) in my life to learn from. I also hope to pass down my love of things handmade to my children.

If you have a post similar to this, aka something you have made with a child, parent, friend, sibling, neighbor, you are invited to enter it in the contest I am hosting! It is called Cre8 + 2 = Me and You contest. It doesn't matter when it was made. If you have a picture, and can tell us about it, you are invited to enter! This is the last week... the judges and I will be selecting the winners in just a few days. To read all about it and/or enter... click here!

I love you mama!!! xoxo
ps- One more fond memory... my older sister was making her pioneer dress at the same time. She did a lot more of the sewing than I did. She actually sewed her pantaloons. But when she pulled them off the sewing machine to get a look at them, she realized she has sewed them completely wrong. They looked like pantaloons for a clown. We will never forget her reaction, "Oh... this is not good. Not good at all." We rolled on the floor laughing until we cried.


  1. your dog looks like a little lamb in that first picture!

  2. oh! i should have said.... i wish that were our dog, she is so sweet. we are actually just dog sitting her! :)

  3. I'm totally impressed that you can still wear a dress you wore at age 15, three kids later! :-)

    Loved this post! Your parents are the cutest.

  4. I enjoyed this post and your appreciation of your mom's talents. And because I like to really study other people's photographs, I have to tell you, I did notice the care taken with the covered buttons, centering the pretty flower on each button!!

  5. Perfect Pioneer post. I love your sewing project from your youth. I just went on Trek with our youth this summer and need to post about it still. I grew up in Gillette Wyoming and always wanted to do the Trek at Martin's Cove (I went to the dedication) but was in college when it opened so I've been pining to go ever since. We went on a trek near Evanston but it was still an amazing experience. I even wore my grandma's bonnet and apron she made.

  6. What a great story Rachel. You are so much fun! I bought a really nice pioneer dress and bonnet at a rummage sale. Maybe I will surprise my husband too!

  7. I enjoyed this post a lot! Thank you for sharing about Trek and sewing with your mom and the funny jokes about your fam calling you "ma". I sewed a lot of these outfits for the girls in our wards here and can't wait for my kids to go on Trek. And my husband and I to go as a Ma & Pa one year, we hope! Love the dress - it was very nicely done and I noticed the centered flower on the covered buttons too! It's nice to know such love went into it - I hope to leave that for my kids too.

  8. haha, very cute! I totally thought the dog was a lamb also, really fits in the scene! I love your bonnet, I wish they would come back.

  9. Wow...!!!Awesome!! What a beautiful dress!!!Love to try something like this.

  10. Trek = happy memories!
    Thanks for sharing yours....

  11. What great memories! Your dress is awesome! I love to go to the local civil war reenactment each year and see the whole village in costume.
    I just finished a pincushion that is on my blog, I made it using one of my Mom's doilies. We didn't make them together but combined them in the end.
    I'm visiting from the Friday Fun Party.
    Terrie @

  12. I can't believe you can fit into that dress. I feel inspired to get mine out and see if I can squeeze myself into it. BTW, that was my third attempt at sewing the pantaloons... and it was not good. Mom wouldn't even let me pick them out and fix them. She kept them and pulls them out on occasion just for a good laugh. :-)

  13. That dress is super cute. I have quite the obsession with all things Laura Ingalls Wilder. I've to the museum in Mansfield, MO!

  14. This makes me smile and miss my own mother! I have MANY a dress she made for me in high school for plays and musicals. Sadly I am much larger now and would not even begin. To fit into them! LOL

  15. I cracked up laughing so many times while reading this post . . . for several reasons 1) Pioneer dress envy. Mom sewed one for me for a school play when I was 10. I might have to search for it when I go home next weekend. Although I stopped growing at 11, I'm not sure I'm gonna make it into that thing. We'll see. 2) We should probably wear bonnets everyday. 3) These are stellar 6 year-old photography skills. 4) Hiking in an apron with pockets is genius - period themed hike or not - any excuse to wear an apron. Great post!!!!

  16. I think I saw a little lamb in the first photo :D
    Pioneer dress is so cute~~ I think I even see a milk bucket somewhere :D
    love quotes


Thanks for your comment. Have a great day!
♥Rach H