It is no secret among my sewing friends that the most frequent pattern I use is the Gloria by Peekaboo Patterns Shop. With three slender girls, it is helpful to be able to custom make comfortable knit play dresses for them.
I had initially planned on making this a full length dress since it is cooling off quickly where we live and the girls need warm clothes for church. However, I accidentally sucked part of the bodice into my serger blade and decided to make a peplum top since my girls wear leggings almost every day in the winter! I think it looks great on my pre-tween.
Last year, a friend from our local home school group told my daughters all about a festival her family attended in Walnut Grove, MN. We don’t travel much during the summer because it is a busy time for our family. We thought a weekend trip was in order for our little family. We decided to go to the Festival the 3rd and final weekend of the event.
We planned our trip relatively last minute (three weeks in advance) and we were able to secure the last campsite at a campground 16 miles away. Unfortunately, due to an inclement weather forecast, we cancelled the campsite and booked a hotel in Watertown, SD (two hours from Walnut Grove). Everyone we talked to in Walnut Grove prior to the festival was so helpful in helping us make the best available travel arrangements for our family. If you want to stay closer to Walnut Grove, make your camping or hotel plans well in advance.
The day of the Family Festival, we got in the car and arrived when it opened. The festival is in the middle of a city park and within walking distance of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum. There is no admission fee for the family festival, and many of the activities were free will offering to support the museum.
The Minnesota Interpretive Center was also there to share replicas of native handicrafts and games. It was a very fun, informative, and tactile booth for the kids.
We also visited woodworking, blacksmithing, and booths displaying handmade items for sale.
My favorite booth was the needlefelting booth. The exhibitor, Lynn Ehrke, also had an interesting display on pioneer cooking. Lynn Ehrke also does the pioneer cooking at Laura Days in Pepin, WI.
Since the event was in the city park, the children (especially my little boy) had fun playing in between demonstrations. There was fair food available and we supplemented with a cooler of sandwiches and drinks to keep our costs lower.
The fair was busy but not overwhelming. Many vendors and demonstrators told me that the third week is always the quietest. If you have a large family, you might want to consider that when making your travel plans.
Throughout the day, we also attended reenactment demonstrations by Laura reenactor, Sarah Uthoff. Her demonstrations were very informative and engaging with lots of audience participation.
After lunch, my daughters got dressed in their Laura Ingalls costumes for the Laura Lookalike contest. From my research, many of the Laura Festivals around the country, have lookalike contests. The contest in Walnut Grove judges the girls based on costume, knowledge of “On the Banks of Plum Creek” and overall presentation. The contest is for ages 8-12, so my younger daughter could not enter this year, but is looking forward to entering in the future.
At registration, they even had me fill out an address label so they could mail me the local paper after the event. I cannot stress enough how kind and friendly the organizers of the Festival are.
My daughter had the idea a week before the Festival to dress up her 1 yo sister as Baby Carrie. Yes, this means I sewed another Perfect Peasant. I turned a Bluebell Bonnet that I had made earlier in the summer inside out to white (the pattern is reversible).
I imagine you can guess what happened next based on the serial of photos… My daughter presented herself very well, and out of the 12 Laura contestants, she was awarded Laura Look-a-Like. I was very proud of her! I love the expression on her face during the interviews and contest. Just being in the event brought her so much joy, that the prize was just the icing on the cake!
After the contest, the babies were ready for a nap, so while they napped with my husband, the girls and I visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum. Even if you cannot travel to Walnut Grove during the Family Festival, it is definitely worth stopping to visit the museum. The exhibits are fabulous and the bookstore is amazing and filled with every book on Laura that you can imagine! My girls favorite exhibit was the hands-on exhibit at the end. They enjoyed playing in the general store with other kids.
After the museum, we grabbed some dinner at the community center to help support the local fire department. We then drove a couple of miles out of town to the site of the dugout that Ma and Pa Ingalls settled in. It has since caved in, but you can still climb on top of it. Most importantly, you can still wade into Plum Creek just like Laura and Mary did so many years ago.
We initially had not planned on staying until the evening since our hotel was 2 hours away. However, part of the Laura Lookalike Prize included a gift card for tickets to the Laura Ingalls Pageant show that evening. My daughter and the Nellie winner were introduced by the Pageant singers before the show, received a backstage tour of the production, and were cast as extras in a social scene in the second act. Unfortunately, for only the third time in the pageant’s history, thunder showers approached and the show was closed after the first act.
We look forward to returning to Walnut Grove in the future, and we recommend that other families with Laura-lovers, young and old, take the time to attend a Laura Festival near you.
Whether you are looking for Halloween inspiration or not, kids of all ages like to play dress up. One of the first chapter books our children read is Little House in the Big Woods. Both of our daughters (now 8 and 7) devoured the entire series. It wasn’t long before one of them requested that I make them Laura costumes to play Little House on the Prairie.
The girls accompanied me to Jo-Ann fabrics and picked their calico prints. We selected bleached muslin for an affordable pinafore.
For the dress, I decided to use the Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop Perfect Peasant dress. The Perfect Peasant dress is a great pattern for a beginner sewer and is very versatile. For the bonnet, we used the Bluebell Bonnet from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. I have made several Bluebell Bonnets and can’t wait to do a more detailed write-up on this pattern.
Finally, for the pinafore, I used a pinafore pattern I already had in my stash: The Storybook Pinafore by Tie-Dye Diva. I added a few inches length to the pinny, and finished the armholes with bias tape instead of flutter sleeves. If you have the Sugar and Spice from PAB, that has also been successfully modified into a pinafore.
I sewed the Perfect Peasant as drafted except for the skirt pieces. I measured the height of my daughter from shoulder to ankle, and compared it to the final finished length of the dress. I added several inches length to the skirt piece based on the difference in the length of the finished project and my desired longer length.
I started at a point at the top of my rectangle piece that matched the pattern instructions, and then flared it out to 41″ on the bottom. See picture below if that doesn’t make sense. Basically, I made the skirt an a-line. Please note that the skirt pictured below is cut on the fold.
I then used the piece I adjusted to cut out my second skirt piece. The top measurements of the skirt piece, match the pattern dimensions given. The bottom is significantly wider. This accommodates the stride for one walking in a floor length dress.
With our costumes completed, we decided to take a big weekend trip! Stay tuned for my next post to hear about our adventure to the Laura Ingalls Festival in Walnut Grove, MN.
Teaser photo: My oldest DD holding my youngest DD as Baby Carrie.
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The Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop released the Hyde Park Hoodie recently (9/10/15) (affiliate link). I am reposting this tutorial on 10/1/2015 since for some reason it does not appear on the homepage of the blog. The tutorial will still remain up in the tutorials section.
In my years of sewing patterns created by independent designers, I have never seen such anticipation of a pattern release! I was lucky enough to be chosen to test the pattern and I can honestly say it is my favorite thing I have ever made for myself.
I decided to use some red fleece from my stash, gray knit for the lining, and some gorgeous Monaluna Folk Flowers for my hood accent. The only mods I made to my first sew were adding 2″ of length to the pattern since I am 5’10”.
When it comes to Amy’s patterns, I have a hard time sewing just one. This pattern was no exception, and I headed to the fabric store the day after I finished my red vest.
Since I purchased a bit of extra yardage of this double layer quilted knit by Doodles, I decided to play around with my pattern pieces to make a collared version of the hoodie.
I followed the pattern (with 2″ length added like my red vest) and tutorial as written. The only update I made was to the hood pattern piece!
Would you like to make a Hyde Park with a shawl collar, too? (I have not used this method on any other patterns, but I believe it would work on many hooded options!)
An existing shawl collar if you have one you like. You can measure how deep your collar is and add seam allowance and use that as a starting point on your pattern piece.
Fabric : In my blue jacket, I used my outer fabric for both the main and the lining of my collar piece. Remember thickness and texture of your fabric will change the drape and you may want to adjust your pattern pieces if you are going for a specific look. In the gray jacket used in the tutorial, I used a drapey rib knit for the collar, and sweatshirt fleece in the body.
*Please note: my instructions are for merely assembling the collar. I attached my collar to my jacket before sewing in the lining to make sure I like the fit. I recommend basting your collar on after you have sewn on the zipper guard to make sure you like the fit. You then remove the collar, and reattach it as you would the hood in the Hyde Park Hoodie Pattern tutorial.*
Take your hood piece. For the blue jacket. I drew a line from where the Wonder Clip is in the right side of the pattern piece to where the Wonder Clip meets the left side of the pattern piece. 2. Your pattern piece will now resemble something like below. From the bottom left corner to the top left corner, my pattern piece (for the blue tester jacket) measured 6.25″. I gradually drew the line to meet the curve that already existed in the Hyde Park Hoodie pattern piece (size L). For my grey jacket, I wanted a deeper, drapier shawl collar, so I extended my pattern piece an inch along the curve. You may need to change the depth of your pattern piece based on your preferences and size sewn.
3. (not pictured) Cut out 2 left and 2 right pieces of your collar. For my grey jacket, I am using a drapey rib knit fabric. I selected this because it has thickness to make the collar have substance, but will also stretch nicely (my sweatshirt fleece has no stretch). I chose to cut all my fabric pieces the same as the shawl collar will have a natural roll and the underside may show.
4. Take 1 left and 1 right piece and sew RIGHT SIDES together along the short straight edge of the collar. I used a half inch seam allowance. You may trim if it is bulky. Repeat for other pair.
5. Match two collar pieces RIGHT SIDES together and sew along the curve using a stretch stitch. I pin my seams open before sewing along the curve. I used a 1/2″ seam allowance. I trim 1/4″ off after sewing. My seam was wavy so I ironed it smooth again.
8. Now you are going to basteyour collar on to make sure you like the fit before you line your jacket. You could do it later, but I prefer to do it here while everything is unlined in case I want to change anything else.