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Baby Boy Blessing Outfit

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Octavius Blessing 1 The Prudent Homemaker

Since we blessed Octavius in September, I thought short sleeves would be in order.

I used the same pattern as I used to make a blessing outfit for Cyrus and Ezrom.

This time, I used a linen and cotton blend fabric that I bought several years ago (at 40% off).

Octavius Blessing 4 The Prudent Homemaker

For the bodice, I cut a piece of fabric longer and wider than I needed. I then marked and sewed the tucks  and sewed the lines with a wing needle.  I then traced an "O" (from here) on with a wash-out marking pen and embroidered it with pearl cotton. (I love using pearl cotton for white work; it's easier than using embroidery thread as there are no strands to pull apart. The thread is about the width of 2 strands of embroidery thread, which is perfect for whitework.)

Then I pinned on the bodice pattern piece and cut it out from the prepared fabric.

If you've never used a washable embroidery marker before, I highly recommend them; they work especially well for embroidery as you don't rub off the design when stitching like you would with a chalk pencil. You need to rinse out all of the blue with plain water before the item is washed (any remaining blue will turn brown and become permanent when it is washed with soap). 

I modified the collar to change it to an Eton style.

Octavius Blessing 2 The Prudent Homemaker

The entire outfit, including the buttons and snap tape, cost about $10 to make.

 Octavius Blessing 3 The Prudent Homemaker




Tagged in: Baby Sewing
Last modified on

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 1 The Prudent Homemaker

Note: This post contains affiliate links. 

My 14-year-old daughter, Winter, has been working on a sewing project for the last couple of months.

She participated in a Pioneer handcart trek, and everyone was supposed to dress for the time period. This is a living history event where groups of people recreate a Mormon pioneer handcart trek across the plains. Many Mormons crossed with handcarts instead of covered wagons from the 1840's to 1860's.

 Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 6 The Prudent Homemaker

Winter has been researching period clothing and underclothing, down to the smallest details (including what kind of buttons were used). The more she learned, the more determined she was to sew something accurate. Having studied and modeled historical clothing myself (I used to model for a historian while I was a university student), I have a strong love of historical clothing. I wanted her to make something accurate, but I didn't want her to feel obligated to do so. Seeing her get excited on her own about the project the more she studied what people actually wore during the period thrilled me. 


Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 9 The Prudent Homemaker

She used old sheets to sew the split drawers, the corded petticoat, the second petticoat, her chemise and her corset.

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek Drawers The Prudent Homemaker

She edged the chemise sleeves and the drawers with a bit of lace that I had in my stash (which I'm pretty sure came from my grandmother or my mother-in-law's stash).

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek corset The Prudent Homemaker

The corset boning is actually zip ties, with the buckle part cut off. They were just the right size and less expensive than boning, and about the same stiffness. She sewed the holes for lacing it by hand, using a buttonhole stitch.  She laced it using a method called spiral lacing, which she says is easier to lace by one's self. At this period in time, the corset was more of a support garment. Winter says it is really comfortable, and she loves the back support it gives her. 

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 5 The Prudent Homemaker 

The corded petticoat is two layers of fabric, with cording (she used a thin cotton yarn for the cording) sewn in between. The more cording  in the petticoat, the fuller it is. It was amazing to see how the petticoat stood out more and more as she sewed in each section of cording, just like a hoop skirt. In doing her research for the project, Winter learned that precorded fabric was available to purchase for women of the era, but she did not have that option. She also learned that in the 1850's, when hoops became more common, that women still wore a corded petticoat over their hoops. The corded petticoat goes on first, with all other petticoats on top. A nice feature of the corded petticoat that Winter discovered is that the corded petticoat means plenty of air flow, as it keeps your skirts away from your legs.

She made stockings, using some jersey knit I had on hand. She tied them up with ribbons from my ribbon box.

She also made and embroidered several handkerchiefs.

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 4 The Prudent Homemaker

The dress itself was made with a cotton plaid that she bought at Hobby Lobby for $3.49 a yard. She used this Laughing Moon 1840's pattern (view A). The measurements for the dress are taken over underclothing, so she made the dress after making all of her underclothes.

She made her piping using the same yard as cording.  She made bias tape for her piping using this tutorial and a bias tape maker.

This is the first dress that Winter has ever sewn. She learned several new techniques making this project, including cording, making bias tape, making piping, covering buttons, making pintucks, cartridge pleating, regular pleating, flatlining, making a mock-up, and adjusting and following a pattern.

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 3 The Prudent Homemaker 

She made her apron and collar using unbleached muslin from my stash (inherited from my grandmother's stash). You can purchase unbleached muslin from Joann's in the quilting section. 

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 2 The Prudent Homemaker


The straw bonnet is quite amazing. She used this pattern to make the hat. She first started with a straw hat that she bought at the thrift store for $2. It had lace hot glued onto it that she removed before she unstitched the hat.

Straw Hat Before 

She then cut the straw braids and sewed them together into the new hat, before lining it with buckram and pleated muslin. She tied it on with a brown satin ribbon from my ribbon box.

 Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 7 The Prudent Homemaker

To keep her cool, I ordered her a wooden folding fan that she can keep in the pocket of her dress. She also made a large bandana--more like a shawl--from an old sheet to tie around her neck. She took a Sammy cool n'dry with her that she said was very effective in keeping her cool (we use them at home and they are wonderful). 

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek Silhouette The Prudent Homemaker

The project has been fun for her (it was all her idea!). It's been fun for me, too, to watch her confidence in her sewing abilities increase, even as she had to use the seam ripper to take seams out and fix things again. What I see now is that she feels like she can sew anything!

Winter Pioneer Handcart Trek 8 The Prudent Homemaker

If you're looking to make clothing from the same time period, here are some of the tutorials and patterns she used:


Seamed stocking tutorial

Split drawers tutorial

Chemise tutorial

Corset tutorial

Corded petticoat tutorial

Bonnet pattern and Lining Inspiration The bonnet can also be made from cloth.

Dress pattern

Apron tutorial

Bias tape tutorial and bias tape maker

Fan (purchased)

Brown Plaid fabric


Additional Reading:

The Transitional Dilemma: Dressing Teen Girls

Quick and Easy Way to Mark Cartridge Pleats

Buttoning Down the Past: A Look at Buttons as Indicators of Chronology and Material Culture

Winter also searched online for photos of women and teens from the 1840's, which helped her ultimately decide on several aspects of her project, including the fabric she chose. Here is her Pinterest board for the time period.

She has already planned several other ways that she can use her dress, including volunteering in some local elementary schools to go into classrooms and read works from an author from that time period (Louisa May Alcott!)



Tagged in: Sewing Winters Sewing
Last modified on

New Aprons

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Note: This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.

French Script Apron The Prudent Homemaker

The sewing for myself is always the last sewing to get done.

I wear an apron often--while cooking, while canning, while baking, while doing dishes, and often while gardening.

French Script Apron Detail The Prudent Homemaker

I've made my old aprons last a few more years than I had planned (sewing new aprons has been on my to-do list for that long!), but now it's really time for some replacements. I bought the fabric a while ago:  grey cotton duck from Fabric.com. bought on a Black Friday sale, and some printed cotton duck (of a thinner type) that I purchased at Hobby Lobby, and drop cloth (bought at Lowe's). The printed French script fabric was one I'd seen on Etsy, in a few different variations of colors, and I was rather excited to see it at Hobby Lobby. I liked several of the variations on Etsy, but Hobby Lobby had only one color option, which made the choice easy--plus it was on sale at 30% off.

I'll use the patterned one for baking, and the grey one for washing dishes, cooking, and canning. The grey cloth is thicker, so I'll be more likely to stay dry while washing dishes at the sink. I think I'll reach for the drop cloth one while cooking and baking.

Bee Apron The Prudent Homemaker

I thought I would have a bit of fun with the grey one, so I decided to embroider a wreath and a bee on it.

Bee Apron Detail The Prudent Homemaker

The wreath comes from this book, which is in the public domain, and the bee pattern is one I purchased here. I drew these on with a water-soluable marking pen before I stitched them, and rinsed it out when I was done sewing.

Rather than using embroidery thread, I chose to embroider the grey one with a single strand of pearl cotton, which means I never had to separate embroidery threads. For whitework, I've come to really prefer using pearl cotton for this reason. It's about the same thickness as a double strand of cotton floss.

For a pattern, I copied an apron that I already owned, but there are a ton of free apron patterns online. A quick search on Pinterest will yield you more options that you need.

Grain Sack Apron The Prudent Homemaker

For the grain sack look, I sewed striped ribbon down the front of my drop cloth apron. Actual grain sacks can be pricey. This gave me a much less expensive option.

These are really fast to make--only about an hour and a half each (not counting the embroidery). I love the simple style and practicality of these. They're also inexpensive to make, using a yard of 58" wide fabric each. The most expensive one to make was $7 (the French script one).

 Some other aprons that I've made: Polka Dot Apron, Bird, Eiffel Tower, and London Aprons


Linking to:

Stone Gable

Tweak it Tuesday

Inspire Me Tuesday

Two Uses Tuesday

Wow Us Wednesdays

Moonlight and Mason Jars

Wednesday Roundup


Tagged in: Sewing
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Cinderella Photo Shoot

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 Cinderella Sweeping The Prudent Homemaker

On Monday I received a phone call from a friend. Her nephew is a fashion design student and had a photo shoot

lined up the next day, but his photographer had just cancelled. She asked if I wanted to come and take pictures with her.

The location was Lake Las Vegas. I'd seen pictures, but I had never been there, and I've always wanted to check it out for photos.

The location didn't disappoint! We got there in the afternoon and it was almost completely empty.

The student, a freshman, made the dresses. In a Gone With the Wind meets Cinderella twist, most of the dresses were made from old curtains. For those of you who are thinking to make some formal dresses for your daughter's upcoming formal dances, check out the thrift store for old curtains that can be repurposed to make dresses.

Scrubbing the Steps The Prudent Homemaker

Stepsisters Full length dresses The Prudent Homemaker

 Stepsisters Gossiping The Prudent Homemaker

 Stepsister Blue Dress Bodice The Prudent Homemaker

Stepsister Blue Dress The Prudent Homemaker

Stepsister Red Dress Bodice The Prudent Homemaker

Step-sisters dresses from behind The Prudent Homemaker

Cinderellla White Dress The Prudent Homemaker

Cinderella White Dress Bodice The Prudent Homemaker

Dancing in the Garden with Stepsisters in the background The Prudent Homemaker

Dancing in the Garden 4 The Prudent Homemaker

Dancing in the Garden 1 The Prudent Homemaker

Dancing in the Garden 3 Sepia The Prudent Homemaker

Dancing in the Garden 2 The Prudent Homemaker

Stroke of Midnight The Prudent Homemaker

Losing the Shoe Sepia The Prudent Homemaker

Fighting Over the Shoe The Prudent Homemaker

Stepsister Trying on the shoe blue dress The Prudent Homemaker

Stepsister Trying on the Shoe red dress The Prudent Homemaker

The Shoe Fits The Prudent Homemaker

The Other Slipper The Prudent Homemaker

Tagged in: Sewing
Last modified on

A Gift a Day 2014: Day Eight: Pajamas

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Boys Pajamas 2 The Prudent Homemaker

Ezrom has been asking me for some traditonal-style pajamas for Christmas, so this gift is straight from his wish list.




Pellon Iron-on interfacing

4 Buttons



Pattern (I used Butterick B5586)



Sewing machine


Sewing pins


 Boys Pajamas The Prudent Homemaker


It took me 6 hours to make a pair of pajamas, including cutting them out. I think it should be less, but I had a lot of interruptions, which meant this gift took me a week to complete! If you've got 4-6 hours of interrrupted time, you can make these in a day. I sewed all of the seams with French seams, which also lengthens the time.


$1.50 for this pair.

I was given some flannel that I used for this pair. I bought the elastic in bulk from Wawak. The buttons were from my button jar (cut from old worn clothing).

I bought the pajama pattern a couple of years ago online (I tried for several years to buy this pattern when the patterns go on sale, but the store was always out, so I bought it from Butterick's website). I'll use it for several pairs of pajamas, so I would put the cost for the pattern at $1.25 for this pair--though it could be less, depending on how many pairs I eventually make with the pattern. 

If you would like to make some pajamas, flannel will be on sale at Joann's starting Wednesday.November 26th,  at 6 a.m.  It will be 75% off. This is a once a year price, and the lines will be long. I recommend getting there early, and if there is already a line at the cutting counter, getting a ticket right away so that you don't spend 3 hours in line at the cutting counter. Solid flannel will be $1.49 a yard, and prints will be $1.79 a yard. 

Pellon interfacing will also be on sale. It will be $2.99 for the bolt (regular $7.99). From past experience, I can tell you that you might have to be there before 6:20 a.m. to get any, as they never have enough of these. I bought 3 bolts 3 years ago on sale like this, and I used some of that to make this pair.

All buttons will be buy one-get one free.

Fabric.com will also have Black Friday sales, but I haven't yet heard what those will be.

Wawak, where I buy elastic in a big roll, also will have Black Friday sales. Again, I don't know what these will be, but it could also cut down your cost on elastic, as well as buttons (their buttons are less expensive than those at Joann's).

Did you make any gifts today? What did you make?


Tagged in: A Gift A Day Sewing
Last modified on

Winter's Birthday Gifts

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We started Winter's birthday last week with presents at breakfast. That's not how we have done things in the past, but I loved this change and it might occur a lot more often at our house.

I did a silver and white theme using the back side of some green wrapping paper to wrap a gift in white. I used some silver paper that came as part of the packaging from the first One King's Lane order I ever made (I had been saving it)--which interestingly enough was for those two silver mint julep cups that I have on the table (your first order gives you $15 off, which made those possible in the first place!) I wrapped a silver bow around her gifts that I had saved from a package that we received before (I save all pretty ribbons that are given to us and use them to wrap gifts and sometimes for the girls' hair. The black satin ribbon in my Gift a Day series introduction was on a bridal shower gift I received. I've used it several times, including to tie around a simple grocery store bunch of flowers on my wedding day).

I put some paper doilies under the breakfast plates (we were given a huge box of them; I will most likely do this again), used the white napkins that I spruced up for Thanksgiving with my machine hemstitch, and used some more of the pine cones that my children gathered recently to top the place settings.

I made a lace doily bunting to hang from doilies and ribbon that my mother-in-law gave to me a few years ago.

The present on the top was this jewelry that I made for her.

The present at the bottom was this dress that I made for her last week.

The dress is a combination of two patterns (and it appears that the main one is no longer available). The dress pattern was sleeveless; I added the sleeve from another pattern from the same company.

The brown velvet came from some scraps that were given to me a few years ago.

The floral fabric is something that I had purchased a few years ago for myself. It is a home décor fabric that I found on a huge clearance and was able to use an additional discount on as well (I believe it ended up being around $5 a 60" wide yard!) I still have lots left to use for myself. I washed it on gentle and hung it to dry and it did fine, so I knew it would be okay for clothing.

The buttons were vintage buttons from my button jar. These came from another woman's button jar that she gave to me a few years ago. The thread was from the huge box of thread that I purchased at a garage sale a few years ago for 25 cents for the entire box.
The cost of the dress was about $8, not including the cost of the pattern, which was about $14 with shipping. I'll use it for several dresses (I cut under the pattern so that I can use it for multiple sizes), so that cost will decrease over time as I use it to make more dresses. I already have two more ideas for it for spring and summer.
She was very happy to wear her new dress to church today!
Tagged in: Birthdays Gifts Sewing
Last modified on

Spring Gardening



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