As part of an experiential history class, my daughter and I participated in a reenactment of Pioneer time in California. Parent volunteers, teachers, and students had to wear period costumes from 1846. A generous parent donated her “test” adult pioneer woman costume to me. So at least, I did not have to spend any money on fabrics and notions. I found on my notion basket an old long zipper (22 inches long) that I bought at a thrift store a long time ago and it turned out the color matched the fabric. Phew! So I did very few tweaks to this outfit.
I have used Simplicity pattern #3723 for adult women (if you want to sew this for your child, there is a girls size version, Simplicity #3726).
The original outfit donated was model A which had a high closed neck. I opted for model D, which has an inset piece that you insert in the middle of the bodice. I had a matching fabric remnant so I completely unstitched the original costume, ripped the bodice off the skirt, and used the pattern bodice for model D. I redrafted the front bodice split in two princess seam pieces, and added the inset.
This is what the bodice alterations looked like:
It was pretty easy. Then I had to restitch the sleeves and I realized that the original ruffled sleeves were going to be a hazard. I had to teach how to make candles and had to stand up in front of a boiling hot cauldron, dipping loads of wicks, so these ruffled sleeves were not going to be safe. I had a leftover picot edge and I added to the end of the sleeve to embellish it a bit:
This is the finished product… not too bad… just had to pinch it on the shoulders as they were too large. Did not have time for more fitting. So here it goes!
The last part was sewing the apron and bonnet. Put on my motorcycle boots and ready to go!
Other patterns that may work really well for girl/women pioneer era costumes are:
McCalls Costumes 8335 Women Sizes
McCalls Costumes 9423 Women Sizes
McCalls Costumes 9424 Girl Sizes
Simplicity Costume Adult Men 4923
Simplicity 4762 Man and boy vest and neck wrap appropriate for 1840 period
McCalls Costumes M4952 Kids (can use to make pirate style blouse, vest, pants and waist band)
Simplicity 2741 Adult size for men’s vest and no collar shirt/blouse