My Material Life

Gold Rush Dress

mml gold rush dress

I was so busy with the pokes that I didn’t give much thought to what to wear for fourth grade gold rush day until a couple of days before the event.  Luckily I had a fair amount of sewing time on Thursday and I was able to crank out this dress for Samantha as well as a pioneer skirt and apron for me.  As I look back I’m kind of surprised that all this sewing to do the day before I needed it didn’t even phase me.  Somehow I think that all the hours I’ve logged as a Project Runway viewer have made me a faster sewer and maybe just a little overconfident about what I can complete in a short amount of time.

I am so pleased with this dress (and with Samantha’s reaction when she saw it for the first time).  It was perfect for gold rush day and all of its activities – things like square dancing, music making, eating, and catching up with old friends.  But this wasn’t the first time I’d made this dress.

Easter 2008 was the first time I made it.  I tried to buy another pattern for gold rush with the fabric I found at Hancock, but I put it back when I realized they wanted to charge me full price for it.  Then I remembered this pattern.  I’d always figured I could make a pattern bigger if I needed to, and indeed, I could.

mml pattern extension

If you look at this pattern piece you can see that the incremental increases for sizing are equal.  This pattern stops at a size 4 and I needed a size 10, so I needed to increase this piece by 6 sizes.  To do that I measured the distance between the multiple side cutting lines shown on the pattern.  Let’s say the distance between size 1/2 and size 4 on this pattern piece (4 sizes) was 2″.  Since I need to increase the pattern by 6 sizes I would take that distance for 4 sizes (2″) and multiply it by 1.5 to get the distance for a 6-size increase (3″).  Pellon Tru-Grid, a straight edge, a ruler and a marking device are all useful tools for this.

You can see the brown felt markings on my cutting mat from where I was using my buttonhole cutter on my poke pieces.  Well, about those pokes.  Turns out the company that provided our gold panning (we outsourced that activity) used these teeny, tiny glass vials for the kids to hold their “gold” and some of these vials slipped out of the pokes.  So maybe socks would have been better after all?  But gosh those pokes looked good and they held candy from the General Store really well.

The dress pattern I used is no longer available from Simplicity (though you can find it on Ebay and Etsy).  I used tutorials from the Buns and Baskets blog (thank you Buns and Baskets) to make my own pioneer skirt (pleated instead of gathered) and apron.



    You are simply the best mother EVER – – – my oh my if I could turn back the clock and ask you to help me with all those school costumes my kids suffered through – – bravo Colleen!

    • Oh but I’m not! I don’t think I’ve ever made her a costume before. And she hates the color of her bedroom (she thinks I figured that she was just a baby when I chose it and wouldn’t care how awful it was). I am so unmotivated to paint it, but she’s right – it is awful! Thanks though 🙂

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