Hot! The “Prairie Godmother” Dress | Veronica Darling

P1070615The Facts

Fabric: Vintage curtain offcut, thrifted, $1
Pattern: Advance 4875, free, on loan from Amanda in Adelaide
Year: 1940s
Notions: vintage zipper, 10c
Time to complete: 3 hours
First worn: August for the photos
Wear again? Maybe

Total Cost: $1.10

Oh what a pleasant week for me *gritted teeth*! How wonderful that everything came together exactly how I'd planned *punches wall*! I finally finished this week's theme, by a horse's hair & by a cat's whisker, and ACTUALLY it's not too bad. But certainly NOT what I set out to make, but I did have a Prairie Godmother looking over me! LOLZ!

Get ready to skim read, as I've got a lot of explaining to do! Smack bang in the middle of the last two themes, I went interstate to work on a Music Festival. I had planned prior to going away to make up my Western outfit something with YOKES. For yokes rule in western clothes, in my opinion! I've made some lovely yoked shirts for my Husbie before, so it wouldn't be too hard for myself?

RIGHT?! Dazzled once again by the fabric shop (I had to make a special costume to take to the festival for work; a cape with shiny satin for a prize winner), I picked up some floppy black knit fabric that was super cheap because there was a half price sale on at Lincraft. With thrifty confusion, I started sewing this knit fabric in my Yoke 1975 shirt and almost got to the neckline facing (the arms, yoke and collar were almost done) when I realised it was the yuckest thing I'd ever made. EVER! It was not only oversized, but the floppy material started to be bunchy and somehow those cool floppy 'gathers' were just bunches all around the boobs, and the yokes (front and back) looked HIDEOUS on me. And this was all the night before I was to depart for Queensland.

I had also planned to take photos up there, because it was quite dusty and 'outback' looking for the Western theme (it would have been perfect!), plus I often wear my cowboy boots when I'm working anyways. Disastrous ruin: how could I take my photos with nothing finished!!!??? I chopped the floppy knit shirt up, made a fitted skirt (as back up), but left for Queensland totally confused and honestly wondering if I'd pull through.


I returned to Melbourne with all that dust from the music festival settled and I jumped upon this easy 1940s pattern & the strange but nice "flora and fauna" like fabric in my stash. I've made the dress up before, and knew it was a quickie, but at the last minute I added brown lining (from the stash) for the bodice (which I made up the same way as the Colette Rooibos – the best way for side zipped bodices IMO) which added an extra hour.

Simple fabrics like calico are also quite western right? I started thinking dusty, and about beiges and how there were so many neutral colours in western films and photos (or was that because photographs were sepia?). I honestly can't remember when I picked up this curtain offcut (maybe someone changed houses and kept the top part, and gave the bottom/hemmed section to the op shop?) The skirt unfortunately isn't full enough for a prairie skirt, but maybe Calamity Jane or one of those ye olde Western babes might be game enough to wear something like this. Once again, I think I had not even 2 metres by 2 metres to work with, so I'm surprised it is kinda wearable and how the pattern on the fabric came up ok. Without the belt, you can see the bird's head. I love a good pattern/fabric placement, but I forgot about it by the time I took the photos!


That's my supermodel ye olde pose above y'all, if you haven't noticed! I will have to reconsider the length, for me to wear it again (and how will I ever ride those horses in such a get up?!) and for some reason the bodice is a lot bigger than last time I made it up. Too much drama and trouble for me this week, I honestly just soldiered on so I'd make it here in time!


I feel a little like the housebound wifey in a Western film in these photos, a little dumpy and bored, and waiting for my Husbie to get home and do the dishes. Oh! No, that's actually true, my Husbie's away for work and I'm just terrible at housework!

Hope you're well this week, and that you overlooked my weird zipper that for some reason doesn't go up all the way? (Another thing to fix!)


Veronica Darling

Veronica Darling has been sewing well for about 4 years, blogging for 5 years and smiling for over 33 years. In 2011, she joined Mena's Sew Weekly in sewing through the year, and in 2012 will keep challenges slightly smaller in scale.


Comments are closed.

  1. Your job always sounds awesome. I have always tried to guess where you work, now I’m pretty sure I’ve guessed right.
    Dress looks great. If I didn’t know you had all that drama I wouldn’t have known. The fabric looks kinda oriental but here in victoria the Chinese came here in massive numbers during the gold rush in the 1840’s and 1850’s. Melbourne’s China Town is the oldest in the world (I read that on one of the pillars at the entrances so it might be a little bit bulls**t). So if you hadn’t said you weren’t totally sure about it I would have guessed that was the general direction you had gone in.
    Who says “country” has to be American from a certain time period anyway?

  2. Yay! The Advance pattern! The green version is one of my all-time favourites and this one is just gorgeous as well. I hope you change the “maybe” wear again to “yes because it used to be curtains and now it is a cute dress with birds on it!” I love how you’ve styled the dress – it definitely looks prairie chic :)
    I hope you’re taking care of yourself after such a hectic week (the cape looked great by the way!) and overcoming a hitch in your sewing plans. I recommend a nice glass of white wine paired with puppy and/or husband cuddles xx

  3. margueritedesigns

    Beautiful and I love your location too with all that lacey ironwork.

  4. I was thinking of you this week knowing you were doing Splendour and wondering how this little pocket rocket was going to manage everything, you poor thing and you did it!! I knew you would even if things didn’t go to plan. Your dress looks great and blends in just perfectly with your surroundings the fabric is just darling. Prairie chic awesomeness.
    I’m terrible at house work too, a clean house is a sign of a wasted life… we have great husbies hehe
    Any highlights from Splendour?

  5. You’ve created a beautiful dress especially considering how busy you’ve been. I think you look fabo. I’m inspired to find some bird encrusted curtains and some very cool boots.

  6. Beautiful dress and I love the boots and that porch is so charming.

  7. What FANTASTIC fabric! I love this dress!

  8. For a last minute fix that dress looks great. I really like the pattern on the fabric. If you had had more time to perfect the fit this would be a stunner, even so I still think you look awesome!

  9. This curtain fabric is so cute! Its an unexpected pairing with the pattern, and looks adorable. Perfect for a fall festival out in some field. I love it.

  10. I love the dress! The things you apologize for I’m not even ready to try! The fabric is gorgeous, and such a surprising choice–in a way that worked out really well. How is it possible that the project was completed for $1.10?

  11. Oh Miss Veronica, you’re too much! I love the last little bit about the zipper. The fabric is really lovely and I’ll bet with about an extra hour spent on it, someday it will be just as ship-shape as it was meant to be.

  12. Thank you Kate! I hadn’t even considered an oriental vibe, but can’t avoid it now! It’s like the Gold Rush ‘out west’ dress! Yay, so it’s a little Australian after all! So funny that so many stuff ups can actually be wonderful!

  13. If I get a bit of time to fix it up, I’ll hopefully get into it again!
    Husbie and Pup have officially be over-cuddled! Luckily the man came back earlier than expected too, so all is well.
    xoxo Thanks again for sharing your lovely pattern Amanda!

  14. Thank you! It’s my front verandah/porch, but unfortunately overlooked the noisy railway tracks :( it would be so tranquil outside of the city! xoxo

  15. Pocket Rocket is my nickname through and through this week! Thanks so much Kazz, lovely seeing this positive reaction by y’all (hee hee!).
    I didn’t get out to see much at Splendour (working at the backstage radio bit for most of the time!) but did see awesome performances by Kanye, Pulp and Friendly Fires… oh and Architecture in Helsinki as well! YAY! xoxo

  16. Thank you darling! I forgot to point out the real ‘dust’ on my cowboy boots, as I did wear them all weekend at the music festival!

  17. Thank you Rae on all counts!

  18. Thank you Erin, I find the fabric really unusual compared to my other thrifted stash! xoxo

  19. Thank you Maria, I will tweak it a little and see what comes of it. I really love the bodice (especially that sleeve!), so fingers crossed.

  20. It’s quite ‘harvest-esque’ and there’s a music festival coming up near Melbourne of the same name! Maybe I can fix it up in time for that one! Thanks Lizzy!

  21. I should remember we’re all at different sewing stages! Thanks Rebecca, you’ll be able to try new things, that’s why I use thrifted fabrics, it’s cheaper and I can deal with a $1.10 mistake. However this $1.10 will be worn again, if I fix it up ok! xoxo

  22. LOL! Thank you Lisette! I actually saw the photo and then went back to the dress, and was like, how did I not notice the zipper does go all the way up. Oh well, I’ll go back and fix it! xoxo

  23. I do like the soft colours of this dress – such a great pattern too. Three cheers for friends who lend them.

  24. This worked out so beautifully, sorry your week was so hectic. I love your fabric choice, lovely!

  25. Amanda is a superb lender of vintage patterns too! xoxo Thanks Jen!

  26. Things are a lot calmer at my place now :)
    Thank you Cathe!

  27. Veronica! That dress, those boots – I die! Love this outfit!