Pioneer Dress DIY- Little House on the Prairie Costume Part 1

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Ready to make a Prairie DressPioneer Dress or Little House on the Prairie Costume? About the time I was working on my youngest daughter’s costume and Halloween Ideas my second youngest daughter Krissy asked if I could make a prairie costume for my grand daughter Audrey. 

Prairie Dress DIY

Prairie Dress DIY See the pattern we used, get tips to make it easier to sew the prairie dress, bonnet and apron and other Little House on the Prairie Costume tips. Use this pioneer dress for Halloween, Pioneer Days or Old Fashion Days. #pioneerdays #littlehouseontheprairie #sewing #costumes #diy

They are reading through the Laura Ingalls Wilder books; Little House on the Prairie. I said I’d do a quick search and see what prairie patterns I could find to make her a Laura Ingalls Wilder Costume.

I hope these prairie dress costume diy and sewing tips help you when you are ready to make a pioneer dress costume. You can use this prairie girl costume for Halloween, Old Fashion Days and Pioneer Days…

Although this dress is for a girl the tips will help you when sewing any size prairie dress. 


Little House on the Prairie Costume_

How to Make a Prairie Dress 

It took one day for the prairie dress construction (layout, cutting and sewing) and one day for the bonnet hat and prairie apron. Then time to to finish the hem on the dress. I had everything I needed prior to starting the prairie dress and had read through the pattern before ordering what I needed to start. See Part two for more tips. (link at bottom of post)

Sleeve pinned and being basted on dress_

This pattern has quite a few places where you’ll want to pin and baste to make sure your placement is good prior to sewing! This video may be helpful to you- Making the sleeves 

It’s not hard with practice. Just follow the directions on the pattern, view the video and go slower when sewing. When sewing moving and adjusting fabric while sewing around the sleeve. Above is the sleeve pinned.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Costume 

  • I did make a few alterations to the Little House on the Prairie pattern. 

Sleeve of costume with eyelet lace and ribbon tie_

  1. Looking back on the bottom of the sleeve’s construction as cute as the ribbon is for the sleeve read the notes below. 
  2. On the sleeves I changed this to elastic and tacked on a bow vs. creating button holes and stringing lace to create the gather.
  3. NOTE: Be sure to sew (tack) your ribbon in place so it doesn’t come undone during wearing the costume or gentle washing.

I am recommending this because: Even with the extra ribbon length, when Audrey was playing in the dress the sleeve ribbon came untied and she lost it. Luckily I had brought the extra up with me, re-cut, laced through sleeve and tied. This time I used a safety pin to hold it in place under the ribbon tie until I had time to tack it in place. But, then it can’t be altered for loosening if someone with a larger arm width uses the costume. Pick what works best for your needs. 

Sewing costume_ thread_ Lace on table_

For this pattern you create a casing and thread ribbon to use around the neckline as well as the sleeves as shown above. I used more than ample ribbon so this area wasn’t a problem. Tomorrow I’ll show back view where you can see what I’m talking about. When adding the eyelet lace at neckline and sleeves I used a larger width than called for. It’s what I had on hand and ended up working really well. I pinned it in place prior to sewing. New to making dress casing? See this video tutorial: making casing and threading elastic. But, follow your pattern directions for making it on your dress. 

back of dress with button hole_

I hadn’t made button holes in years! I almost avoid patterns with them. Call me chicken. lol They always seemed so complicated. But, I didn’t realize this pattern had them. Game on! I pulled out my button hole foot, manual and read how to use it. I inserted button into sizer on button hole foot and followed the directions.

Are you new to adding buttonholes? See these video tutorials for how to make a buttonhole

  1. How to make buttonholes
  2. How to make buttonholes

Both these have great tips.

Remember you will need a seam ripper too. I practiced on several pieces of left over fabric before making the buttonholes. I marked them with my favorite invisible disappearing pen. Don’t use a pencil as suggested in video number 1 as, it will leave marks. the disappearing pen erases with washing or wiping with water.

Guess what, it wasn’t as hard as I thought! And they came out pretty! Can you hear the Mario Brothers music as I level up?!!

  • The pattern listed below comes in several sizes. We used size 7-14 girls.

Prairie Dress Pattern, Fabrics and Notions List

Part 2 Prairie Dress Costume DIY 

  • how to sew a bonnet 
  • apron for the prairie dress
  • more prairie dress sewing tips

Is this the first time you are sewing a prairie dress?

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  1. I love the fabric Theresa, and waiting to see the result
    Here we don’t celebrate Halloween but have another holiday (in a few months) in which we all wear costumes. My Mom used to make me a different one each year 🙂

    1. Hi Winnie, Thanks me too. Oh, I’d love to know what your holiday is called. It’s fun to see the traditions of other places. Halloween actually started in Ireland.

  2. I am so impressed by anyone who can sew clothes! The most complicated thing I sewed was a bedskirt, and that was actually pretty simple. Granted, I don’t remember how to use my sewing machine any more, but maybe one day. Looking forward to seeing the final product!

    1. Hi Bev, It just takes a little time to get used to reading the patterns and at least somewhat following the directions. Sometimes I have to veer off a bit to get it done but, try to get the finished look as much as possible. If you get back to trying just start with simple projects and keep going. I try not to pick things too complicated. lol You should pick it back up.

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