Little Prairie

comments: 219


PATTERN: McCall's 5257 (out of print)
VIEW: A (modified)
SIZE: Newborn
FABRIC: Unidentified calico, from Mill End Store

In open-adoption parlance, it's called The Wait. It's the period of time between the time you've finished jumping through all of the official hoops (the paperwork, the interviews, the fingerprinting, the background checks, the homestudy, the medical exam, the writing of the autobiographies, and the hardest: the creation of the photo album)  and the time you get The Call, meaning that a expectant birthmother wants to meet you (or, in many cases, that a baby has already been born and needs a home). The Wait can, theoretically, take four days or four years (or more, I imagine). That is, it takes as long as it takes. Each situation is unique, and, since you're waiting in The Pool (and not in a line), you really have no idea how long you will be waiting. Like a good Girl Scout, I can't help my tendency to want to Be Prepared, so a nursery is papered and painted, a crib is assembled, a stack of diapers stands neatly next to a stack of burp cloths, and one of those ubiquitous beige gliders awaits. (But man, those things are comfortable. If I had known, I would've gotten one a long time ago and just kept it around, as ugly as it is. It's more comfortable than our couch.)

Apparently, some people find The Wait to be very difficult, and some people really enjoy it. Since we are just at the beginning of ours, we don't have much more than a month's perspective on it, but it is at once both harder and easier than I thought: Harder some days to have patience and maintain faith that (as everyone insists) it Will Happen; easier to distract myself from worrying that it Won't by working toward achieving one of my Parenting Goals of creating the Most Adorable Baby Wardrobe in the Whole Wide World.

Well, that can hardly be considered work! To wit, Exhibit A: Baby Prairie Dress. Pure sweetness of a Love Saga variety. This was an old pattern I've had in my pattern box forever. It's now out of print, but I found a few on eBay and one of the descriptions said it was from 1991. When I opened the pattern a few weeks ago, I saw that it had already been cut to Newborn size. I wonder who I made it for, way back then. Can't remember. There are pinafore and bloomers that go with this. I followed the pattern exactly except that I left off the Peter Pan collar and placed the elastic at the bottom of the sleeves instead of in a separate casing above the hemline, which would've created a little ruffle. But I love the full, frothy calico-ness of this. It's so full it reminds me of a big round dandelion puff.

Here's what I tell myself about The Wait: If it's not long enough (as if this could actually be considered a problem, but let's just say), I won't have time to make all of the wee clothes I've been daydreaming about, because everyone tells you that once the baby arrives it's all poop and crying and bottles and baby giggles, and you don't have a single second to sew for, what, like eighteen years or something? (I stand in bewildered awe of all of you moms, including my own, who sew with little ones at your feet. Amazing!) On the other hand, if The Wait is too long, I'm going to run out of hangers.

I won't run out of fabric or ideas, though. I have a million. Andy too. Get ready for an avalanche of homemade baby things by the Paulsons. It's gonna be so much fun.


Esther Sunday says: March 03, 2010 at 06:15 PM

With you all the way!!!!

how exciting - we'll wait with you - hold your hand until the time comes - and I bet there are thousands of fingers crossed for you! keep sewing, keep busy and think of the arrival rather than the wait

So cute! I'm also an adoptive parent (through the same agency, even :] ), and The Wait is such a weird, intangible thing, but then allofasudden everything starts happening, and your family multiples in the best way possible. I'm so excited for you and Andy!

Oh please Alicia, keep them coming! I can't wait to see all the beautiful baby things you will make. The blouse is lovely!

How sweet!!!
I too intended to create a perfect wardrobe and a perfect nursery for my little girl... 9 months wasn't enough for all my ideas, but I did enjoy what I could do...
She 6 months old now, the joy of my day! But, as you sayd, I still didn't figure out how to continue sewing... Since she was born, I only made her 2 dresses (she was born sooo little, nothing I had previously done fitted her!)

I think, maybe, now that she's growing up (so fast!) I can get back to sewing... The good thing is we have years to enjoy the 'creating a wardrobe' thing, as they grow and grow and always need more and more bigger sweet and pretty dresses and all... ^^

kisses from Brazil!

(sorry for all the mispelling, baby on my lap nursing and sleeping... only one hand to write!! soon this will be you!!)

Much love as you two "wait," what an incredibly exciting time for the two of you. I am soooooo excited for you! EEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeee baby!

Make some bigger sizes, too! My babies only fit newborn size for about a week, and by 6 months were wearing 12 month size. They outgrow those sweet little clothes WAY too soon.

And yeah, it's hard to find time for your own things when someone small and sweet demands all your attention, but we always find time for things we are passionate about. Just don't do what I did and accidentally leave an embroidery needle on your baby's play mat. Fortunately my husband found it before the baby did. Yikes. That was 12 years ago and I STILL feel horrible about that!

Such a lucky little baby with a wonderful wardrobe awaiting her. We're expecting our first in early September and as our road has also been twisty and bumpy I've impatiently sat on my knitting fingers until we had our 12 week scan but now (and with morning sickness a receeding memory) I too am preparing to create the most beautiful baby wardrobe possible.
As you know your having a little girl I've got two knitting patterns that you might like to add to your repetoire: the first is Stephanie Pearl Mc-Phee's Baby Mine pattern (here:; and the second is the Sheep Dress from Debbie Bliss' Baby Knits book (pictures of the one I made for my cousin are here:
Enjoy all the happy expectant craftyness - I too have heard vicious rumours of less crafting time once the babies make their appearance!

I just adore these dresses you are sewing. Good luck with 'The Wait', may it only last as long as your projects and patience.

I hope it won't be long before you have a tiny someone to dress in your adorable clothes. You and your husband and great dog look like a wonderful family who have much love, values and lessons to give to a child. Best wishes for the speedy fulfillment of your dreams.

I'm so glad that the newest Paulson will grow up being a prairie girl. I will pray that you and Andy have the perfect amount of "wait".

This baby is going to be so blessed. Parents and a "big sis" who love her, a beautiful home, and an impressive wardrobe. All the best to you during The Wait. Have faith. Be strong. And, get ready for the parenthood.

And although 'The Wait' may eventually seem interminable, and although you will wonder at times if 'It' will happen - it most certainly will, sooner or later.

We've had experience of adoption in our own family and when it eventually all falls into place you'll wonder where that little person has been all of your life - and how life without them ever really existed at all.

Sending my best wishes and keeping everything crossed that 'The Wait' will be short.

BTW, that little dress is just adorable. I'm sure you'll have the best-dressed baby girl in the world.

Early congrats!As an adopted child myself I'm so excited whenever I hear of someone adopting.Your little dresses,as well as your blog are all lovely!My mom made a (hilariously,ridiculously) large "baby" blanket that dwarfs a king size bed during their wait for me.It now serves as a quilt (folded into quarters on my two little girls' full size bed.

handmade baby stuff is one of the top reasons why i was so excited about your do not disappoint lovely lady :) this dress is perfect sweetness...and i cannot wait to her in it!!!

This post made me cry. Waiting for a child can be so difficult. Although we were able to conceive, we had a lot of hoops to go through and that feeling that it just has to happen can make you feel so jumpy and excited and desperate. I know you will hang in there and your beautiful little girl will arrive right on her own schedule. And then, she will be the best-dressed little girl in town!

Oh I love this! Beautiful choice of fabric and style. And it is always such a pleasure to read your posts!

Oh, Alicia! What an exciting yet difficult time you and Andy have ahead of you. Some friends of ours recently adopted a little boy from the Philipines (we're in Australia) after a four year wait. Their wait had lots of up times and down times, but now he's part of their family it's made the wait worth it. I hope your wait is not so long, but remember, the wait will be worth it. xx

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


post a comment

About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at