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.


Maybe sounds kind of silly, kind of mushy... but as a mother of two (awesome kids of course! :)) I find myself giddy with excitement for both of you. You're going to make such a beautiful threesome.

This feels like a huge World Tour, and, like any good groupies, your many followers are ALL on the tour bus with you! Here's wishing you the best of everything on your journey to Parenthood. Enjoy the's the best trip you'll ever take! xoxo from the Jersey Shore

being pregnant is a little like "the wait", i suppose - naturally, had i been pregnant for years i would have probably gone slightly mad... however, the excitement, the worries, the curiousity at the prospect of greeting a new little soul are just the same.
and i'm looking forward to seeing the paulson creativity going on in the meantime.


Oops! I just realized what I said. Prairie dresses are not uncool, just inappropriate for a 56 yr old! :)

When we adopted our son as a newborn, we were completely unprepared as far as having "the stuff." We went on a shopping spree to Baby Superstore, and I still remember my husband patiently putting his crib together on the eve of his arrival. Sweet memories... the wait was anxious and painfully slow for me, should have put my mind to creating as I do now while under stress. Hope the wait is short and sweet for you, and thanks so much for sharing your journey with us!

I love this new baby phase and can't wait to see what you make of The Wait. I hope it is just the perfect amount of wait for you.

Enjoy the making of so many sweet projects. I'm already looking forward to Andy's 'guest blogging a la baby'. hee hee

Congratulations! So exciting! We waited 2 years. And it was so worth every minute. Just 2 things I like to say to adoptive parents: Enjoy the time you have 'just the two of you' before your life revolves around your little, and don't expect her to 'be' any certain way--she will have quirks and personality all her own and you'll wonder-really wonder- where she comes from sometimes. And as for crafting--it took me a solid 2 years before I could pick up my hooks again (DD was 21 months when we brought her home)

Maybe you haven't heard about 5am crafting. That's when Sweet Baby Girl wakes up to eat. and when you go to get her, she looks at you with those big eys and dear smile as if to say "I'm ready to play Mama!!" And what about 5 hour summer swim meets? That's when you go to the pool, knitting in hand, to sit in the sun all morning to watch her swim ONE 25 meter free style; Oh, but it's the BEST 42.7 seconds of your day! :)
There's also the crafting that happens on the 3 hour drive to Pittsburg (for you maybe it's Eugene :)) for the Mite Hockey game. And don't forget all that time spent in the rink waiting for the game to start! All this to say, don't fret about getting it all done now, you have YEARS!!! And then come the grandchildren. :)

If you sew it, she will come!
(Our wait was almost nine months.)
(Enjoy your sleep now.)

Kristen J says: March 02, 2010 at 08:25 AM

Alicia, I feel sure your happy call will come sooner rather than later. :) Yes, get your sewing done now!

How very exciting, and that dress is absolutely adorable. Hope the wait isn't too long, just long enough to get all those little clothes ready.

Kary in Colorado says: March 02, 2010 at 08:25 AM

What fun! Just remember--they grow FAST! Make more of bigger sizes than newborn or you will only get to put those cute little clothes on once or twice before they are too little. And don't forget to take fotos--it's amazingly easy to not do that and then you realize she's outgrown your favorite dress.

As the mom of 4, I promise you that sewing with kiddos underfoot is really not hard--you'll be amazed at the things you will accomplish! I'm so excited for you!

It IS going to be wonderful and the sewing will keep you connected to the delight that lies ahead. SEW ON!

That dress is adorable and dainty!

Love the dress! I'm very excited to see all of your creations for your very special baby while you and Andy wait.

Lucky baby--we all waited, we all prepared, we all were not prepared enough, we all worried, we all were patient, impatient and lost out patience . . . you have a whole gaggle of people who will walk with you every step of the way!!!! xoxoxox

The dress is perfect. I have 3 sons and 1 grandson and a pattern box full of dress patterns that I never got to use. I did sew for all of them little monogramed recieving gowns, and I remenber when silk boxers were a biggie. But one thing I learned is that each of them comes with an inborn sense of style and each of them was different. Have you given any thought to a tomboy?

This is going to be my 2nd favorite thing about reading about your journey! All the sweet baby things!!

Of course, my very favorite part will be seeing the first pics of you and your cherub together!

I'm with Harriet! Make some larger sizes too! You'll have more time on your hands when she's three, so make all sizes up until then. Babies have a hard time crawling in dresses, so make some jumpers! Use lots of patterned material (hides stains!). Love seeing all those lovely clothes!

I am so excited for you both and I wait with you, hoping that every time google tells me that you have a new blog post that it is good NEWS. In the meantime, I look forward to indulging in all the little outfits and baby goodies that you will share with us in the lovely way that you always do.

oh, goodie-goodie gumdrops. I'm so happy you're sharing The Wait with us. I feel honored and inspired. So much cutness to be had.

My best tip for sewing around children - teach yourself to sew with only 5 pins - you can know in a glance where all your pins are - and not inside a child!

Your baby, whenever they come, will undoubtably be blessed with a life of love and beauty. Good luck!

What a beautiful little dress! My friend T is also waiting for a baby and there is nothing that can be done to hurry it but pray and sew...

How is Clover Meadow taking in all the excitement?

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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