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.


So very joyful. Who doesn't love a darling baby prairie dress?? My waits were all of the routine 9 month variety, but I can assure you that if I am able to sew (knit, crochet, bake, etc) with the kids at my feet you will be able to do it with a little one on your hip or clinging to your arm. It adds a fun dimension and so much joy when they want you to teach them to do "it" themselves. Those are the moments you're waiting for. It will absolutely be worth it. Meanwhile, keep the fashion show coming - we love sharing the waiting with you.

Elizabeth says: March 02, 2010 at 05:20 PM

You two are the cutest couple in the world.

I wish for the two of you to have enough time to finish all your sweet dresses...except one. One half-finished dress, always waiting for your attention in your studio, will always remind you of how that magical time of waiting was suddenly interrupted with the glorious news of her and that she had found you and how suddenly you knew your life would never been the same thereafter. Many blessings to you both.

Yaay! I love little baby things. I'm so glad I can be here and see all the goodies you're creating! By the way, your nursery is Gorgeous! With a capital G, that's right! When baby Paulson arrives she will be decked out mighty fine!

That's what naps are for...sewing for mom! Very cute dress! Wishing you a short Wait and much happiness!

the wait is the hardest but the most important because it means that it is just the baby for you, the one you are ment to have and it will happen exactly when it is supposed too. I will pray it is soon!!!! so so so exciting!!!!

For my parents the wait was a little over a year. But then they found out on a Monday that I would be coming home with them that Thursday. So once it happens, it will happen FAST! :) *hugs*

Alicia, I am so excited for you and Andy! I can hardly wait to see the gentle avalanche of all things Baby Handmade! Even more exciting...i can't wait to see her pictures here!

Gorgeous. I love it! The baby clothes of my dreams... I look forward to seeing what else you make! My four month old niece is named Nason Elle, after the creek we grew up on... also there is Tillie Jane and Jewel Berry. I love their names.

I'm so excited to know you're in The Wait! You will be such great parents, and if it makes you feel any better, a newborn sleeps alot, and you may be able to get some sewing in during at least one naptime a day. I made a lot of my first two kids clothing...not so much with the third!

I remember my mom, who sewed all of my sister's and my clothes when we were little, went to her sewing machine while we napped...then while we were in school. I have lots of great memories of things she made for us with love...

I knew you would be sewing tons of stuff for your baby. You can always move up to the next size if you feel like you might have too many newborn things. That girl is going to be SO lucky to have you for a mom. She is going to be so well dressed. Being a sewer is so fun when you have little girls!

perfect! My oldest friend (as in, we've known each other 25 of our 29 years) is expecting, and I am positively itching to get on with some tiny sewing, too! (Alas, this doctoral program - not much time for textiles until summer - by which time you will have given me SO MANY perfect ideas!) I am so excited to see the Perfect Baby Wardrobe emerge!

The dress is adorable. Oh, fill up that closet!
You should see my daughters. What I do is make things in her size and the also things for down the road a bit. Making little clothes in so incredibly fun.
And, it's not all poop and crying!

Yes, it does sound like fun! I will be sure to check in more often. Beautiful little dress. So sweet and wonderful that your family is growing!
I have two girls, the oldest now almost 10, I have yet to run out of sewing ideas. Though the little closet may be about to run out of space. Filled with handmade dresses :)

Perhaps you would like to think of it as a journey rather than a wait...

oh my, this is going to be the luckiest baby ever! Can you adopt me instead?

Congratulations to you!

Lucky baby!! My friends got their baby when they were both 40. They are just the best, best parents. Your baby will be so blessed.

YES! You're nesting. Enjoy every moment of your creativity - and of creating a lovely and warm and beautiful and loving home for your new little member.

Lately everytime I read your blog my face starts to hurt...from smiling so hard! So very happy for you and Andy (and big sister Clover). I hope The Wait is very short. She is going to be one very blessed baby girl.

The nine months I waited while my daughter swam in her pool were pregnant with anticipation, expectation, worry and love. Your wait in the pool will fill your heart the same way. I feel privledged, now that my wait is over, to wait with you. I parent independently and am a full time grad student, but I still find time here and there to sew my daughter dresses and quilts, draw her pictures and generally show her I love her in a tangible way, so she always has my heart and hands with her. Sure, I don't have the opportunity to make her something every week, but when I do, it's magical. There is joy in the waiting to finish, too. Keep making your daughter "little pretties." It's a way of saying, "You made me something, let me make you some thing, too."

Here's hoping the waiting isn't too terribly long & you will soon be a new mom with a sweet child to love. I was adopted into a wonderful family myself many years ago & count my blessings I ended up where I did.

I have two children both nearly grown (18 and 14yrs) and feel a teeny bit jealous (in a nice way!) that your journey with your baby girl is just about to start. I do wish I had made things when mine were small, I have only just taken up sewing :( I shall have to wait until I have grandchildren now!
Treasure each day while she is little because it is true when they say it passes by so quickly. (people told me that, I didn't believe them lol look at me now!).
I am sure you will find time to sew when your baby is here, and as she gets older she will probably, most likely, be sitting by your side, sewing with you. xxxx

So sweet :) Have you happened upon a pinafore pattern that you like? I've been searching and searching online for one for my baby girls because I cannot find any sturdy everyday dresses for them in the shops at the moment but there are SO many patterns out there and I'm a very beginner beginner with a new (old) sewing machine!

Alicia - think of it like this - I watched a documentary last night on a Maternity Hospital where babies are (obviously) being born every minute. When one mother screamed in pain and asked "Why does it take soooo long?" the midwife's answer was that this is nature's way of preparing you for motherhood. You get to the point where you are absolutely DESPERATE for the baby to be born - and then, when it is, it doesn't matter that it cries and poops and sicks up everywhere and you are beyond exhaustion! You are just so relieved to have it. 'The Wait' is all part of the plan ...

I'm currently learning to sew little garments with a baby around, you are smart to start before hand! I must say though if your anything like me (and never want to put your cuddly baby down) I have found that there is a lot you can do with her propped over your shoulder, in a carrier (we love our baby hawk, or on your lap. And of course once she's running around (and trying to get at your presser foot while you sew) it's still doable too. And let me tell you you'll feel even more triumphant than you ever have upon project completion before!

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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