When we first received the costume announcement for Colonial Day at Avery's school, I pretty much knew how things would go down. I waited for a few days, hoping that the note stating that the school had a few costumes that had been donated in the past would apply to us. No such luck!! I found a couple costumes we could order for $30 and up. I knew I could make something that would cost hardly anything but my time. But, just like yours, my time is valuable!! I whined that just because I had the ability to, didn't mean I had too. Just as you may have predicted, in the end I caved.
Avery was assigned the role of Dolley Madison. I searched for the simplest dress I could replicate, and came across this one. Doable!!
I would have had fun replicating the gathered loops on the bottoms, but I was trying to use fabric I had in my stash. This Jennifer Paganelli Beauty Queen border print was an excellent second option. Although, the border print isn't particularly conducive to apparel, I pieced together the skirt to have everything running in the right direction.
I used the Molly Peasant Dress Pattern by Scientific Seamstress for Sis Boom. I picked a fuller sleeve length and added a cuff instead of elastic to better mimic Dolley Madison's dress. The pattern indicates sewing a maxi length of this dress as is, but in my experience, walking would have been hindered with the width of the skirt. Since I was piecing the skirt, I had a perfect spot to add side slits just to be on the safe side.
We simplified the accessories. Avery did wear a locket around her neck, but it didn't make the photos. We swapped the hat for a simple tied head wrap. Avery wasn't the least bit interested in the ring of lace at the neck, but the draped lace piece was a must.
Avery's one complaint was that the dress didn't "drag on the ground" like Dolley Madison's. Can't win them all!!
By the end, I was excited to have made this for Avery. She worked hard in her role, and I was thrilled to give this piece as encouragement. This will easily be a dress that will get worn again and again.
For those that don't know about Dolley Madison, here was Avery's memorized piece:
"During the War of 1812, the British marched on Washington, D.C., and burned many buildings including the White House. As the wife of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, I waited to ensure that a famous portrait of George Washington was saved before I would leave the White House to flee to safety. I am Dolley Madison."
The presentation had numerous poems and songs to memorize, including a song that listed every President from Washington to Obama, but my favorite quote was the following:
"Believers carry this message wherever they go, that while we love our country and pledge allegiance to the flag, we know ultimately that nations and kingdoms will pass away. What will remain is who we are, in and through, Christ Jesus."
The rest of the day was filled with Colonial inspired activities. The stations included apothecary, tailor, blacksmith, and toy maker. I manned the meal table where I flipped cornbread hotcakes while the children made butter from whipping cream and salt.
First grade has had it's challenges for us (I will have to go into our diagnosis of ADHD some other day), but it has been amazing as well.