Civil War Maternity Dress/Wrapper

Hi Sis,

As you know, I have been busy preparing for the Ohio Regional Military Ball that is taking place next weekend. Holly a friend of mine asked me this summer if I would be interested in vending at the event, and even teach a workshop on historical knitting! I gave it some thought, said yes and started planning to teach a miser purse workshop that would teach knitters and crocheters. 

Then I got pregnant, and realized my I had no idea what I was going to wear! Civil War clothing is very fitted, and there is no way I was getting into my old corset and dress when I was in the second trimester. What to do? I knew… there is of course period maternity wear. But, my research in this area was blank. I ended up asking a lady online whom makes and sells wrappers, if she could make me a maternity/post maternity wrapper/day dress. She said yes! And we ended up chatting away about sewing, babies, maternity wear, raising chickens, and her upcoming move to PA! Yep, we found out that soon we will not live that far away from each other.

On Monday, the wrapper arrived and I was so excited to open the box! I didn’t know what the dress looked like, so it was a fun surprise. And boy was it so pretty and practical. Knowing I was going to be a momma, she made the dress with huge pockets, lots of wiggle room to grow in the chest and belly region, and a cute apron to go on top of the dress to make it look less wrappery… complete with more big pockets!

Here is the dress!

On it’s own it looks like a giant robe or nightdress! The pleats hanging from the yoke make it fully adjustable in both the bust and waist area… perfect for comfy lounging, a pregnant lady, or a lady changing weight!

Once the dress is on, you gather up the front so that it fits you properly, and tie on the belt. 

Here is a back shot!

And here it is on a pregnant lady! Nate tied on the belt this time, and said it belongs on the back. lol I’m not so sure where I like it best. But, if hubby say’s it is cute on the back then I will wear it on the back when I am with him. hehehehe

A side shot with the brown apron!

I hope to get more pictures this weekend for you, and will be sure to do a blog post about my very first vending event and miser purse class!




1861 Crochet Purse (Historic Pattern for Modern Crocheter)

Dear Sis, thanks so much for helping me get this pattern ready! 🙂

Peterson’s Crochet Silk Purse, 1861

Skill Level: Easy. 

25 Grams Silk Yarn
1.8 – 1.9 MM crochet hook.
Embroidery Needle
3″ cardboard or plastic for tassel making
Sewing thread and needle

Size: Without tassels, is approximately 4.5 – 5 inches long and 3.5 inches wide.

Pattern Error: Please note that the stitch count is incorrect at row 7 & 8. You will have 88 dc instead of the 66 stitches that you will have during the 3dc ch1 rows.

Your crocheting is complete! Now, time for tassels and cords.

Bottom Tassels: Watch a Youtube Video on How to Make Tassels and Practice! Seriously, if you have never made tassels before, don’t dig into your silk yet. Make tassels with cotton or wool yarn first.

My tassels are made with a 3″ wide Quilting Ruler, and my silk is wrapped around it 45 times. I do a simple loop knot twice.Once, I have three tassels, I tie the three tassels together. Drawl the yarn up through the bottom hole in the purse, tie knots to secure, and weave the yarn through my work (only on the inside, don’t weave it through, so that it shows on both sides of your work) and cut off the extra string.

Tassels and Cords: Cords can be twisted or braided. I braid my cords.  My cords are simply the strings that tie off the top of the tassel. They are 58 inches long and folded in half… so you will have six strings per group of tassels. I then knot all six strings together about 3/4 of an inch above the tassels, separate strings into two groups, and braid.  When the cords are made. I fold the purse and half and weave the cords from one tassel in and out of row 30… both in different directions, till they meet in the center. Then, I decide how long I want my cords to be, when my purse is fully opened, and sew the strings down to the inside of the purse. Repeat on the other side, so that you have a drawstring opening and closure.

A Look into the Historical Pattern

This is what was featured in Peterson’s Magazine, in 1861. Like most patterns of the time, accuracy wasn’t really a thing. If you look closely at this pattern, you will discover it isn’t actually mathematically correct. Ladies looked at the directions, pictures, and made something work.  Which, is exactly what I did. The pattern below, is my adaptation of the above pattern. What did I change?

  • I closed the bottom to the purse. This was a preference of mine. If you want an open bottom, go for it! If you keep the same number of stitches, as I have in each round, your purse will be the same shape and size.
  • I didn’t follow the bottom diagram. The bottom diagram shows 1dc in the chain one space, and a dc in each stitch next to the chain. I choose to do 3dc in each ch1 space. Why? Because, it creates a prettier hole. In fact, when I followed the directions, it didn’t give me a pretty gap at all.
  • I didn’t add as much frill to the top. 

Fun Pictures of the Finished Projects!

Enjoy the pattern! Please comment or email me with any questions, pattern notes, or success stories. For those who prefer it, I sell these purses ready made and custom made in my Etsy shop.

copywright2017 – this pattern is for personal use only. This pattern is not to be sold or redistributed.


Pence Jug Project

Hi Sis,

My newest project has been a pence jug. The Pence jug is a fun style of minster purse, which was a coin purse that was used by men and woman alike. Original pence jugs have been dated from 1800 – 1900, and I designed this one after an antique in the Smithsonian Institution that is dated 1830 – 1860. It is a very tiny purse, that is close to the same size as the original, which is only 2 inches wide by 4 inches tall. The beads are galvanized glass, and the ring is made of steel.





New Store

Hey sis,

I have been super busy lately, and totally neglecting the blog! But, I have finally opened my Etsy Store

I posted three dresses for sale, and the wool scarf. Then, I got to work on some new items!

This weeks creation was a silk purse reproduction, from a Peterson’s Magazine in 1861. I posted them up for sale yesterday, and already sold one! It is my very first sale, so I was extra giddy about it! I can’t wait to share my next item next week.




Time to open an Etsy Store?

Dear Sis,

I have come to a very difficult decision. I would much rather have some of these cute little buggers, then some of the reenacting gear in my closet… that doesn’t even fit me anymore. 

So, I have decided to sell the following. 

The Silk Dress – My very first homemade civil war gown. I never attended a ball, or any fancy gathering that I could wear this to. I’m not sure why I thought I would, I don’t even like dancing and our unit never left the campfire. All well, it was a good (and expensive) learning experience. lol 

The Wool Gown – I am rather proud of this dress, as I spent hours researching, and drafting the pattern. But sadly this dress no longer fits me, so I might as well sell it too.

The Crazy Scarf – Because this didn’t take forever to make. lol. I made this scarf from a picture and what was supposed to be a pattern. 

Sheer Dress– Yep, this doesn’t fit me either. 🙁


Our first weekend in our home

Hey sis,

Nate and I just had our first weekend together, were we where in our home. It was great!

On Saturday, we were rather lazy. After a week of wedding prep and a wedding, a week of honeymooning, and a week of moving, we were tuckered out. So, we stayed in. We slept in, played games, watched Avatar, cooked and ate some super tasty food, and just hung out. Mommy ended up coming around 5:00 p.m. to visit, and we all sat down to beef stew with Hawaiian rolls. (I thought they were normal dinner rolls on the sales rack at Walmart… oops. Nothing better with beef stew, then pineapple flavored rolls. lol)

Mom ended up spending the night, and joined us for most of Sunday too. It was Saturday night, that she asked if she could borrow one of my reenacting dresses. Turns out, she and Brian are going to the Prairie Pettler, to sell his homemade wooden spoons. The vendors are supposed to dress up in old fashion prairie attire. I was tempted to say no, I as I thought of her ripping my sheer pink dress to shreds, or staining my wool dress But, then I remembered… I had a work dress in the making!

So, that night I started a bodice for mommy, and I finished it the very next morning. I didn’t have time to do pipping, or a real closure. I gave her pins to close it, and a Pinner apron. I also loaned her a pair of shoes, knee highs, a slat bonnet that was made by friend Kaela from The Fabric of Time, wool shawl, some basic under garments, basket to put her goodies into, and wool blanket to sit on. This was my first garment I fitted to someone else, so I was rather proud of myself. It came out great too!

img_1821 img_1826 img_1827

While mom and I were having our girl time, Nate and Carmin were together. The first thing they did, fix the stove! Poor Nate skinned his knuckles in the process, but we tapped him back together. Carmin said he was going to toughen him up, and then told him to change and lead him into the attic to hang the porch swing. After a while, I didn’t hear the boys, and wondered what they where up to… after all, I had to do list for them. lol.  They where both outside, relaxing on the porch swing.


Before everyone left, we had a huge dinner. Mommy and I had fun setting the table with your handmade chicken pot holders, and the other fun kitchen accessories Nate and I got from the wedding.


For dinner we made corn flake chicken, peach and blueberry cobbler, potatoes au gratin, creamed cucumbers and steamed green bean salad.



Corn Flake Chicken
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  1. Chicken Legs
  2. Corn Flakes
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1/4 cup milk
  5. salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder
  6. butter
  1. Dip chicken legs into milk and egg mixture
  2. Crush corn flakes
  3. Mix salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder into corn flakes
  4. Then coat and press into crushed corn flakes
  5. Place onto cookie sheet and top with some melted butter
  6. Bake at 350 for 45 min. Flip Chicken and top other side with some melted butter. Let cook another 45 min or so.
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A Peachy Sheer

Alright, so I might have abandoned my blog for the past six months.  But, I’m back! And here is my peachy sheer summer dress, just in time for winter 🙂

This was a different project for me, as my sudden change in taste not only surprised myself, but also my sister and friends.  I have always chosen drab browns and blue fabrics, as they are practical colors for a dirt grubber such as myself, and their combination with my skin color doesn’t make me appear jaundice.  Yes, I might have that awkward skin tone that is somewhere between white and yellow/orange.

But, for some reason I couldn’t pass up this flowery peach sheer fabric.  Bright and chipper, I couldn’t help but to smile when I saw it.  I decided it turn it into a summer sheer dress, despite my sister’s distaste for the “ugly and retro” fabric.


Next, I had to pick a pattern for my dress.  Even though they aren’t often the most flattering cut, I knew I wanted an O bodice.  As, I might have been obsessed with this pattern in my younger years.

next pattern

I didn’t end up using the simplicity pattern.  Though, my sister did make the belt for for my basic cotton day dress and it is quite lovely.  I will have to post that another day.  Instead, I selected the sheer dress from past patterns.  Which, had a rather extensive instruction pamphlet to help a novice such as myself.


The dress went together rather smoothly, and wasn’t that difficult to make.  Thankfully, I had my older sister to help me fit the bodice.  Plus, as an O bodice it didn’t have to be as fitted to look good.  I lined the bodice with white cotton, and did a hook and eye front.  Which, I did mess up by the way.  I didn’t know that one side of the bodice was supposed to overlap the other.  But, my goof isn’t that apparent until you see the bottom of the bodice, where there is a visible hole in the closing between two hooks and eyes.  Thank goodness for belts and aprons!
The dress complete…and in need of ironing.  I really should get a better photograph of it too.
jamie's sheer

What I would change

1)  The bodice closure.  If it wasn’t a sheer fabric, I would be tearing this thing apart and fixing the bodice so it overlaps and there is no gap.  
2) The sleeves.  The sleeves in this pattern have no cuffs.  They are gathered with an elastic band.  It is pretty, simple, and fast.  But, it isn’t sustaining, and I’m not sure how accurate it is.  I want to take it out, and add a basic white cuff.  That would help keep the sleeves clean and wear better.
Originally Published: here
Written by: Jamiegoof