Our church secretary, who by the way, made several costumes for the week, had the clever idea to use king-size sheets from Wal-Mart for the bulk of the fabric. It is the line called Home Essentials 200 thread count and the sheets are sold separately rather than in a set. It was very economical. I think what made this one very nice is the "bodice" which is actually a separate vest that snaps in the back. The gold trim makes it eye catching.
This is what I looked like the day of our demonstration - don't you love the 'fro hairdo? I guess I hadn't yet made the prairie bonnet. (I probably did that after I saw the pictures.)
I have a few old grainy pictures of our time at the library and here are a couple:
Sewing a pioneer costume is a challenge with all the gathers and yards of fabric to maneuver. But here is the finished product.
NOTE: Just to be clear, I do realize that most of the spinning done out of necessity in early America was done by the colonist. Many pioneer women did not take their spinning wheels out west with their household goods because of space. And bolt fabric became readily available in around the 1830's. (However, many of us have more recent family history that includes a spinning grandmother or great aunt.)
We typically use calicoes for our costumes - probably because they are so pretty. And the wearing of the costumes, with all that sweeping fabric, feels like playing house.