Folkwear 201: The Prairie Dress aka Traditional Nightgown


I wanted to make a traditional nightgown for my daughter for Christmas, and she’s sized into women’s sizes.  Oddly, the Big Four pattern companies are selling all nightshirts or t-shirt/pajama pants combos for their nightwear – no traditional nightgowns to be seen.

I like Folkwear patterns, and I like supporting independent companies/small business.  So I decided to check and see if they’d have anything that would work.  Voila – the prairie dress looks very much like the nightgowns I remembered from my youth.  High-necked, long sleeved, loose-fitting with a yoke.

The fabric is a cotton flannel from Fabric Mart.  Getting flannel online is a *must*.   It’s cheaper, and this stuff is lush.  In comparisons of frequently used, frequently laundered flannel – the goods I’ve gotten online have well outscored the stuff I get at the chain store.  This stuff?  This stuff is stuffed-animal worthy.  Lush.  Plushy.  Distracting to a mom sewing who just wants to snuggle up to it and take a nap.  No naps!  Keep sewing!

I used my embroidery stitches on the Elna… here’s a closeup:


There is a line of stitching around the hem, cuffs, and yoke.  I put the stitches in (except the hem) before I folded the fabric over. I finished most of the seams with a french seam, however the sleeves were finished with my faux-serger stitch.  (Because I put them in the right way instead of backwards and didn’t want to go back – french seams on sleeves are bulky anyway, so this was an experiment).

The pattern itself wasn’t too complex.  It had a fair bit of hand-sewing – with slipstitching the collar, yoke, and both cuffs, but was simple.  Instead of the self-fabric ruffle, I used a bit of lace on the collar.

The only complaint I have about it is the sizing – and it’s a big complaint.   Pretty much every pattern you find will have sizes, and those sizes will have measurements.  I know this pattern has an enormous amount of give, what with the loose fit from the yoke… but it still has sizing through the shoulders and sleeves, and all it gives you is height and ready-to-wear sizing.  I made the medium up for my daughter and tried it on… good thing I didn’t start with the one I’m making for my mom, because the arms are *tight* on me and the shoulder/yoke is snug.  (FWIW, my biceps measured 13-14″ the last time I measured them…. ).  The sleeves are a little odd altogether, honestly.   Having to guess isn’t nice.

Overall – I’m pleased with the result, which is a lovely and plushy nightgown that my daughter can enjoy for a year or two or three – but I’d make some changes if I were making it for anyone else, which I shall be.

ETA:  Link to the other nightgown of the same pattern –


3 thoughts on “Folkwear 201: The Prairie Dress aka Traditional Nightgown

  1. Maeve

    When I was a young girl (say, late teens, so maybe not that young LOL), my very favorite nightgown was from (GASP) Victoria’s Secret, but it was the most beautiful white cotton old-fashioned flowing nightgown. Just beautiful – scooped neckline and tiny buttons and lovely full sleeves. And not dowdy in the least. I’d kill for one of those again.



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