the basic concept
A girl wanders the west, making her way as a traveling tailor. She has all sorts of episodic adventures which will require her sewing skills and ingenuity. Historical, social issues which are still currently relevant could be dealt with in this way.

Character name: Alexandra (Alex) Taylor  
The hidden story will be why she is alone in the west. This would come out slowly, once the story establishes itself. Her family is from St. Louis, where her father, a widower, worked as a master tailor. By the time she was 13, she had become a master in her own right; and her older brother moved west to start his own shop. One day, there was a great fire and the block with her father's store burned down, almost wiping them out. Just as they started to rebuild, they received a letter which told them that the party her brother had traveled west with had been decimated by small pox. Her father had a heart attack and died shortly thereafter. With money her father had put aside for her, she was put into a decent orphanage. They encouraged her to apprentice under a tailor. He was jealous of her skill and kept her down. She secretly entered a ball gown contest, against the tailor's wishes. Her gown won and he became furious, swearing that she'd never get commissions beyond sewing on buttons, again. So, at 16, she took her prize money and modest inheritance, and headed west in search of her brother and to find her own way in the world.

Other details