The Refashioners 2018: Miss Fisher Costume

If you’ve read my blog before you may know how much I love the show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries in part at least because of the costumes. So when Portia announced this year’s Refashioners theme was ‘inspired by’, I couldn’t resist making a costume from Miss Fisher. I really wanted to make her amazing silk robe, but I didn’t think my embroidery skills would be up to it (I’ve done embroidery twice and both times it’s been a little rudimentary).

(image source)

So having ruled out the robe, I then decided to make her signature trench coat and matching hat. I also made trousers, a blouse and a camisole to go under the coat! Fair warning this is a long post with lots of photos! Feel free to skip to the end to look at the finished look!

Here are the garments I started with (and how much I paid for each one):

Large trench coat



Jersey maxi dress


Polyester petticoat skirt


Polyester blouse – I wanted to get a dress to make the blouse, but couldn’t find anything suitable so I had to settle for this blouse.

TROUSERS

First I dyed the dress navy blue – it was mostly viscose so the normal Dylon hand dye took quite well and it didn’t matter that it was beige.


I then sewed 2 parallel lines from the hem upwards, with the right sides together, to roughly where my crotch was when I held the dress up with the hem on the ground. I then cut between the 2 lines and voila, I had trouser legs! I then tried them on, sewed a better bum curve. I then sewed a large hem channel at the top and threaded some elastic through  – I know elasticated waisted trousers are not super accurate for Miss Fisher, but these will become my ‘lounging around the house’ trousers, so at least they’ll get some more wear!

CAMISOLE

Again, I started by dying the skirt – I put it (and the blouse) in the same dye as the dress, knowing that because they were both synthetic that the dye might not take as well, but it didn’t take at all! Luckily Instagram came to my rescue and a couple of people told me about Rit Dyemore Synthetic dye. I ordered this in navy blue (to match the trousers) but this was as dark as it went.

First I cut off the elastic, and saved it in my stash to use on another project in the future. I turned the skirt upside down, so the lace on the hem was at the top. I then pinned and sewed new side seams and trimmed off the extra fabric, to use as the straps. I cut 2 strips 5cm wide, then sewed them with a 1.5cm seam allowance so they ended up 1cm wide.

I then stitched the straps on the back, put the top on and pinned the straps where they needed to sit on the front and stitched them in place.

I made the camisole because often in Miss Fisher you can see through her very thin blouses that she is wearing one underneath – I guess it was also underwear in the 20s – but my blouse was too thick to see it so I didn’t really need it, but you live and learn!

BLOUSE

After dying the blouse and petticoat supposedly navy blue they looked like this:

Then after the synthetic dye – which involved cooking the whole lot for over an hour – it looked like this, which was an improvement, but sadly not the colour I was after. The outfit I was basing it on was black, but I was going for navy but then it was this light grey-ish blue.

I unpicked most of the blouse – which took a while because it was all overlocked! I unpicked the collar and placket, and then sewed a new centre front seam to get rid of the extra fabric from the placket. I then used the scout tee as the basis for the new shape of the back and front, but I made the front a v-neck. I then sewed the sleeves back in, and used the yoke which I’d removed from the back to make a facing, understitching it to try to make it lie on the inside.

This is the blouse I was basing mine on so I decided to make the pattern on the fabric myself, since I didn’t find a garment with the right kind of geometric pattern on.  I remembered seeing this blog post on Tilly’s blog by the lovely Zeena Shah so I bought some dylon fabric paint. And I thought an empty spool of thread would be the perfect thing to approximate the circles on the original blouse.

Again, because the fabric was so synthetic, the paint didn’t take as brightly white as it would have if it was a natural fibre, but I think the effect was okay.


I used the 2 halves of the collar as the scarves down the sides of the blouse, and although it’s the wrong colour, I think it looks okay as a copy.


I’m pretty proud of the fact that this tiny pile of scraps is all I had left from the above 3 garments!

HAT

I initially thought I was going to be able to make up a hat by myself, but after doing a bit of research, I discovered someone else had also made the Miss Fisher hat and coat and she used the Sybil pattern by Elsewhen Millinery so I downloaded it and am so glad I did!


(image source)

There is a lot of topstitching on her hat – and that was definitely the part that took the longest! That and working out if I had enough fabric to squeeze the hat pieces onto. I used every scrap I had – the fabric I cut off the hem of the coat, both lining and main fabric, and the big flap from the back of the original coat. Apart from the buttons on the coat, and the elastic in the trousers, the only other new thing I used was interfacing for the hat. All of the main pieces are interfaced and one side of the brim is.

I found my tailor’s ham had an additional use by allowing me to pin the lining to the outer of the hat. The lining overhangs a little, which it’s supposed to.

To stiffen the brim a little – I thought it would be too floppy with nothing, but I didn’t want it to be really stiff – I remembered I had this wire stuff from when I made my Doc Brown costume. It was perfect!

I put 2 rows in and sewed another couple of lines of topstitching, each with a 1cm seam allowance. I can definitely recommend this pattern if you want to make a 20s style hat. I did make a change to the shape of the brim and made it a bit wider at the back, though it was still a little narrower at the back than the front.

COAT

The coat was, obviously, the main task for my refashioners project. First I unpicked everything!

I even unpicked the welts from the pockets.

I also unpicked the collar, which it turned out was unneccessary – Miss Fisher’s coat doesn’t have a collar stand, but I thought I would have to resize the original collar since I had resized the rest of the coat so much, but weirdly the collar fitted in its original size!

Miss Fisher’s coat has big patch pockets, so I placed some fabric behind the holes from the welt pockets to try to repair the holes – knowing the holes themselves would be covered with the patch pockets.

This is what it looked like from the front when I’d finished the repair.

I then made new pockets from a piece of the coat which I no longer needed – I can’t remember what it originally was, though.

I used the original welt from the pockets as the flap on the top of the new pockets – handy!

The adjustments I made to the body of the coat were:

  • resewed the back seam, removing the excess fabric from the original vent, with an extra 2cm taken out.
  • Stitched the raglan sleeves back in, with an extra 2cm seam allowance at the front and the back.
  • Stitched the underarm and side seam, as one, with an extra 2cm seam allowance, then stitched again with another extra 2.5cm.
  • I did all of this with the lining too, though it had set-in sleeves instead of raglan sleeves.
  • I cut 7cm off each of the coat fronts and off the facings, and then stitched the facings back on. I ended up cutting off all the original button holes, which was handy!
  • I then reattached the collar.
  • I then sewed the lining back in, fudging it where it didn’t quite fit any more – It miraculously did fit quite well, it was just at the front where I had changed it from double breasted to single breasted, where it needed some tweaking.
  • I cut 23cm off the length of the coat, off the shell and the lining, then bagged it out.
  • I cut 8cm off the sleeves and used the great Grainline method for attaching sleeve linings and shells.
  • I also used the original shoulder tabs as the tabs on the cuffs of the sleeves.

The final things was to make new button holes and sew on the new buttons, which I got from my local sewing shop.

This is all I had left from the coat and hat refashion. There is a bit more than I thought, but it’s mostly thin strips which I shaved off each seam, and some bits left over from the larger pieces after cutting out the hat. Not bad, though, I don’t think!

Phew! If you’ve read all of that, you deserve a medal. If you’ve skipped ahead to just look at the photos, I don’t blame you!

I took the blouse off so you could see the camisole underneath, but it looks so, so wrinkled – sorry! It was actually sticking to me, it’s so synthetic, so it may not be a top that gets much wear when it’s hot, but it would be good for layering when it’s a bit chilly.

I especially like the back view – it’s a distinctive silhouette and I think I look quite like her! (Obviously when you can see my face, the illusion is less complete!)

I couldn’t not have an outtake from all the ‘walking towards the camera’ shots. You. Are. Welcome!

I really didn’t mean to be posting this so close to the deadline, but I’m not surprised! Everything always takes me longer than I think it will.

Did you do a refashioners project?

 

 

Me Made May 2017 recap

My pledge for Me Made May this year was to wear at least one item of me made (or refashioned) clothing each day in May. And I managed it! Yay! I remember when I first started sewing it was a couple of years before I felt like I had enough clothes to be able to take part, so to have enough to wear something every day is pretty cool.

Week One:

Day 1: black simplicity 2451 with my newest charity shop jumper; Day 2: navy spotty rushcutter dress; Day 3: navy blue simplicity trousers and red and blue checked violet blouse; Day 4: spotty drapey knit dress; Day 5: bright blue jersey dress; Days 6 & 7 blue spotty archer with rtw jeans.

Week Two:

Day 8: navy blue simplicity trousers and turquoise coco top; Day 9: black simplicity 2451 skirt and pink stripey banksia top; Day 10: silver toaster sweater; Day 11: flowery archer with rtw jumper and trousers; Day 12: my dressmaker’s ball dress; Days 12 & 13: refashioned coral mustard and navy dress into a shirt; Day 14: blue spotty archer.

 

Week Three:

Day 15: refashioners shirt refashion; Day 16: semi-successful moneta dress with mustard astoria; Day 17: black simplicity 2451 with my favourite charity shop jumper; Day 18: refashioned dress with peter pan collar; Day 19: navy simplicity trousers and electric blue coco top; Day 20: refashioned teapot dress; Day 21: simplicity trousers and my favourite charity shop jumper.

Week Four (and a bit)

Day 22: navy simplicity 2451 skirt and melilot shirt; Day 23: silver delphine skirt and rtw jumper; Day 24: navy scribble striped marianne dress; Day 25: wide-legged trousers I took in at the waist with breton striped plantain tee; Day 26: denim moss skirt with my merchant and mills sewing t shirt; Day 27: Gertie cigarette trousers (as part of my dressmaker’s ball outfit) with a rtw jumper and the coat I made from my Grandma’s vintage pattern; Days 28 & 29: Coco t shirt and rtw jeans; Day 30: navy simplicity trousers and silver toaster sweater; Day 31: electric blue jersey dress.
Things I’ve learned from Me Made May:

  • I hate taking daily photos. Thankfully The Boyfriend was a good instagram husband and took most of them for me, but quite often I’d realise we hadn’t taken a photo when I went to bed!
  • My simplicity trousers got a lot of wear. I definitely need more trousers I can wear at work – though I also wear them on days off too.
  • Quite often (unless I was wearing a dress) I would either have a top or a bottom but not a full outfit, so I need to make more pieces that go together. Hopefully by the time I’ve finished the Wardrobe Architect I’ll have ideas for more of a capsule wardrobe.
  • I failed to refashion anything in May, which was another part of my pledge. I have a bunch of clothes ready for alteration, so hopefully this month I’ll get back into refashioning.
  • There were a whole bunch of things I’ve made – mostly when I first started sewing which I haven’t worn this year and didn’t wear last year, so I’m going to have a wardrobe clear out to get rid of things I know I’m not going to wear.
  • I definitely need to make jeans, and more casual things to wear on my days off.
  • I found wearing dresses easier than putting together separates, so I’m planning to make a few more dresses. They’re also good for hot weather – if we get more hot weather than the one week we had in the middle of May!
  • It was nice to rediscover some of the clothes I’ve made or refashioned which I haven’t worn for a while.
  • There weren’t that many things I wore more than once (apart from my trousers and simplicity skirts), so I think I don’t need loads and loads more clothes, so I’ll try to be more thoughtful about what I make from now on.

What did you learn if you took part in Me Made May? Did you succeed in your pledge?

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Refashioned Tea Dress

I’m not sure if this really counts as a refashion as all I did was take in this dress a bit to make it fit better, so I guess it’s more of an alteration?! I always find it funny that The Great British Sewing Bee calls their refashion challenge the ‘alteration challenge’ – it’s not like they’re just taking up a hem or something!

Anyway…….here are the before photos – taken ages ago (I had a binge of taking photos of most of the things I have in my to refashion pile):

tea-dress-refashion-before-1

It doesn’t really look that bad but it was a couple of sizes too big, which you can see especially around the bust area as I’m exaggerating below.

tea-dress-refashion-before-2

I put the dress on and pinned it at various placed to work out what changed I needed to make. There are bust darts, which needed to be about 1cm deeper over the apex of my bust, graduating out to nothing at the side seams.

tea-dress-refashion-2There are also back darts which I deepened by 2cm at the waits, tapering to nothing at the original top of the dart. Even just these changes made quite a bit of difference to the shape of the dress.

tea-dress-refashion-1I also measured that I needed to take some fabric out of the side seams on the bodice – I measure this as 2cm but after sewing the new seams, I tried on the dress and it was waaay to tight – I think I must have measure the various alterations in isolation, not taking into account how much the darts would take in the bodice, meaning I didn’t have to take in the side seams.

I was going to try to alter the sleeves by sewing new sleeves – without having to unpick and resew them – but it didn’t work, so I left them as they were and I think they look okay. If I was being really picky, I would want the sleeve seams 1 or 2cm closer to the collar. Speaking of which, I’m glad the collar fitted well as it was, I didn’t fancy having to change it!tea-dress-refashion-4

I wasn’t going to change the skirt, but I did unpick it and resew it 1.5cm further up, to raise the waist seam just a little so it sits on the bottom of my ribs instead of on my waist – it seemed like a cuter silhouette. To do this I had to unpick the button bands from the bottom up to just above the waist seam. I then sewed the new waist seam – gathering the back of the skirt so it fitted the new bodice size (because of the new darts), then sandwiched the skirt front edges in the button bands and stitched them back into place. I then hemmed the button bands so they lined up again with the hem.

tea-dress-refashion-5

All in all I’m pretty pleased with how a few changed and only a couple of hours of sewing means I’ve ended up with a dress I’ll wear – and one I can wear to work! It’s also a timely dress to have altered as my 2 best friends and I have been taking for ages about getting tattoos together – we were going to get a teapot, a teacup and a cupcake (one for each of us) but Chloe pointed out the cupcake might look like a pooh, so I think we’re all now going for teapots, so I’ll be able to wear this dress and it will match my tattoo!! We’re probably going to get them in January when we get together for our annual Christmas 2. I’m so excited!

It will be something like this but probably a little smaller.

teapot-tattoo(image source – via pinterest)

Do you have any tattoos? Do you regret them?

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Fix It: How to take in the waistband on trousers

How-to-take-in-the-waist-of-trousers

Do you ever see the perfect pair of trousers but there a bit too big at the waist? I was given these amazing trousers by The Boyfriend’s mum but they sat more on my hips than my waist as they should. I thought I’d do a tutorial on how to alter the waist band of a pair of trousers in case you wondered how to do it.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-2

I would say a helpful step first of all is to take photos of the waistband, including belt loops, buttons, button holes, hooks and eyes and zips, so you have a reference to look back on in case you can’t remember what went where. Then you need to unpick the existing waistband from the trousers. I unpicked the inside of the waistband then the outside.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-3

When I then moved to the outside seam of the waistband, I encountered the belt loops. I decided to unpick the stitching attaching it at the top of the waist band rather then the bottom, so they would still be attached to the trousers and I wouldn’t have to worry about where to place them.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-4You may have to take them off completely if they are entirely attached to the waistband, in which case I would suggest putting a mark, with chalk or a pin, on the trousers where each one was. You may want to change the placing of the belt loops if you’re taking the trousers in by quite a lot, so removing them would be helpful anyway.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-5You’ll want to leave button holes intact if you can, if you hate sewing them as much as I do! This is assuming you’ve got buttons and not a jeans rivet, as I had with my corduroy shorts/skirt refashion – I couldn’t take off the rivet so made a new button hole once I’d resized the waistband.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-6With this pair of trousers, there was a button and button hole on both ends of the waist band, so I knew I would have to redo one of the button holes, once I’d cut it off to shorten the waistband. If you have the same set up, it may be worth making a note of the position of the button and/or buttonhole from the edge of the waistband so you have an idea of where to put them back.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-7

You’ll then want to try on the trousers inside out and pin down the side seams, and maybe the back seam too, if you’re taking out a lot, how much you need to take out of the trousers. I tried mine on before I unpicked the waistband too, and measured I needed to take out a total of 8cm – this meant I could then roughly pin 2 2cm tucks on the side seams, then try them on and taper the 2cm out towards the existing side seam – you’ll want to do a shallow taper so you don’t end up with what looks like a pleat. If you try them on and measure the amount to take out, then you will also know how much to reduce the length of the waistband by.

The stitching line you can see to the left of my pin line is for the pockets – you’ll want to plan where you sew your new seams so you don’t interfere with pockets or existing pleats. You might want to make new pleats instead of taking in at the seams, to make more of a design feature of your alterations.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-8

Once you’ve sewn your new seams and again tried them on to check your alterations are good and don’t look weird, or obvious – unless you want them to be obvious! You’ll then need to reduce the length of the waistband. Draw a chalk line where the new end needs to be, then flip the waistband inside out and sew the new seam – you can see how I lost the buttonhole.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-9

Now all you need to do it reattach your waistband. You’ll almost certainly want to reattached the outside half of the waistband to the right side of the trousers first. You can see below that I’ve pinned the right side of the waistband to the right, outside side,  of the trousers. You can actually see the original stitching and fold line on the waistband – I followed this for my 1cm seam allowance.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-10

If, like me, you left your belt loops attached to the trousers, you’ll need to make sure you pin them out of the way when sewing this seam – there’s nothing more annoying that sewing a beautiful seam (and it’s always the best seam you’ve ever sewn!), only to have to unpick parts of it because you’ve caught your belt loops in the way.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-11

This is what it then looks like from the right side of the trousers, with the inside half of the waistband folded up so you can see it’s not attached.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-12

To sew the inside of the waistband down, in the case of my trousers, I pinned it from the outside of the trousers so I could sew it and see what it would look like from the right side. You again need to make sure your belt loops are out of the way. I then used my zipper foot to stitch as close to the seam line as possible. You may want to hand stitch the inside of the waistband to make it invisible. Or you could sew the INSIDE with the seam (right sides together), and then top stitch the outside in place. You’ll be informed by the way it was constructed originally.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-13You’ll now want to reattach your belt loops – in my case I just needed to attach them at the top, which I did using a teeny tiny zip-zag stitch. In general the placement for belt loops would be one on the centre back seam, one on each side seam, (possibly one on each side between these 2), and 1 on each side just in front of your hip bones.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-14

Now all you need to do is remake any button holes you need to, and sew on any buttons you had to remove when you resized the waistband. Yay! Now you have a newly wearable pair of trousers!

 

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Best Makes of 2015

So since it’s New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d do the obvious thing of looking back over the last year and seeing what I’ve made and done. This was inspired in part by the Instragram #2015BestNine hashtag.

Instagram Best 9

I’ve made myself 14 garments, which isn’t really that many – I have felt like I haven’t had as much time for sewing as I would have liked.

I particularly like my BHL Victoria Blazer, and definitely feel smarter when I wear it instead of a cardigan.  I like my Merchant and Mills denim Dress Shirt, too.

Black-Victoria-Blazer-1
Demin-Dress-Shirt-6

I made a few things with knits, for the first time this year: a Closet Case Files Sallie Maxi Dress; a Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress; and a Breton-style Deer and Doe Plantain Tee.

Sallie-Maxi-Dress-8

Coco-Dress-6a

Breton-Plaintain-Tee-5

I have also refashioned 7 things, so I’ve been a bit more productive than a first glance might imply!

My 3 favourite refashions were my ugly skirt to Grainline Scout tee (which I unfortunately shrank in the wash, boo!), my Refashioners Dear Creatures rip-off and, probably the one I’m most proud of, my ugly coat which I remade into a Freemantle Coat.

Fara-blue-and-gold-skirt-9
Beige-Refashioners-Shirt-9
Fara-coat-19

I’ve made 6 non-clothes things, including my first (pusheen) and second amigurumi (a Minion), and my first scrapbook, for my Dad’s 65th Birthday.

Pusheen-1

Minion-2

Scrapbook-3

But my very favourite non-clothes thing (and probably favourite out of everything I’ve made) was the felt allotment I made for my friend’s daughter for Christmas 2 (which happens in January so this was made this year). This was one of those things that I saw on A Beautiful Mess and knew I had to make it, and then was super excited to see my friend’s daughter open it! I was almost too excited to wait until the present exchange, and wanted to open it as soon as I arrived for Christmas 2!

Planting-Game-36

This is the anniversary of this blog, too – I had an old one but transferred the content over and focused just on sewing and crafty things (I had previously written about food and books too), and I’ve introduced a couple of new regular posts – style inspiration and fashion history. I’ll continue with these I think, as they help me to cement my personal style and guide me what to make next! I’ve also reviewed some books, events and shops. You can see the archive of all these posts here.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog this year and I hope you’ll come back in 2016. xx