My 4th Sewing Bee Challenge!

Readers, this post finds me a little sad as I have just realized that there are only six weeks in this years Great British Sewing Bee, and not the eight there were last year. Which means I only have two left after this one! I’ll miss it terribly, but might have a sneaky idea up my sleeve to tide me over until next years ‘Bee… watch this space!

So this weeks Alteration Challenge was all about updating an 80’s Suit and I think I may have taken liberties with this one, but it’s updated in my eyes!

I had initially thought the Suit I bought was from the 1990’s however; it was yet again the best I could do for under £10. In inspecting it closer however;  the label and disintegration as well as construction made me realize it was a little older than that which made me happy. I really am trying to keep as closely to the parameters of the Challenge as I can!

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So, what do you think of this beauty then? It’s actually super thin fabric, and I just saw Victorian when I looked at it which made me smile! I did mean that my plan wasn’t necessarily  ‘modernizing’ it, but I decided that it was changing is sufficiently and making it entirely more wearable so I ploughed ahead!


Label… *snigger*!

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Having made my sketch, I started to drape like the wind as I knew this Challenge was pushing it and I wanted to make sure I finished. Cutting the Coat around the Waist to shorten, I pinned the front where I wanted it to lie, then drew on a piece of Pattern Paper the shape of the Faux Waistcoat I wanted underneath.

I spent a couple of seconds playing around with different Lace and Sequinned Fabric to see which looked best overlaid, and decided upon the Sequin.

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I then pinned the Side and Shoulder Seams to fit, cut them back to 1cm Seam Allowance ready for sewing and cut my new Collar line.

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Using the Pattern I had draped, I used a section of the Bottom of the Coat to cut the Faux Waistcoat. The Coat was lined so luckily I also cut the backing for this section at the same time! Hurrah! I also cut the Squin fabric to size and pinned everything together ready to be stitched.

I also quickly made up and cut a Peplum Pattern… so quickly!!

Now, a few people have been asking how I work so quickly so this is a little insight… I have done all of the above, and it’s all ready pinned and waiting to be sewn. I have laid each section as I’ve pinned it on to the Sewing Table in order of most time consuming/order needed to finish the garment… so starting with the Jacket which needs Side Seams, Shoulder Seams and Bias Binding around the Collar, then the Peplum which had to be cut in three sections and joined to the Bodice, then the Faux Waistcoat which needs to be sewn up, turned out and have three Button Holes popped in. This is what it looks like about a 3rd of the way through the Challenge…


I always try to stack up my workload like this, whatever project I may be working on, as I find it uses the time most wisely and I am able to accurately sew things together incredibly speedily.

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Binding the Collar took a little more time than I had thought- despite ‘ghetto fixing’ it with a Zig-Zag and not pinning! However; I was pleased with it when it went on the mannequin.

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Next in my pile of Sewing was to sew together the Faux Waistcoat, cut back the excess, trim the corners and turn out. After ironing I put three Button Holes in too.

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As each piece of my pile is sewn I pop the back on the mannequin… which can look a little odd!

After piecing the Peplum I pinned it on to the bottom of the Bodice including Pleats at every seam for a little fullness.

At this point I was still hoping to Bias Bind the bottom of the Peplum.


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I had also wanted to cut down the Sleeves a little as they’re quite large however; I was in the last ten minutes at this point and panicking! Instead, I sewed above the hem of the Sleeve, which meant I could cut the lining away then pinned the Sleeve back in to the Armhole with a large Pleat at the top (which I love!).

In the last few minutes I over-locked the Bottom of the Coat- stretching the Bias cut Fabric slightly so at to create a Lettuce Hem- and sewed on Buttons, as well as a couple extra Buttons to catch the Front of the Peplum back, which I think looks extra fancy!

As I was sewing on the very last Button my Brother Ast and his Son Errol popped through the door but I didn’t stop and sewed to the…   very…   last…      second!!

(I think they though me quite, quite mad!!)

But, ta daa!! What do you think of my 4th Sewing Bee Challenge?


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As you can see, I didn’t Bias Bind the Bottom of the Coat- no time!- and the Sleeve still looks a little full however; I’m happy with it. The Fabric is draping quite nicely in the Peplum and Pleats on the Sleeve too. I actually think the shape and fall of the Peplum is rather lovely.

So, as I am a little late this week with the Sewing Bee Challenge, I already know that my next is a Wet Suit! Eep!! Can’t wait for that but I’ll try not to think about it too much, and await the delivery of my Wet Suit!

Have you been inspired? Tried any UpCycles recently? I’d love to see, feel free to share below.

If you have been inspired to learn to sew, or would like to try your hand at the mysterious world of UpCycling, why not pop along to a Sunday Sewing Bee?

Happy stitching!

Wordless Wednesday

1930s Informal Style; High waisted trousers and rounded shades

In honor of my Trouser Class right now, who’re sweating their Trouser Pattern as they fit, adjust and fit again (poor loves, but it’ll all be worth it in the end, I promise!), here’s this gorgeous 1930’s pic full of informal style, high waisted trousers and rounded shades… le sigh!

Happy stitching!

Wordless Wednesday

The most sought after portraitist of the 1920s and 1930s. Edward's use of dramatic lighting and spare backdrops revolutionized celebrity photography. Here, Edward Steichen's elegant black and white composition captures actress Mary Heberden from the back, wearing an off-the-shoulder black satin dress and orchids in her hair.   The portrait appeared in Vogue March 1935

The most sought after portraitist of the 1920s and 1930s. Edward’s use of dramatic lighting and spare backdrops revolutionized celebrity photography. Here, Edward Steichen’s elegant black and white composition captures actress Mary Heberden from the back, wearing an off-the-shoulder black satin dress and orchids in her hair. The portrait appeared in Vogue March 1935

From Pinterest.

Happy stitching!

Sample Sale and New Products

At the end of the week I shall be releasing my much anticipated Corset Covers. At the same time I shall be running a Sample Sale of all of the pieces I have made for Laura After Midnight either as a way to figure out the Pattern, as an example to Photograph or pieces I have made for films.


Samples included a few Waistcoats- one of which has an amazing lining which legend has it was printed for the Rolling Stones in the 70s’!- a Steel Boned Victorian Bustle, a fantastic Fan Laced Victorian inspired Jacket (both from the below left Costume), a beautiful White Cotton Lawn Shirt and Petticoat and more. I’d love for them all to find homes!

costume waistcoat

Sizes are varied- some pieces will be able to be re-sized for an extra fee- some are a little rough and ready and others are gorgeous. I’m hoping to sell as much ex-stock as possible to make way for my new line of Vintage inspired Dresses, Corsets and other new designs.

I have an ulterior motive… money raised from this Sample Sale will go towards developing more Patterns. I have so many ideas! I want to release more Corset Patterns, as well as more underwear Patterns like Bustles and Corset Covers, and even start developing my own designs influenced by the Victorian era and my love of Costuming.

I will also be releasing new Spats Designs and the Spats Pattern and Kit in a few weeks time, Corsets, a new range of Vintage Party Dresses will première this Sunday and I shall be starting to print my own Fabric, so September promises to be a great month!

Throughout this time you can use Discount Code STEAMPUNK15 for 15% off of your order.

Happy stitching!