All for one and one for all… the Buttons!

Despite the many, wonderful and varied costumes that we create here at Midnight Costume Services it is always the Historical Costumes that excite me the most. There is a certain amount of Indiana Jones-ing to be done with the Patterns as I hunt for resources hidden in my studio Library  and across the internet, which is always enjoyable!

This Commission was for a 3 Musketeers Cloak, inspired by the BBC TV Series…

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This Cloak is secretly super cool, as you can un-button and re-button the side seams to create sleeves, or a cloak! Wicked, right?

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I actually have this Pattern among my historical resources so all I had to do was locate, scale up and re-size for my Client. Above on the left you can see another version of the Pattern, with an extant example , and on the right is my Pattern.

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This was a time consuming but relatively simple make to be honest, I made and lined each piece separately, made over 60 Button Holes and sewed on over 60 Buttons. The Collar was added in so my Client could wear the Cloak in a variety of ways, including off the shoulder.

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I used a really beautiful Midnight Blue soft, drapey wool with matching lining and Brass effect Buttons.

For such a simple Pattern I was absurdly pleased with the results!

Happy stitching!

Adventures in Showgirl Corsets.

Using commercial patterns in Costuming feels like cheating, I don’t know why, but it does! However; ever since Yaya Han released her Corset Pattern I have been dying for an excuse to use it… which I know is super weird as I am not only a pattern drafter and cutter, I have my very own Corset Pattern for sale!

M7339, Misses' Overbust or Underbust Corsets by Yaya Han M7339, Misses' Overbust or Underbust Corsets by Yaya Han

I guess sometimes I just want to join in with the cool kids, the those CosPlayers are some pretty damn cool kids! Any hoo, I needed to make three Showgirl Costumes and, because this Pattern has a range of Cup sizes I thought it would be perfect, and save me the time of drafting my own. Win!

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These bad boys needed to be spangly, so after much hunting I finally decided upon this gorgeous (and very hard to locate!) Gold Sequin and Pink Sequin fabrics. Each had to be backed with matching Silk Habotai to ensure the sequins reflected as much as possible, and they were both lined with Coutil. They are fully boned with Steel Boning and have a quick rigged,open ended zip at the back because of quick changes.


Offset with some gorgeous Indian Beaded Trim (eye wateringly expensive and used sparingly because no more could be ordered if there was a mistake as it takes about three weeks to arrive!), in the ‘V’ of the cleavage they shimmer gloriously in the studio, and look amazing on stage.

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Matching shorts were also made- in the Gold here, but also in Pink- as they are used in several different styles of dance including the Can-Can.

I think I did Yaya Han proud, and I am super impressed with her Pattern. I didn’t really use the instructions because we made these up a little differently that they would be for personal use. Here each panel is made and neatened separately in case of alterations, the cups are kept in alterable separate pieces and all of this makes the insides look a little messy as you can see all of the Overlocked channels. They aren’t laced, as the performers had a quick change, instead they zip up which in real life looks a little clunky but can’t really be seen from the stage when they’re performing.

All in all I’m really happy, and they fit great.

If you are thinking about sewing your own Corset this Pattern can be found here, and the Eventide Corset Pattern from Laura After Midnight can be found here. A full Sew-Along for the Eventide can be found here, and discusses many of the techniques used to make these up.

Happy stitching!

It’s been a bit quiet…

… so sorry!

It’s been crazy times in the Atelier recently with 5 or 6 costume jobs being stitched up by my growing team of wonders. Most recently shipped off were these beauties for Celebrity Cruises production of Elysium.

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The Evil Enchantress

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Autumn Ballet

I’m sure I shall be sharing a little bit about the methods behind construction soon but before I catch my breath I’m off to get married this Wednesday! Eep!!

Can’t wait to start sharing more of my Sewing adventures with you soon.

Happy stitching!

The Midnight Atelier Skirt Making Book, a Stitch Bitch Companion!

So, this little number is now available in my Pattern Shop!

Front Coverpages pattern drafting skirt book

The Midnight Atelier Skirt Making Book, a Stitch Bitch Companion… a 36 page long, handmade and hand stitched little Pattern Making tome! Each includes instructions to Pattern Draft your very own A-Line Skirt… Choose to draw the Pattern straight on to the Fabric, or make one up in paper as also included are four separate Pattern adaptations to turn your original A-Line Skirt Pattern in to a Circle Skirt, Pleated Skirt, Tulip Skirt or Vintage style Pleated Circle Skirt! Wow!!

Available as a PDF or Hard Copy Print. Grab your copy today…

Happy stitching!

Coming soon…

The Midnight Atelier Skirt Making Book!

Front Cover


After the enormous success of the A-Line Skirt Tutorial here on the Blog (I can’t believe I wrote that over two years ago now!), which takes you through Pattern Making the A-Line Skirt and then completely Sewing it up with Hand Finishing, I have written a mini compendium!

Included are the instructions for the A-Line Skirt, and then a series of ‘Hacks’ to take the original Pattern and adapt it to make more styles like the ones pictures (although you might need to add a petticoat to mimic that amazing Circle Skirt!).

This will be the first in a series entitled Stitch Bitch Companions, which continue to encourage adaptation of Patterns and home Pattern Making. I shall be re-releasing my other Booklets under this new format including the Guide to Understanding Vintage Patterns, Seams and Zips as a set which should see any budding Seamster straight!

The next Stitch Bitch Companion after the Skirt Book however; is the Dimpsy T Hack Book (which I am still SO excited about!!)… watch this space!

Happy stitching!




I think this is the prettiest thing I’ve seen in a while! A lovely Purple Dimpsy T, made up last night in just a couple of hours… yes guys, it really is that quick to make up!

Linen is such a gloriously wonderful fabric to work with, the Bust Dart is showing up beautifully and I adore how to Collar is rolling. I think I have found a great home for one of my Vintage 1920s Mother of Pearl Art Deco buttons, what do you think?


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Purple is super hard to photograph though… Don’t forget you can buy your copy of my newest Sewing Pattern The Dimpsy T here. It’s available as a PDF or as a Paper Pattern, woop!!

An accompanying ‘Hack Book’ is due to be released in a week or so, and that’s when the Sew-Along will start too. The Hack Book will include Pattern adaptation infomration to make the Classic Dimpsy T Pattern in to a Tunic, pretty Summer Dress and a Button Up Shirt as well as having info on adding Pockets, changing the Neckline and SO much more.

With the Pattern Hack Book, I’d like to encourage people of all sewing abilities to start playing with their Sewing Patterns. The possibilities are endless when you have the confidence to experiment and a whole new wardrobe could be just around the corner… with the Patterns you already have!

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The competition is still running over on my Facebook Page but quick! It only runs until tomorrow night, and Winners will be announced Friday. You could win a copy of the Pattern or a beautiful Red Linen Dimpsy Tunic. It’s stunning, I promise, but don’t believe me- hop on over to the page to see it and vote now!!

Check it out guys, and jump on the Dimpsy bandwagon today… see makes and share yours here.

Happy stitching!

The Dimpsy T

So, finally the day has arrived where I get to shout from the rooftops of Bristol that I have finally conquered the Dimpsy T Sewing Pattern and it is on sale now!!

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I literally can not wait for your reaction, as I adore it! It’s so pretty and flattering and gosh darn summery I want 6! It’s available- as ever- in a Paper Pattern and PDF format (for instant gratification), comes in sizes 10 to 20 and is suitable for light weight wovens’ like Poplin, Broderie Anglaise or Dotted Swiss.

I’ll be sharing more pictures and ideas over the next week or so- I have once again been felled with a Sinus Infection which is dragging on and on and generally being mean and delaying everything– as I can. I’ll also be releasing a pretty cool little book of Pattern Hacks. Because of the Dimpsy T’s unusual Dart it is eminently hackable and you can make Tunics, Dresses and all manner of other types of Top with the Pattern which I shall be exploring in the book and which will go on sale in a couple of weeks.

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  Grab your Paper Pattern Dimpsy T here and your PDF Dimpsy T here to join in the fun… news on the Sew-Along soon!!

I’m also running a Competition to win one of 5 PDF Dimpsy T Patterns and a beautiful Red Linen Dimpsy Tunic… you just need to vote for your favorite Button to finish it… see the details here!

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 Happy stitching!

Pattern Drafting Jeans Sew-Along: Week 2

Welcome! Welcome to Week 2 of the Pattern Drafting Jeans Sew-Along.

By now I hope you will all have drafted your Basic Trouser Block, so we can get started on the exciting bit- making the Basic Block in to our Working Pattern!

You will need to make decisions on the following. What sort of Pockets you would like at the Front, and whether you would like a little Change Pocket. What sort of Pockets you would like on the back of your Jeans- are they to be stitched decoratively? Would you like a Flap, are they to be shaped or even have a Zip? You’ll also need to decide if you would like a Button or Zip Fly Front. Now, I’m not insane so I shall be instructing how to make a Zip Fly Front however; there’s a great Tutorial on adding in a Button Fly Front here if you’d like to make one. The pieces of Pattern you need to draft are the same.

As you can see from the these images, there are many choices to be made and it is worth having a good look out there to make your decision. I like to look at things I normally wouldn’t be able to afford to see style and design elements I like and would like to add in to my Patterns!

I like to make a little sketch of my design- called a Technical Illustration- of all of the elements I like so that I know what I need to Pattern Draft…

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Now, I’m going super duper classic here and there are a couple reasons for that. The first is that it suits me, the second is Classic Jeans kinda go with lots of different looks and, as I have made a few tops recently I want something to go with them all! Finally, it’s so that you guys can see what goes in to a Classic pair of Jeans instead of getting all fancy pants and convoluted on you!

Once you have a Technical Illustration, you’ll need to make a list of the elements to be drafted. Mine are:

1. Front Pocket

2. Front Pocket Facing

3. Pocket Bag

4. Change Pocket

5. Fly Front

6. Back Yoke

7. Back Pockets

8. Waistband

9. Belt Loops

10. Front

11. Back

Phew! Sounds like a tonne of work, right? But it’s not, I promise! Next I sketch a little break down:

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Which is all well and good but I am sure a few of you out there will be questioning a couple of these instructions! Pocket Bag? Change Pocket? Yoke?! Yes, these are things, and I promise I’m not making it up…

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The Pocket Bag is the piece to which your Change Pocket (the teeny tiny Pocket with lovely Rivets on it) is sewn. About one third of this is seen, the other two thirds are attached to the Pocket Facing and form the Pocket istelf. You can choose to make this in two parts (as I am) so that both the bottom part of the Pocket Bag and the whole of the Facing can be made from a contrast Fabric. Which is delicious!

The Yoke sits above the Beck section of the Jeans, but below the Waistline. You can pop additional fitting in to this (like moving the darts in to it, I shall be explaining this later) however; how deep or shallow will effect the look and determine where the Back Pockets sit. This article is an interesting read on this subject, and give some invaluable information regarding Yokes for different body shapes. Again, I’m sticking with kinda basic and going for a Straight V Yoke because I know it suits me best.

So, that all being said, lets get on to the really interesting part- drafting the Pattern Pieces! I’m going to post this in the next few days as it has turned in to a slightly longer post than I had be anticipating!

In the meantime, why not take a peek at some Jeans or Trousers you already own to get a feel for the Pattern Pieces we’ll be drafting tomorrow? How deep is the Yoke on those Jeans that fit so perfectly? Why do you like the Pockets on that other pair? Part of learning to Pattern draft is to take on elements of designs which work for you as well as looking good… there will be a reason you were-or are- attracted to certain designs and now is a great time to see what they might be.

See you soon Jean-sters, I’m looking forward to it!

**UPDATE: Because of some scheduling issues some posts haven’t gone live at the correct times. The Pattern Drafting Jeans Sew-Along will re-start soon **

x Happy stitching!



Pattern Drafting Jeans Sew Along: Getting Started

I'm working hard to put ME back together one stitch at a time .... Make-Do-&-Mend Pin up

Now I know we all are excited to start whipping up a pair of Handmade Denim loveliness however; I thought that, after getting y’all pumped up about Drafting your Pattern last week I would take things down a notch and talk a little about the Fabric and Notions needed to complete this project, and give a rough schedule for this Sew-Along which I shall be posting weekly-ish.

Because we are drafting and fitting our own Jeans Pattern we can kinda choose whatever Fabric we like as we will be fitting down the line however; finer fabrics like light weight Chambray will fit differently than a heavier weight Denim so I would advise choosing a medium to heavier weight Denim for this first pair. I also like to make mine from a Denim which has a little stretch to it.  get mine from Fabric Land and theirs at something like 10% Elastane in it. This makes the Denim SO much easier to wear as it ‘pings’ back when you move instead of getting baggy, it is also a medium weight so it’s nice and easy to sew. Happy Days.

On average you will need 2.5 meters of Fabric because of the length of Jeans. Remember when cutting stretch Denim however; you will need to cut it with the Stretch going around the body.

I found this great Blog post from Pattern Review which has some fantastic information about Fabrics and Notions which is well worth a read.

Concerning Notions I sometimes like to push the boat out and, because this is a Sew-Along I am going to on the Black and Blue Jeans and treat myself to Rivets, Topstitching and proper Jeans Riveted Buttons… but more on this and so very much more later. All you need to get yourself started is the Drafted Pattern, some more Pattern Paper for all of the other bits we’ll need to draft like Pockets and Fly Fronts and about 2.5 meters of Calico for the Toile. Oh yes, there will be a Toile!!

In choosing your fabric for your Toile try to get a similar weight Calico to the Denim you would like to use. This means that all of the fitting we do on the Toile should assist in the final fit of the Jeans.

The schedule will be as follows, and starts next Monday:

Week 2 Design Decisions

This will cover making the Basic Block in to a Working Pattern as we decide what sort of Packets, Patch Pockets, length, Zip or Button Fly etc to have and draft all of the Pattern Pieces to create the Working Pattern.

Week 3 Making up the Toile and Fitting

Just exactly what it says on the tin! We’ll be making up the Jeans and fitting them, which is an excellent opportunity to try our hand at all of that pesky Top Stitching, and whether we’ll be going all fancy and double Top Stitching! It will also give us a chance to practice the Fly which can be very awkward. We’ll also be transferring any fitting issues we resolve on to the Working Pattern to make our Final Pattern.

Week 4 Treating the Denim, Cutting Out and starting to Sew

Prepping to Sew as we wash our Fabric and cutting it out, the beginning to Sew up our Denim goodness. I’ll be sharing a few tips on working quickly as I’ll be making four pairs of Jeans throughout this Sew-Along as well as tips on finishing and neatening Denim, which can be a little different from the usual as we are making classic ‘work wear’.

Week 5 Fit and Finishing

a Final Fitting session to make sure there aren’t too many discrepancies from the Toile to the final Jeans the it’s on to all the finishing details like Rivets! Yay!!

Hope this all sounds as good to you guys as it does to me, I can’t wait to get started. I’m finally going to be able to wear all of those tops I’ve been making myself!

Wordless Wednesday

Internal finishing and detail on a pair of bespoke jeans. This service is available by appointment in Savile Row.

I’ve never really thought much about finishing garments for myself like this inside… after finding this I might have to channel some of this beautiful Savile Row detailing for my Jeans as I get a little over excited about using scraps of beautiful fabrics to make scrumptious Bias Binding! I also rather like the contrast pocket detail.

Have you drafted your Basic Trouser Block yet?

Happy stitching!