Suck it in, Jane, suck it in!

The "School Marm" outfit

I thought these two old costumes should have a post of their own, and here it is. It’s amazing when you look back, what you notice. First off, I had to dial Jane’s waist all the way in to get the skirt on her, and then I had to yell at her to “suck it  in”. (And I thought I was “fat” back then. What I wouldn’t do for that figure again.) I made these costumes back in 1998, using Simplicty 8375. I made views A & C. I used whatever fabric I could find that was cheap, including the polyester nightmare to the left. (When I held the fabric out for my husband to touch, all he could say was “ewww!”) I was inspired to make this one by the fabric (found in the discount bin) and the lace I used to trim it with. This was the second costume made. I used the same skirt from the first costume, and just made the bodice and belt (which I still have, somewhere in the mess that is the sewing room). For closures, I used hook and eyes. I am amazed this turned out as well as it did.


Simplicity 8375

At the time, I really had no idea of what I was doing, but from some of the construction and finishing I did on these two costumes, I must’ve read the directions really well. Now a days, I just skim through them, and use them for basic reference. lol.

I remember when this pattern came out, as it was around the same time as when Titanic was released in the theaters. I also remember making both of these costumes in time for Halloween that year, as I wore one to take the kiddies trick or treating in at the town’s safe kid event called “Boo Street”. The other was made for my niece’s birthday party, since it’s just a few days before Halloween. This was at the same time that I made my, now infamous, Edwardian corset. I did a big no-no. I made the costumes first, and then made the corset. But, we didn’t know any better in those days. lol. All that mattered was having fun, and that we did in spades.


The walking costume

For the second costume, I used a white cotton fabric with red stripes. As I did this one first, I followed the instructions, down to making a muslin lining. I also made the “sailor’s” collar that goes with this, but it is also lost in the black hole of a sewing room. I used hook and eyes for closures on this costume, as well. I was somehow inspired to add a decorative touch by putting some red “all over lace” over the black broad cloth I used for the stand up collar, cuffs and belt. I took some left over fabric and a straw hat to make the final touch. I did the crown of the hat in black, and the wide brim in the white and red striped fabric, stretching the fabric a little to give the hat that Victorian look. I added some red and white flowers, and a huge red plume. The hat is long since gone, as I didn’t have a hat box for it, and it ended with a nasty layer of dust from years in my front hall closet.


A look at the lining, and decorative collar

In the years since, I have learned how to properly construct, and finish, garments. I have found some techniques that work well for me, and some that don’t. I have learned which fabrics are best to use, and which to avoid (I haven’t touched polyester since). After all of this, I am still determined to learn more. Each new project is more than just an adventure. It’s a learn experience. Here’s to many, many more.


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